Liz Cheney, Vice Chair, of the January 6 Committee, speaks to Rep. Jamie Raskin after a meeting. Rod Lamkey/CNP/ZUMA

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On Thursday, a federal appeals court ruled against former President Donald Trump, demanding he turn over White House records to the congressional committee investigating the January 6 Capitol riot. 

Over the 2021 summer, the Jan. 6 committee filed a request for a range of documents related to the riot from the period between December 1, 2020 and January 20, 2021. For the last few months, Trump and his lawyers have been waging a frantic legal battle to prevent their release. 

Trump previously lost the first round before U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, who rejected his lawyers’ argument that the documents were protected by executive privilege and ordered that he turn them over to the committee. Current president Joe Biden declined to back Trump’s claims, which would’ve thrown more weight behind his argument, and waived privilege over the documents. 

Trump quickly appealed the decision to the DC Circuit, and asked Chutkan to issue a stay on her own decision. She declined, forcing Trump’s legal team to file an emergency motion with the Appeals Court, which issued a temporary injunction halting the documents’ release.

But the injunction was short lived, and the three-judge Appeals Court panel composed of two Obama appointees and one Biden appointee, ruled 3-0 that Trump was obliged to turn over the documents.

“On the record before us, former President Trump has provided no basis for this court to override President Biden’s judgment and the agreement and accommodations worked out between the Political Branches over these documents,” read the opinion. 

This is almost certainly not the end of the legal battle. Trump now has 14 days to petition the Supreme Court to take up the case. 

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