A federal appeals court has ruled against former President Donald Trump’s motion for an injunction against a House committee investigating the Jan.6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
The case will likely be taken to the Supreme Court after Thursday’s setback for the former president. Mr Trump sought to prevent the committee from recovering the tapes of his communications with members of his entourage in the days and hours leading up to the attack on Capitol Hill, as well as the tapes of his actions during the riot.
In its ruling, the court ruled that “the deep disclosure interests advanced by President Biden and the Jan. 6 committee” outweigh the “widespread concerns about executive confidentiality” raised by the former president.
“We do not come to this conclusion lightly,” read the unanimous court decision.
âThe confidentiality of presidential communications is essential to the proper functioning of the presidency for the reasons given by former President Trump, and his efforts to uphold this interest are in themselves a right of constitutional importance. “
“[But] [w]What Mr. Trump is seeking is for an Article III tribunal to step in and overturn these judgments by the President and Congress, delay the committee’s work and derail the negotiations and accommodations that the political branches have made â the court judges continued, adding that “a former president must meet the same legal standards to get a preliminary injunction as everyone else.” And former President Trump failed in this task.
Some of the recordings Mr. Trump seeks to keep confidential include call logs, emails, visitor logs, draft speeches, memos and other documents.
The news comes as many members of Mr. Trump’s campaign and the wider sphere have been subpoenaed by the committee and are cooperating with lawmakers.
Others challenged the committee, including former Breitbart News chief Steve Bannon and former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows. Mr. Bannon was referred to the Justice Department on a contempt of Congress charge; the commission plans to do the same with Mr Meadows on Monday.
Two associates of the former president, former Defense Ministry official Kash Patel and the president’s ex-lawyer John Eastman, were before the committee on Thursday as it continues to take depositions for its investigation.
Mr Eastman was the author of a notorious memo that laid out a plan for Vice President Mike Pence to interfere with the counting of the Electoral College ballots on January 6, threatening the peaceful transfer of power. Mr Trump’s team hoped the vice president would attempt to seat voters elected by alternate Republicans who would vote for the president over objections from Senate Democrats.
The former president will have 14 days to ask the Supreme Court to block the court’s decision before the National Archives begins releasing documents to the panel. Mr Trump is likely to do so, but it is not clear whether the court will act to stop those releases in time.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi celebrated the news in a statement shortly after the ruling was announced.
“Today the courts have once again rejected the former president’s campaign to obstruct congressional investigation into the January 6 insurgency,” she said. âNo one can be allowed to stand in the way of the truth – especially not the previous president, who instigated the insurgency. “
âUnder the leadership of President Bennie Thompson and Vice President Liz Cheney, the special committee to investigate the January 6 attack on the Capitol continues its legal and moral prerogative to exercise oversight and uncover the entire truth on this day, to protect the Capitol and to defend Democracy, âadded the speaker.