A federal appeals court on Thursday afternoon granted former President Donald Trump’s request to temporarily stay a lower court’s ruling that requires the National Archives to turn over documents from his administration to the House Select Committee on Jan. 6.
The stay will allow the appeals panel more time to consider the former president’s case arguing against the release of the materials to the committee on a claim of executive privilege. Had the upper court not ruled, the National Archives would have been required via the lower court’s ruling to hand over the materials by Friday.
Arguments are now scheduled in the appeals court for Nov. 30.
The three-judge panel said its ruling was “to protect the court’s jurisdiction” in order to address Trump’s executive privilege claim while also noting that the ruling “should not be construed in any way as a ruling on the merits” of his arguments.
Nevertheless, while the Jan. 6 committee had expected to receive its requested documents on Friday from the National Archives, that has been delayed for the time being. The committee had requested a number of materials including visitor logs, White House memos, and schedules.
The appeals ruling comes as President Joe Biden has waived any claims of executive privilege by Trump and several of his former staffers and advisers who have been subpoenaed to appear before the committee to provide testimony.
“If no administrative injunction issues from this Court, then the records at issue will be produced on November 12, at 6:00 p.m.,” Trump’s legal team said in its filing Thursday, seeking an emergency injunction.
“Put simply, this motion seeks only a brief pause in the production; it will not prejudice the other arguments or requests to be made by the parties in this important appeal,” the motion continued.
On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, an Obama appointee, rejected Trump’s executive claim arguments, writing, “Presidents are not kings. And Plaintiff is not President.” She also ruled that Biden, not former “occupants of the office” of the presidency, are now making executive claim decisions.
In their appeals court filing, Trump’s attorneys wrote that the Office of the President would “suffer irreparable harm through the effective denial of a constitutional and statutory right to be fully heard on a serious disagreement between the former and incumbent President.”
Also Thursday, the White House notified former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows that his claim of executive privilege at Trump’s request would also not be honored.
And Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), the Jan. 6 committee chairman, wrote in a letter to Meadows’ attorney late Thursday that there’s “no valid legal basis” for his client not to comply with a subpoena he has been issued to provide the panel with testimony on Friday.
“Simply put, there is no valid legal basis for Mr. Meadows’s continued resistance to the Select Committee’s subpoena. As such, the Select Committee expects Mr. Meadows to produce all responsive documents and appear for deposition testimony tomorrow, November 12, 2021, at 10:00 a.m,” said Thompson’s letter to attorney George Terwilliger.
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