Judge Rebukes Trump, Hands Congress' Jan. 6 Committee a Huge Victory

Former President Donald Trump’s attempt to block Jan. 6 investigators from examining White House records in connection to his bid to overturn the 2020 election has been denied, a judge ruled on Tuesday.

As Politico reports, Judge Tanya Chutkan determined Trump does not have the authority to overrule President Joe Biden’s decision to waive executive privilege and release the documents to Congress.

“Presidents are not kings, and Plaintiff is not President,” Judge Chutkan wrote in the ruling. Trump has appealed the decision. The documents include files from Trump’s former chief of staff Mark Meadows, adviser Stephen Miller, and White House deputy counsel Patrick Philbin. They also contain call and visitor logs.

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Tuesday’s ruling is integral for the Jan. 6 committee, who will have crucial access to information behind Trump’s disinformation campaign, which questioned the results of the 2020 election and his attempts to overturn the vote once defeated.

In Chutkan’s ruling, she outlined Trump’s concerted efforts to cast doubt on the election results, which included him beckoning supporters to assert pressure on lawmakers to not certify Biden as President. In the wake of those actions, Trump supporters headed to the Capitol, which was breached on Jan. 6, ending in violence. Hundreds involved have since been charged and arrested.

The Jan. 6 committee is investigating the root causes of the insurrection, including a look at whether Trump or anyone else within the government is to blame. Last summer, the committee requested the documents from the National Archives. Biden declined to invoke executive privilege to withhold them from the committee.

In response, Trump sued the Jan. 6 committee and the National Archives. He claimed that as a former president he should be granted executive privilege over the documents, despite Biden’s decision, arguing that a Richard M. Nixon-era Supreme Court ruling decided presidents retain a “residual” interest in the confidentiality of their White House records. Chutkan disagreed.

“At bottom, this is a dispute between a former and incumbent President. And the Supreme Court has already made clear that in such circumstances, the incumbent’s view is accorded greater weight,” Chutkan wrote, citing the Nixon-era ruling.

The committee has issued new subpoenas to prominent Trump World figures — including Michael Flynn, John Eastman, Jason Miller, and more — signifying an acceleration in its inquiry into the causes of the Capitol attack.

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