“Presidents are not kings, and Plaintiff is not President,” she wrote.
As of now, the National Archives remains on track to turn over to the House a number of documents on Friday, including White House call logs, video logs and schedules related to January 6 in addition as three pages of handwritten notes from Trump’s then-chief of staff. The outcome in court also could help the House in its pursuit of more information from those around Trump, including witnesses who’ve been subpoenaed and haven’t spoken to the committee however.
“The court holds that the public interest lies in permitting — not enjoining — the combined will of the legislative and executive branches to study the events that led to and occurred on January 6, and to consider legislation to prevent such events from ever occurring again,” Chutkan wrote in a 39-page opinion.
The estimate, in her ruling, shut down Trump’s arguments in court on several fronts.
She decided that a former president’s wishes couldn’t conquer the decisions of the current president regarding protecting privileged information of the executive branch. “It is the incumbent President who is best located to protect executive branch interests,” Chutkan said.
She also knocked down Trump for any attempts to protect himself out of secrecy. Presidential privilege “exists for the assistance of the Republic, not any individual,” she wrote. Because of that, Congress and the courts can access presidential communications when there’s a need to inform the public, the estimate decided.
In this case, the estimate said she wouldn’t look at Trump’s records document by document and wouldn’t second-guess the Biden administration’s decision to release them. She also noted that though the committee has made sweeping requests for requests, it does “not go beyond” its legislative strength.
The case has already become an historic test of the strength of a former president.
The House has argued to the court that Trump has no right to keep the documents secret from his presidency and say the need for the records is to reconstruct Trump’s actions on January 6 and his efforts to undermine the 2020 election.
Rep. Bennie Thompson, who chairs the House select committee, called the ruling a “big deal” for the congressional probe, telling CNN’s Chris Cuomo on “Cuomo chief Time” that he looks forward to the panel’s investigators “going by (the documents) with a fine-tooth comb to make sure that our government was not weaponized against its citizens.”
“We can only do that by getting access to the information. I applaud our lawyers who defended us in this court setting,” the Mississippi Democrat said. “I applaud the expeditious ruling that we got because we have to get to this.”
This story has been updated with additional details Tuesday.
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