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US Court rejects ex-President Trump’s bid to keep Capitol riot documents secret

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Amid Republican discord, Trump insists he’s going to stay in politics

A US federal appeals court has rejected a bid by former president, Donald Trump, to prevent the release of White House records relating to the January 6 attack on the Capitol.

The appeals court on Thursday agreed with a lower court ruling that President Joe Biden could waive executive privilege on the records so that they could be handed over to a Congressional panel investigating the violence by Trump supporters.

It would be recalled that Trump was accused of fomenting the attack on the US Congress.

However, he sought to exercise his privilege as a former president to keep the documents and phone records that might relate to the attack a secret.

But the court maintained that Biden’s judgment carried more weight in the case.

“The right of a former president certainly enjoys no greater weight than that of the incumbent,” the appeals court said in its ruling.

“In this case, President Biden, as the head of the Executive Branch, has specifically found that Congress has demonstrated a compelling need for these very documents and that disclosure is in the best interests of the nation,” the court said.

The appeals court said the public interest was greater than Trump’s own about the records, which are held by the National Archives.

“That public interest is heightened when, as here, the legislature is proceeding with urgency to prevent violent attacks on the federal government and disruptions to the peaceful transfer of power,” it added.

Although the ruling did not trigger the immediate release of the records, the court said Trump’s lawyers have two weeks to appeal the case to the Supreme Court.

Trump’s attorneys are expected to request a new freeze on the release while the high court reviews the unprecedented case.

Speaking on the matter, Trump’s spokeswoman, Liz Harrington, said, “Regardless of today’s decision by the appeals court, this case was always destined for the Supreme Court.

“President Trump’s duty to defend the Constitution and the Office of the Presidency continues, and he will keep fighting for every American and every future administration.”

Read also: Trump supporter who threatened to hang Congress members jailed 33 months

The records are sought by the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 violence, in which hundreds of Trump supporters forced the shutdown of Congress and delayed a joint session to confirm that Joe Biden had won the November 2020 election over Trump and would become president.

The special committee’s Democratic chairman Representative Bennie Thompson and Republican vice-chair Liz Cheney in a joint statement on Thursday, said, “We applaud the Court’s decisive ruling, which respects the Select Committee’s interest in obtaining White House records and the President’s judgment in allowing those records to be produced.”

Meanwhile, the documents that Trump hoped to block include records from his top aides and memos to his former press secretary.

The more than 770 pages include records of his former chief of staff Mark Meadows, his former senior advisor Stephen Miller and his former deputy counsel Patrick Philbin.

Trump had also hoped to block the release of the White House Daily Diary — a record of his activities, trips, briefings, and phone calls.

Another trove of documents Trump does not want Congress to see includes memos to his former press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, a handwritten note on the January 6 events, and a draft text of his speech at the “Save America” rally, which preceded the attack.

Also, the Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi in a statement after the ruling, said,“Today, the Courts have once again rejected the former President’s campaign to obstruct Congress’s investigation into the January 6th insurrection.

“No one can be allowed to stand in the way of the truth – particularly not the previous President, who incited the insurrection.”

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