A federal appeals court on Thursday halted the scheduled transfer of records of President Donald Trump’s time in office from the National Archives to Congress, ruling that Congress cannot access the files for now.
A three-judge panel from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit overruled a federal judge, who had opined earlier this week that a House of Representatives panel investigating the Jan. 6 of the U.S. Capitol had a legitimate legislative purpose in seeking the records.
U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, an Obama nominee, said the transfer could proceed as planned on Friday.
Trump appealed. Jesse Binnall, a Trump lawyer, said the former president is likely to prevail as he tried to convince the higher court to enter an injunction against Chutkan’s order.
“The alleged legislative purpose underpinning the overbroad request at issue here clearly does not merit involving the President and his records,” Binnall said. “The Committee has failed to identify anything in the broad swath of requested materials that would inform proposed legislation.”
The panel agreed to stop the transfer, pending a further order from the court.
The court will hear the case in the coming days before making a more permanent ruling.
Trump’s team was ordered to file a brief by Nov. 16 at noon, with a brief due from the House panel six days later. Trump’s team can respond in a second filing due by Nov. 24 at noon. Oral argument is slated to take place on Nov. 30.
The panel consisted of Judges Patricia Millett, an Obama nominee; Robert Wilkins, an Obama nominee; and Ketanji Brown Jackson, a Biden nominee.
Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), the head of the Jan. 6 House panel, did not immediately react to the order.