The Slatest

Court Filing Reveals Records Trump Is Trying to Keep Hidden From Jan. 6 Inquiry

Pro-Trump protesters gather in front of the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6, 2021 in Washington, D.C.
Pro-Trump protesters gather in front of the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6, 2021 in Washington, D.C. Brent Stirton/Getty Images

There’s a lot of stuff former President Donald Trump doesn’t want Jan.6 investigators to see. Trump is trying to make sure that daily presidential diaries, drafts of speeches, logs of phone calls, and handwritten notes by some of his top staff members related to the Capitol riot aren’t handed over to the House committee investigating the events of that day, the National Archives revealed in a court filing early Saturday. The court filing by John Laster, the director of the National Archives’ presidential materials division, for the first time details the documents that Trump is trying to keep away from investigators by citing executive privilege. Overall, Trump is seeking to block more than 750 pages out of almost 1,600 that have been identified as relevant to the investigation.

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The documents that Trump is trying to prevent from being released include:

  • Almost 50 pages of files from several of his top aides, including Mark Meadows, his former chief of staff, Stephen Miller, his former senior adviser, and Patrick Philpin, his former deputy counsel.

  • Thirty pages of “daily presidential diaries, schedules, appointment information showing visitors to the White House, activity logs, call logs, and switchboard shift-change checklists showing calls to the President and Vice President, all specifically for or encompassing January 6, 2021,” according to the filing.

  • Thirteen pages of drats of speeches and correspondence relating to the Capitol riot.

  • The bulk of the claims over executive privilege relate to binders of talking points for Trump’s former press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, that largely have to do with issues connected to the 2020 presidential election.

  • A draft of a speech for the rally that took place before the mob attacked the Capitol

  • A draft executive order on election integrity.

  • A draft proclamation honoring the Capitol Police and officers who died as well as related emails.

  • A memo “apparently originating outside the White House” about a potential lawsuit against several of the states that President Joe Biden won in the election.

  • An email chain from a state official relating to elections as well as talking points on supposed election irregularities in a Michigan county.

The filing is a response to a lawsuit Trump filed earlier this month against the National Archives in which he is trying to block the disclosure of files that have a connection to the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. Trump has said the requests amount to a “vexatious, illegal fishing expedition.” The House has said Trump doesn’t have the right to keep the documents secret because the committee needs to reconstruct the events that took place on Jan. 6. “In 2021, for the first time since the Civil War, the Nation did not experience a peaceful transfer of power,” the House committee wrote. “The Select Committee has reasonably concluded that it needs the documents of the then-President who helped foment the breakdown in the rule of law. … It is difficult to imagine a more critical subject for Congressional investigation.” Biden has so far waived executive privilege on almost all the documents the committee has requested.

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