A federal judge on Tuesday night ruled that White House records connected to the Jan. 6 Capitol riot can be turned over to the House select committee investigating the attack.
Former President Donald Trump had tried to block investigators from getting the documents, which were requested in March and August, claiming he had executive privilege. In her Tuesday ruling, Judge Tanya S. Chutkan of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia said the first batch of materials must be handed over to the committee by Friday, NBC News reports.
Chutkan wrote that the court "holds that the public interest lies in permitting ... the combined will of the legislative and executive branches to study the events that led to and occurred on Jan. 6, and to consider legislation to prevent such events from ever occurring again." This was "an unprecedented attempt to prevent the lawful transfer of power from one administration to the next," Chutkan added, and "for the first time since the election of 1860, the transfer of executive power was distinctly not peaceful."
President Biden has said executive privilege should not be used to keep the documents from the House select committee, and White House Counsel Dana Remus argued the material sheds light on "events within the White House on and about Jan. 6 and bear on the select committee's need to understand the facts underlying the most serious attack on the operations of the federal government since the Civil War."
In her ruling, Chutkan stated that "presidents are not kings, and plaintiff is not president. He retains the right to assert that his records are privileged, but the incumbent president 'is not constitutionally obliged to honor' that assertion."