A U.S. Appeals Court on Thursday granted former president Donald Trump’s request to temporarily release White House documents, denying a bid by U.S. Capitol riot investigators to access the ex-president’s White House records.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Washington, D.C. Circuit said on Thursday that it had granted what it called an administrative injunction and scheduled arguments for November 30. The three-judge panel specified that the move “should not be construed in any way as a ruling on the merits” of the case. The panel was selected at random and all three were appointed by Democratic presidents, according to sources.
The documents have been sought by the House Select Committee investigating the riot, and had been ordered released Tuesday by a U.S. District Judge. Trump’s request to deny access to documents that could implicate him in the January 6 attack on the Capitol. The panel wants to see phone records, visitor logs and other WhiteHouse documents that could shed light on event leading up to the attack on Congress.
On January 6, hundreds of alleged Trump supporters overran Congress and delayed a joint session to confirm that Joe Biden had won the November 2020 election and would become the next president.
Mr. Trump’s attorneys had said in their emergency filing to the appeals court that their client could “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 legal battle is likely to wind up at the Supreme Court.
Former President Trump, a Republican, has argued his White House communications were protected by executive privilege, under which presidential documents can be kept secret. But now President Biden has waived executive privilege on the files.
Biden has already approved release of the records, which are held by the National Archives. The house panel was to receive its first batch on Friday, but the Appeals Court will halt that, at least temporarily.