Judge orders Kris Kobach to hand over Homeland Security briefing document he showed Donald Trump

In November Kobach brought documents to meet with Trump, now those papers will be used as evidence on travel ban

By Taylor Link
April 6, 2017 8:33PM (UTC)
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President-elect Donald Trump pauses pose for photographs as he greets Kansas Secretary of State, Kris Kobach, at the Trump National Golf Club Bedminster clubhouse, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2016, in Bedminster, N.J.. () (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

During the transition period before Donald Trump assumed office as president, one of his key advisers briefed him on preliminary immigration plans at a golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey. Now a federal judge has ordered that adviser, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, to hand over the documents he used to brief the president.

The documents in question were first seen in late November, when Kobach was visiting then President-elect Trump. Kobach accidentally "leaked" the documents when he posed for a photograph, that allowed for glimpses of the documents. Photo editing tools have provided a zoomed-in look at the documents, which revealed Kobach's plan to put Trump's hard-line immigration platform into practice.


In a federal district court in Kansas this week, Judge James O'Hara issued an order compelling Kobach to produce the documents for a voting rights case. The plaintiffs in the case identified the documents that were given to Trump in November as possible evidence. The documents contained a passage referencing a possible amendment to the National Voting Rights Act, a law pertinent to the case.

Kobach initially refused to produce the documents, however, arguing that they were protected by executive privilege. But after the judge reviewed the documents and the laws governing "executive privilege," the magistrate decided that the documents were relevant, despite a "very close call."

At this point Kobach could object to the judge's ruling and appeal to the district court judge overseeing the suit. Kobach's lawyers did not provide a comment to Politico.


The American Civil Liberties Union brought the lawsuit on behalf of the League of Women Voters and several Kansas residents.

Taylor Link

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Executive Order Homeland Security Immigration Kris Kobach Muslim Ban Travel Ban