A federal appeals court ruled against former President Donald Trump on Thursday, thwarting his efforts to withhold White House records from being released to the House select committee investigating Jan. 6.
The DC Circuit Court of Appeals, however, temporarily halted its ruling for two weeks to allow Trump to seek a Supreme Court intervention.
“The events of January 6th exposed the fragility of those democratic institutions and traditions that we had perhaps come to take for granted,” Judge Patricia Millett of the DC Circuit Court said in her opinion on the ruling. “In response, the President of the United States and Congress have each made the judgment that access to this subset of presidential communication records is necessary to address a matter of great constitutional moment for the Republic. Former President Trump has given this court no legal reason to cast aside President Biden’s assessment of the Executive Branch interests at stake, or to create a separation of powers conflict that the Political Branches have avoided.”
“Regardless of today’s decision by the appeals court, this case was always destined for the Supreme Court,” said Trump spokeswoman Liz Harrington. “President Trump’s duty to defend the Constitution and the Office of the Presidency continues, and he will keep fighting for every American and every future Administration.”
House Select Committee Chair Bennie Thompson and Vice Chair Liz Cheney issued a statement Thursday applauding “the Court’s decisive ruling, which respects the Select Committee’s interest in obtaining White House records and the President’s judgment in allowing those records to be produced. Our work moves ahead swiftly. We will get to the truth.”
“No one can be allowed to stand in the way of the truth — particularly not the previous President, who incited the insurrection,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in her response Thursday.
President Joe Biden made the decision not to uphold executive privilege over the documents in question. Biden previously stated that he determined that the “unique and extraordinary” circumstances around Jan. 6 warranted the transparency, administration officials said.