An appeals court has ruled against former US president Donald Trump’s effort to shield documents from the House committee that is investigating the 6 January attack on Capitol in Washington DC earlier this year.
Trump is expected to appeal to the supreme court.
The committee is investigating the events on and surrounding 6 January, when a mob of pro-Trump supporters stormed the Capitol in a bid to disrupt the certification of Joe Biden’s election win. Amid scenes of violence that shocked America and the world, five people eventually died and scores were injured.
Trump and a clique of his close advisors have repeatedly engaged in legal action over the committee’s investigations, including refusing to cooperate with it. But the three-judge panel said there was a “unique legislative need” for documents that the committee has requested but whose release Trump has sought to block through executive privilege.
The appeals court ruled the injunction that has prevented the National Archives from turning over the documents will expire in two weeks, or when the supreme court rules on an expected appeal from Trump, whichever is later.
Trump sued the committee and the National Archives to stop the White House from allowing the release of documents related to the insurrection. President Joe Biden had waived Trump’s executive privilege claims as the current officeholder.
The National Archives has said that the records Trump wants to block include presidential diaries, visitor logs, speech drafts, handwritten notes “concerning the events of January 6” from the files of his former chief of staff Mark Meadows, and “a draft executive order on the topic of election integrity”.
Arguing for the committee, the US House lawyer Douglas Letter argued that the determination of a current president should outweigh predecessors in almost all circumstances and noted that both Biden and Congress were in agreement that the 6 January records should be turned over.
All three of the appeals court judges who heard the arguments were nominated by Democrats.
Millett and Judge Robert Wilkins were nominated by Barack Obama. Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is a Biden appointee seen as a contender for a supreme court seat should one open during the current administration.
The House committee and Trump representatives did not immediately respond to requests for comment Thursday.