New court documents from January 6 reveal what Trump is trying to hide from Congress
The National Archives first described in an affidavit what Trump wants to keep a secret.
Files Trump wants to keep secret include handwritten notes from his chief of staff around January 6, call logs from then-President and former Vice President Mike Pence, and records from White House visitors, Additional court records revealed early Saturday morning.
“In 2021, for the first time since the civil war, the Nation has not experienced a peaceful transfer of power,” wrote the House Committee. “The select committee reasonably concluded that it needed the documents of the then president who helped instigate the collapse of the rule of law. … It is difficult to imagine a more critical subject for the investigation. of Congress. “
Trump’s trial is a crucial and potentially historic legal battle over the authority of a former president to protect his tenure, the subpoena power of the House, and the scope of executive privilege.
Trump is attempting to withhold from the House more than 700 pages of the files of his closest advisers until Jan.6, according to a sworn statement by B. John Laster of the National Archives, which the Biden administration submitted to the DC Court of large instance on Saturday.
These documents include working papers from then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, the press secretary and a White House lawyer who had notes and memos about Trump’s efforts. to undermine the elections.
In Meadows’ documents alone, there are three handwritten notes on the events of January 6 and two pages listing briefings and phone calls about the Electoral College certification, the archivist said.
The preview of Laster’s documents offers a first look at the paperwork that would reveal events inside the West Wing as Trump supporters gather in Washington and then invade the U.S. Capitol, disrupting the certification of the 2020 vote .
Trump is also seeking to keep 30 pages of his daily schedule, White House visitor logs and call tapes a secret, Laster wrote. The switchboard’s call logs, schedules and checklists document “calls to the president and vice-president, all specifically for or encompassing January 6, 2021,” Laster said.
These types of documents could address some of the most closely guarded facts of what transpired between Trump and other high-level officials, including those under siege on Capitol Hill on January 6.
The files Trump wants to keep secret also include draft speeches, a draft proclamation honoring two police officers who died during the siege, and memos and other documents on alleged electoral fraud and efforts to undo Trump’s loss of the Presidency.
Historic legal battle
Typically, the House searched for documents held by the Archives that speak of plans to disrupt the electoral tally in Congress, preparations for pro-Trump rallies before and on January 6, and what Trump had learned about the strength of the vote. after the elections.
The former Speaker now claims he should have the ability to assert executive privilege even when the current Speaker does not, and that the House’s requests for documents from his Speaker are illegitimate.
In their own overnight court record, the National Archives backed the House’s request for access, arguing that the attack on the Capitol deserved to forgo executive privilege.
“President Biden’s sober determination that the public interest requires disclosure is patently reasonable, and it is up to him to do so,” lawyers for the Biden administration wrote in court.
The Archives said they plan to start releasing the disputed Trump-era files to the House from November 12, unless a court steps in.
DC U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan will hold a key hearing in Trump’s trial on Thursday.
Former members and academics take sides with Congress
In recent days, the fight over the Trump-era National Archives records has intensified.
A bipartisan group of 66 former members of Congress, including some Republicans who had held leadership positions, told a federal court earlier this week that they supported the United States House in the case.
Their position is in a âfriend of the courtâ brief this week that Chutkan could turn to for legal advice.
Former members say the need for Congress to understand the Jan.6 attack should not be undermined by Trump, and they urge Chutkan to reject his request for a court order that would prevent the Archives from handing over documents.
“An armed attack on the United States Capitol that disrupted the peaceful transfer of presidential power – and not requests for documents needed to investigate – is the only serious threat to the Constitution before the court,” write the former members.
A group of government transparency organizations, law professors and other experts are also supporting the House and the Archives in handing over Trump’s files, court documents show.