Judge again rejects Trump’s effort to delay Jan. 6 committee’s bid for his White House records

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For the third time in two days, a federal judge has shot down former President Donald Trump’s effort to block Jan. 6 investigators from accessing his White House records.

U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan said in a ruling late Wednesday that she would refuse to stay her own decision — just one day earlier — denying Trump’s request for an injunction that would block the House’s Jan. 6 select committee from gaining access to some of his White House papers.

Chutkan, an appointee of President Barack Obama, sharply rejected Trump’s attempt to assert executive privilege over the documents, contending that the decision by the sitting president, Joe Biden, to release them carried greater weight under existing legal precedents.

In her latest decision, the judge said her earlier rationale dictated that she should turn down Trump’s request for a temporary order preventing disclosure of the records pending further legal action.

“This court will not effectively ignore its own reasoning in denying injunctive relief in the first place to grant injunctive relief now,” Chutkan wrote.

The National Archives, which houses Trump’s records, intends to provide a small initial tranche to congressional investigators on Friday afternoon. But whether that transfer occurs appears to now rest with the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

Trump’s lawyers have already appealed Chutkan’s ruling denying a preliminary injunction in the case. They’re expected to file a motion later Wednesday for temporary relief that would block the Archives from turning over the records while the appeals court and perhaps the Supreme Court consider Trump’s privilege claims.

The first tranche of records Trump is seeking to block includes files from his former chief of staff Mark Meadows, as well as call and visitor logs. An additional set is due to be provided to the committee on Nov. 26.

Chutkan last week heard oral arguments in Trump’s emergency effort to block the committee. On Monday night, before Chutkan ruled on the matter, Trump urged the judge to preemptively block the effect of her ruling in order to give him time to appeal before Friday’s deadline. But Chutkan quickly rejected that request, calling it legally deficient, since she couldn’t block a ruling that hadn’t been issued.

In her 39-page ruling on Tuesday, Chutkan again denied Trump’s effort to delay the committee’s access to his documents, saying his role as a former president gave him no power to overrule the sitting president on matters of executive privilege — particularly on a matter of grave national significance.

“Presidents are not kings, and Plaintiff is not President,” she wrote.

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