Appeals court to weigh Trump arguments to withhold records

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Lawyers for former President Donald Trump will try to persuade a federal appeals court to stop Congress from obtaining call logs, drafts of speeches and other documents related to the January 6 uprising at the US Capitol led by his supporters.

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The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on Tuesday will hear arguments from Trump and House committee attorneys seeking records as part of an investigation into the riots.

Trump’s lawyers want the court to overturn a federal judge’s decision that allowed the National Archives and Records Administration to turn over the records after President Joe Biden waived executive privileges. Judge Tanya Chutkan dismissed Trump’s claims that he could have executive privileges overriding Biden, noting that “the president is not the king, and the plaintiffs are not the president.” Following Chutkan’s decision to review the case, the appeals court issued an administrative stay.


Democratic presidents nominated all three judges who will hear arguments on Tuesday. Patricia Millett and Robert Wilkins were nominated by President Barack Obama and Ketanji Brown Jackson is a Biden appointee.

Given the stakes in the case, both sides are likely to appeal to the Supreme Court.

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In his appeal to the Circuit Court, Trump’s lawyers said they agree with a pinch that the president is not a king. “True, but in the same vein, Congress is not a parliament—a legislative body with supreme and uncontrolled constitutional power over the conduct of government,” he wrote.

Trump has argued that records of his deliberations on January 6 should be withheld in order to protect executive privileges for future presidents and that the Democrat-led House is primarily politically motivated. Lawyers for the House committee rejected those arguments and called Trump’s efforts to assert executive privilege “unprecedented and deeply flawed.”

Lawyers for the committee said, “It is difficult to imagine a more important topic for Congress to investigate, and Mr. Trump’s arguments cannot overcome the pressing need for Congress.”


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