The records, which Trump wants to keep secret, include handwritten notes from his chief of staff on Jan. 6, call logs of then-president and former vice president Mike Pence, and White House visitor records, additional court records revealed early Saturday morning.
“In 2021, for the first time since the Civil War, the nation did not experience a peaceful transfer of power,” the House committee said. “The committee elected rightly decided that it needed the documents of the then president, who helped promote the breakdown of the rule of law. … It’s hard to imagine a more critical topic for a congressional inquiry.”
The Trump case is a crucial and potentially historic legal battle for the power of the former president to protect his mandate, power before Parliament’s subpoena, and achieve executive privileges.
Trump is trying to hide more than 700 pages from the files of his closest advisers in front of the House of Representatives until and Jan. 6, according to a sworn statement by B. John Laster of the National Archives submitted by the Biden administration to DC. District Court on Saturday.
These records include working papers from then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, a White House spokesman and attorney who had notes and notes on Trump’s efforts to undermine the election.
Meadows documents alone contain three handwritten notes of the Jan. 6 events and two pages of information and phone calls about electoral college certification, the archivist said.
Laster’s outline of the documents offers a first glimpse into documentation that would reveal what was happening in the West Wing when Trump supporters gathered in Washington and then flooded the U.S. Capitol, disrupting the confirmation of the 2020 vote.
Trump is also working to keep secret 30 pages of his daily schedule, White House visitor diaries and call records, Laster wrote. Call logs, schedules, and switchboard checklists document “calls to the president and vice president, all specifically for January 6, 2021,” Laster said.
These types of records could respond to some of the most guarded facts about what happened between Trump and other senior officials, including those besieged on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6.
Records that Trump wants to keep secret also include draft speeches, a draft proclamation in honor of two police officers who died in the siege, and notes and other documents about alleged election fraud and efforts to undo Trump’s loss of the presidency.
A historic court battle
In general, the House of Representatives searched the archives for records of plans to disrupt congressional election counts, preparations for pro-Trump rallies before and on Jan. 6, and what Trump learned about the validity of post-election voting.
The former President now argues that he should be able to exercise executive privileges even if the current President does not, and that Parliament’s requests for records from his presidency are illegitimate.
Overnight, the State Archives, in its judicial application, supported Parliament’s request for access, arguing that the attack on the Capitol was worth renouncing the executive privilege.
“President Biden’s market decision that the public interest requires disclosure is clearly reasonable and he must do so,” Biden’s lawyers wrote in court.
The archives have said they plan to start publishing controversial Trump-era records to Parliament from Nov. 12, unless a court intervenes.
Judge Tanya Chutkan of the U.S. District Court in DC will have a key hearing on Trump’s lawsuit on Thursday.
Former members and scholars are on the congressional side
The fight for documents from the National Archives from the Trump era has been heating up in recent days.
A bipartisan group of 66 former members of Congress, including some Republicans who have served in leadership positions, told a federal court earlier this week that they support the U.S. House in the case.
Their position is presented this week in a “friend of the court” report that Chutkan could seek for legal guidance.
Former members say Trump should not undermine the need for Congress to understand the Jan. 6 attack, and urge Chutkan to reject his request for a court order that would prevent the archives from handing over documents.
“The armed attack on the United States Capitol, which has interrupted the peaceful transfer of presidential power – and does not require the documents needed to investigate it – is the only serious threat to stop it in court,” the former members write.
A group of government transparency organizations, law professors and other experts also support the House of Representatives, and the archive in turning Trump’s records, according to court files.