‘Really big’ court ruling bodes ‘very poorly’ for Trump and his circle: MSNBC legal analyst

A federal appeals court's decision Thursday rejecting former President Donald Trump's effort to keep Jan. 6 documents secret could be "the end of the road" for his executive privilege claims, according to former U.S. attorney Harry Litman.

"It's really big," Litman told MSNBC on Thursday afternoon. "They absolutely shut down Trump's claims."

Litman added that there are two broad themes in the appeals court's 86-page decision. First, the court found that the current president, Joe Biden, should have final authority over what is protected by executive privilege.

"Even bigger than that, the way they set out the facts, and their statements that this is a big constitutional moment, this is a big deal. They describe the actual events of Jan. 6 with the proper kind of violence and outrage for what has happened. So all of that augurs very poorly not just for Trump, but his circle."

READ MORE: Appeals court says 'there is a direct linkage' between Trump and Capitol riots

Thursday's decision was issued by a three-judge panel of the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Litman said if Trump requests a rehearing from the full court, his petition likely would be denied. And, at that point, Trump's claim of executive privilege would be "settled" in the D.C. circuit.

"So (Mark) Meadows who wants to say there's executive privilege, (Steve) Bannon who wants to say it, anyone who wants to say it, it's now the law of that court that it is not in fact executive privilege, so that cuts out their main defense," Litman said.

Finally, he said he is not certain that justices would even take the case if Trump opts to appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.

"I think it's a toss-up whether the court takes it, and if it doesn't, this is the end of the road ... and there is no executive privilege claim to be made on behalf of Trump," he said. "I think there are three (Supreme Court) votes for (taking the case) almost on Trump partisan terms, but I'm not sure you get beyond that. We'll know soon enough."

The appeals court gave Trump two weeks to appeal the decision, and on Thursday afternoon he appeared to confirm that he will.

"Regardless of today’s decision by the the appeals court, this case was always destined for the Supreme Court," Trump spokeswoman Liz Harrington wrote on Twitter. "President Trump’s duty to defend the Constitution and the Office of the Presidency continues, and he will keep fighting for every American and every future Administration."

Watch below.

Harry Litman on Trump Jan. 6 decision www.youtube.com