Trump is trying to PREVENT the January 6 committee from getting thousands of files

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Former President Donald Trump is trying to block the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 riots from getting its hands on more than 770 pages of files, call logs and notes as part of its investigation.

Earlier this month, the former president sued the National Archives to prevent it from transmitting those documents, and thousands more, to the House committee investigating the attack.

According to a sworn declaration from the National Archives released early Saturday morning, among the documents Trump wants to protect are 30 pages of his daily schedule, visitor logs and call records for both the former president and former Vice President Mike Pence.

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It also includes documents from Trump’s aides, including three handwritten notes from former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, ‘multiple binders’ of Kayleigh McEnany’s ‘made up almost entirely of talking points and statements related to the 2020 election,’ files from former advisor Stephen Miller and deputy White House counsel Pat Philbin.

Other documentation Trump’s legal team is trying to shield from the House Committee include the White House ‘daily diary,’ a memo about a potential lawsuit against several states that President Joe Biden won in the 2020 election, an email chain from a state official regarding election-related issues, talking points on alleged election irregularities in one Michigan county and draft remarks for the Save America rally – which preceded the riot at the Capitol.

Former President Donald Trump is suing the National Archives to prevent it from turning over more than 770 documents from his administration to the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 insurrection

Former President Donald Trump is suing the National Archives to prevent it from turning over more than 770 documents from his administration to the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 insurrection

The Saturday filing, which came as part of the National Archives and Record Administration’s opposition to Trump’s lawsuit, details the effort the agency has undertaken to identify records from the Trump White House in response to a broad, 13-page request from the House committee for documents pertaining to the insurrection and Trump’s efforts to undermine the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election.

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Billy Laster, the director of the National Archives’ White House Liaison Division, who released the filing, said the agency has identified nearly 1,600 files for the request.

He said that the documents Trump is trying to exert executive privilege over ‘all relate to the events on or about January 6, and may assist the Select Committee’s investigation into that day, including what was occurring before, during and after the attack.

‘Even assuming the applicability of executive privilege, however, the documents may assist the Select Committee in understanding efforts to communicate with the American public, including those who attacked the Capitol on January 6, on the subjects of alleged voter fraud, election security and other topics concerning the 2020 election.’ 

Laster also notes that the National Archives’ search began with paper documents because it took until August for digital records from the Trump White House to be transferred to the agency. 

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The National Archives, he wrote, has identified ‘several hundred thousand potentially responsive records’ of emails from the Trump White House out of about 100 million sent or received during his administration, and was working to determine whether they pertained to the House request. 

They were prepared to turn over the first tranche of documents by November 12, he wrote, according to Politico, but are now stymied by the lawsuit. 

The National Archive has identified nearly 1,600 files related to the insurrection and Trump's efforts to undermine the 2020 election

The National Archive has identified nearly 1,600 files related to the insurrection and Trump’s efforts to undermine the 2020 election

The House Select Committee investigating the January 6 riots sent the National Archives a broad request for any documents related to the insurrection or Trump's efforts to undermine the 2020 presidential election

The House Select Committee investigating the January 6 riots sent the National Archives a broad request for any documents related to the insurrection or Trump’s efforts to undermine the 2020 presidential election

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In his lawsuit, filed in federal court on October 15, lawyers representing the former president argued that the materials must remain secret under executive privilege.

They argue that the Constitution gives the former president the right to demand their confidentiality, even though he is no longer in office. 

They also argue that the records request are part of a political scheme to defame the former president, calling the document request a ‘vexatious, illegal fishing expedition’ that was ‘untethered from any legitimate legislative purpose.’

The lawyers claim that efforts to obtain his documents would erode all future president’s ability to have candid conversations with advisers and allies.

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And the lawsuit challenges the legality of the Presidential Records Act, arguing that allowing an incumbent president to waive executive privilege of a predecessor just months after he left office is inherently unconstitutional. 

President Joe Biden has declined to assert executive privilege on most of Trump’s records after determining that doing so is ‘not in the best interests of the United States.’

President Joe Biden has declined to assert executive privilege over the documents

President Joe Biden has declined to assert executive privilege over the documents

He said he would go through each request separately to determine whether that privilege should be waived.

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Leaders of the House Committee, Rep. Bennie Thompson, a Democrat from Mississippi, and Rep. Liz Cheney, a Republican from Wyoming, have condemned Trump’s lawsuit as ‘nothing more than an attempt to delay and obstruct our probe.’

‘It’s hard to imagine a more compelling public interest than trying to get answers about an attack on our democracy and an attempt to overturn the results of an election,’ they wrote in a statement after the suit was filed in federal court.

Lawyers for the House committee also wrote on Saturday that the ‘Plaintiff’s claims of executive privilege fail because the privilege is not absolute, and here is outweighed by Congress’s compelling need for information about the extraordinary attack that occurred on the Capitol,’ according to the New York Times. 

‘The committee’s investigation into the January 6 attack plainly embodies a legitimate legislative purpose.’

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They say the select committee must reject Trump’s efforts to block the release, or they risk leaving future elections subject to abuse.

‘The urgency of the work cannot be overstated,’ House Counsel Doug Letter wrote in a 52-page legal brief delivered to Judge Tanya Chukan.

‘The threat that brought the attack on January 6 is ongoing,’ the brief said. ‘Those who falsely claimed the election was stolen (including Mr. Trump) continue to do so.’

The lawyers also note that the Supreme Court has determined former presidents have less legal authority to demand confidentiality of Executive Branch records, according to Politico.

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They also argue that a sitting president’s denial of executive privilege should outweigh that of a former president’s because courts have ruled that sitting presidents have a better perspective on Executive Branch interests.

The January 6 insurrection began shortly after President Donald Trump gave remarks at the Save America rally

The January 6 insurrection began shortly after President Donald Trump gave remarks at the Save America rally

It resulted in a group of pro-Trump protesters scaling the walls of Congress and breaking into the building in an effort to prevent Congress from certifying the results of the 2020 election

Judge Tanya Chutkan has been among the most outspoken judges in the federal circuit in Washington D.C. to condemn the January 6 riots

Judge Tanya Chutkan has been among the most outspoken judges in the federal circuit in Washington D.C. to condemn the January 6 riots

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Judge Chutkan has been among the most outspoken judges in the federal circuit in Washington D.C. to call the January 6 riots – when a group of pro-Trump protesters stormed the Capitol in an effort to prevent Congress from certifying the results of the 2020 presidential election  – a fundamental assault on democracy.

She is expected to hold a hearing on Trump’s bid to block access to the records on Thursday.

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