Brian Boynton, the acting head of Justice Department’s civil division, said the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) will likely share the four controversial pages with the committee investigating the Capitol riots unless a court order comes by Wednesday, reported Politico.
A court filing made by the Justice Department on Tuesday, and accessed by Politico, said the records would be released from the fourth tranche of documents.
“We write to notify the Court that tomorrow, January 19, 2022, as previously scheduled, the Archivist intends to release to the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol (Committee) records from the fourth tranche of documents over which the former President has asserted privilege,” the Justice Department said.
This comes at a time when the former president’s request to block the handover of these records among others is still pending at the Supreme Court.
The fourth tranche of the documents, protected by Mr Trump, has not been dissected by the lower courts as they agreed to withhold them after the former president’s pleas at the Supreme Court.
“We alert this Court to this development in an abundance of caution because counsel for the former President asserted today that releasing the fourth tranche of records to the Committee would violate this Court’s November 11, 2021 administrative stay order precluding the Archivist from ‘releasing the records requested by the House Select Committee over which appellant asserts executive privilege’,” the Justice Department said.
Last year, Mr Trump’s lawyers moved the top court, seeking the transfer of disputed records to the House panel be stopped. The court is yet to respond.
The Justice Department in its letter explained that the counsel for Mr Trump was informed that the fourth tranche of documents would be released as scheduled in the absence of a court offer.
This was, however, halted by president Joe Biden for a month who said Mr Trump should get a chance to seek judicial relief.
Since Mr Trump did not seek a preliminary injunction or seek clarification or relief, his counsel was informed last Friday that the fourth tranche of documents would be released on 19 January.
The former president has been safeguarding several important pages of his White House records from congressional investigators, claiming executive privilege over the information.
Information in these hundreds of pages include briefing notes, speech drafts, call and visitor logs and other crucial information.
It is not clear whether the Supreme Court will take up the former president’s lawsuit against the documents concerning the fourth tranche and pave the way for emergency relief for him.
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