Late Monday night, the former president filed an emergency request to block the National Archives from sending the material to the committee on Friday. Judge Tanya Chutkan denied it, and she didn’t have to think too hard about it, either. Her rejection came just after midnight, less than two hours after Trump filed the request.
Last month, Trump sued the House committee and the National Archives in an attempt to block the release of the documents, claiming they are protected under executive privilege. In a virtual hearing last Thursday, Judge Chutkan said the scope of the material the committee requested may be a little too broad, but questioned Trump’s legal basis for blocking its release. “Are you really saying the president’s notes, talking points, and records of telephone conversations on Jan. 6 have no bearing on the investigation?” she asked.
Judge Chutkan also noted that she’d be more inclined to side with Trump if the current administration objected to the release of the material, but that’s not the case. President Biden officially rejected Trump’s request to exert executive privilege over the documents early last month, with White House Counsel Dana Remus writing that Trump using executive privilege is “not in the best interests of the United States.”
Trump’s late-night request on Monday came before Judge Chutkan had even ruled on Trump’s previous request to block the material’s release. Trump attorney Jesse Binnall asked for an “administrative stay” on the ruling, which had yet to be handed down, so that Trump could appeal a potential rejection before the documents start flowing on Friday.
Judge Chutkan responded by noting that what Binnall requested isn’t actually a thing, writing that she’s already working “expeditiously” to come to a decision, and that Trump’s request was “premature” as federal law prevents her from being able to grant a stay before an appeal has even been filed.
Binnall wrote that if she doesn’t rule on Trump’s effort to block the documents’ release by Wednesday, Trump “will promptly seek appellate relief,” but as it stands now, it’s looking like the committee is likely to soon get its hands on hundreds of pages of White House records, call logs, and other material pertaining to Jan. 6 and the effort to overturn the 2020 election results.