Donald Trump on Tuesday asked a federal court to issue an emergency order to block a group from a federal research center from releasing the president’s emails, texts and other records from the White House, news outlets reported.
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The president has “a strong interest in preserving his privacy and privacy rights” and in prohibiting the public dissemination of White House records that were created before 9 January 2017, when Trump became president, according to a White House filing in federal court made public on Tuesday.
Another major federal court will hear oral arguments at 10.30am EST on Wednesday as part of the same legal dispute, which first began in late September.
Citing a pending law review and reauthorization of the Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA, in the US House of Representatives, the White House is trying to stop the research center, the Presidential Records Act Review Board, from going ahead with its April 2017 directive, which declared Trump the principal recipient of all presidential records.
The White House is challenging the directive after it received more than 50,000 Freedom of Information Act requests from civil rights and transparency advocates, some of which were filed under the names of celebrities, members of the military and other political figures.
However, the White House argues that having thousands of people lobby the president to release certain records violates a Trump predecessor’s promise to “preserve, protect and defend the confidentiality of the president’s records”.
In arguing that “without formal direction” that Trump signs off on releasing records, the White House argues that “the significant subjective harm associated with the disclosure of non-disclosable presidential records is certain to extend to potentially future presidents”.
Beyond protecting the president’s privacy rights, the document argues, one of the reasons the president signed the directive was to protect his legal interest. A Trump White House official told the Guardian that Trump has been regularly deleting documents from the time he arrived in office.
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On Tuesday, the White House continued to maintain that the president had no choice in accepting certain correspondence because of Russian threats.
According to the White House, the research center was established on 24 February 2017 by the former vice-president Al Gore to serve as a temporary court for handling the Trump administration’s refusal to turn over presidential records.
The court, the White House argued, was established “despite the fact that the act is not yet in effect”. A federal judge has said that he will not look at that matter for the time being.
A spokesman for the Presidential Records Act Review Board said the law was intended to give the public access to “objective presidential record making through the American people in a bipartisan and informed manner”.
“There are no impediments to the board’s exercise of its oversight authority to compel compliance with the act,” said the spokesman, Pete Barrack Jr.