Federal Judge Shoots Down Trump Request To Block Jan. 6 Records

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Federal Judge Tanya Chutkan has denied a rushed request from former President Donald Trump for a temporary injunction blocking the release of records from his administration to the House committee investigating the Capitol riot. As explained by reporter Zoe Tillman, Trump filed ‘a preemptive “emergency” motion for an injunction blocking the Jan. 6 committee from getting his White House records so he can appeal a hypothetical loss before a district judge’ — although there wasn’t even a ruling on the matter yet. As Tillman summarized things, Chutkan replied to Trump’s request by promptly noting how “that’s not how this works.”

Obtaining what would be an appeal-facilitating injunction blocking the release of records before the judge even decides on whether those records are to be released is simply out of line. As CNN summarized it, “Effectively, Trump’s request for an emergency injunction was an attempt to get ahead of Chutkan’s ruling in the coming days.” There are hundreds of specific pages of documents at issue, including attention-grabbing items like handwritten notes from then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows about the events of January 6. Call logs and related records are also among the materials under dispute, and per CNN, the National Archives “has already said it will turn over records unless a court order prevents it.” At present, there’s no such court order.

Chutkan, who has also handled criminal proceedings related to the cases of individual rioters who breached the Capitol, has already shown what CNN notes as “skepticism” regarding the Trump team’s broadest claims. Trump has insisted that he possesses executive privilege that covers the sought-after documents and should keep them from being transmitted to the committee. During a recent hearing, Chutkan posed the pointed question to Trump’s legal team of if they were “really saying that the President’s notes, talking points, telephone conversations, on January 6 have no relation to the matter on which Congress is considering legislation.” After all, she noted, the “January 6 riot happened in the Capitol. That is literally Congress’ house.”

The investigation that is underway by the January 6 committee is proceeding on multiple fronts. This week, the panel announced a new round of subpoenas targeting six prominent allies of the former president, including Michael Flynn and Bernard Kerik, the latter of whom helped finance space at the Willard Hotel in D.C. that Trump allies used for planning ways to try and overturn Biden’s election victory. Besides his more prominent connections to the former president’s election-related corruption, Flynn was also present for a late 2020 meeting at the White House where topics including federal seizures of election equipment were discussed.