WASHINGTON — A federal appeals court has temporarily blocked the release of records sought by a U.S. House committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection as the court considers an emergency request by former President Donald Trump.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on Thursday granted an administrative stay sought by Trump. The stay is intended to give the court time to consider Trump’s arguments against release of the documents, which was otherwise scheduled for Friday without a court order.
The appeals court set arguments in the case for Nov. 30.
The House is seeking Trump’s call logs, draft speeches and other documents related to Jan. 6, when supporters of the former president stormed the Capitol to try to stop the certification of his loss to President Joe Biden.
Congress has sought the records to better understand the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, in which rioters ransacked the building and forced into hiding lawmakers who were certifying Trump’s election loss to President Joe Biden.
Biden waived executive privilege on the documents. Trump then went to court arguing that as a former president, he still had the right to exert privilege over the records and that releasing them would damage the presidency in the future.
U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan on Tuesday rejected those arguments, noting in part, “Presidents are not kings, and Plaintiff is not President.” She again denied an emergency motion by Trump on Wednesday.
In their filing to the appeals court, Trump’s lawyers wrote that without a stay, the former president would “suffer irreparable harm through the effective denial of a constitutional and statutory right to be fully heard on a serious disagreement between the former and incumbent President.”
The White House on Thursday also notified a lawyer for Mark Meadows, Trump’s former chief of staff, that Biden would waive any executive privilege that would prevent Meadows from cooperating with the committee, according to a letter obtained by the AP. The committee has subpoenaed Meadows and more than two dozen other people as part of its investigation.
His lawyer, George Terwilliger, issued a statement in response saying Meadows “remains under the instructions of former President Trump to respect longstanding principles of executive privilege.”
“It now appears the courts will have to resolve this conflict,” Terwilliger said.