A federal judge on Wednesday night said she would not help former President Donald Trump as he attempts to buy time in his argument to keep secret records from his presidency, pointing him instead to an appeals court to seek help.
Judge Tanya Chutkan’s latest decision comes a day after she ruled against Trump in a historic case regarding access to records from his presidency sought by the House select committee investigating the January 6 attack on the US Capitol.
Trump, the judge said, cannot “do an end run around” her decisions to try to win the case by forcing a delay, just because he’s appealing.
Chutkan has stood by her decision that documents from Trump’s presidency should be given to the House panel. She also found that Trump, as a former President, cannot claim the documents are covered by executive privilege, when the current President supports their release.
With the National Archives set to send records to the House on Friday, Trump is scrambling in court for even a temporary hold.
Chutkan declined to grant the pause, dealing the former President his second loss in two days. That means Trump will now need to ask an appeals court for emergency help to keep the documents secret while he pursues appeals.
Neither of the rulings from the federal district judge so far “triggers the harm he alleges because the Archivist will not submit the requested records to the Select Committee until November 12, 2021, and Plaintiff can seek appellate relief in the interim,” Chutkan wrote Wednesday night. “This court will not effectively ignore its own reasoning in denying injunctive relief in the first place to grant injunctive relief now.”
Trump has not yet asked the DC Circuit Court of Appeals for help, though he has begun the appeals process.
Short of a court order, the Archives will turn over more than 40 pages on Friday related to January 6, including White House visitor and call logs and three handwritten memos from the files of ex-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.
In all, Trump is looking to hold off the Archives from giving the House hundreds more pages later in November, as the House pushes to speak to close advisers in his White House under subpoena.
The Biden administration and the House select committee have opposed delays Trump is lobbying for in court.
The House committee wrote on Wednesday that it needs the Trump White House records quickly so it can continue investigating the attack on Congress.
“The potential harm to the public is immense: Our democratic institutions and a core feature of our democracy — the peaceful transfer of power — are at stake. Any delay will seriously hinder the Select Committee’s ability to timely complete a comprehensive investigation and recommend effective remedial legislation,” the committee wrote.
In another filing to Chutkan, the Biden administration said Trump, as the former President, “has no personal interest in the records,” and that the Biden White House’s decision to allow these presidential records to go to Congress should stand.
“The public interest weighs heavily in favor of furthering the Government’s business in a prompt and full investigation of the events of January 6,” administration lawyers wrote.
This story has been updated with additional details Wednesday.
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