Presidents Are Not Kings

A federal judge on Tuesday denied former President Donald Trump’s request to prevent congressional investigators from receiving a trove of executive branch records tied to the January 6 riot, as a House select committee investigates the attack on the Capitol.



D.C. Judge Tanya Chutkan rejected Trump’s argument — offered in a lawsuit against the House committee and the National Archives and Records Administration last month — that a set of documents requested by lawmakers fall under “executive privilege,” a legal doctrine that allows the president to keep certain communications secret.

The judge sided with the House committee, which argued executive privilege is intended to protect the executive branch and the current president, not a former president.

Chutkan said President Joe Biden — who declined to block a committee request for an initial round of Trump-era records last month — is better-positioned to weigh the executive branch’s best interests than Trump or a federal court, so Trump needs to defer to Biden.

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