With U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan overseeing his case in Washington, D.C., Donald Trump’s legal troubles in the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack come nearly full circle. Trump’s federal criminal indictment on charges of attempting to subvert the results of the 2020 presidential election was randomly assigned to Chutkan, 61, who became one of the first federal judges in D.C. to reject the former president’s efforts to use executive privilege to withhold White House communications from Jan. 6 investigators, reports the Washington Post. In her Trump documents opinion on Nov. 9, 2021, Chutkan ruled that Congress had a strong public interest in obtaining White House communications and other records that could shed light on the violent attack by a mob of Trump supporters who injured dozens of police officers, ransacked offices and forced the evacuation of lawmakers meeting to confirm the results of the 2020 election.
Chutkan noted that President Biden had waived executive privilege, overcoming his predecessor’s attempt to invoke the confidentiality of presidential communications, a ruling affirmed by a federal appeals court and left standing by the U.S. Supreme Court. “At bottom, this is a dispute between a former and incumbent President,” Chutkan wrote. “And the Supreme Court has already made clear that in such circumstances, the incumbent’s view is accorded greater weight.” In addition to his involvement in more than 4,000 lawsuits over the course of his half-century in real estate, entertainment and politics, Trump has been the subject of investigations by federal, state and regulatory authorities in every decade of his long career. Over the past two years, Chutkan has earned a reputation for handing down tough penalties to people convicted of crimes in the Jan. 6 riot, the New York Times reports. While she has avoided the sort of pointed barbs against Trump that some of her colleagues on the bench have used to describe the former president’s role in the assault, she has not been shy in expressing her disdain for the attack.