Former President Donald Trump is trying to block documents, including call logs, draft comments and speeches, and handwritten notes from his chief of staff regarding the Capitol uprising on Jan. 6, to release them to a committee investigating the riots, the National Archives revealed in a statement in court early Saturday.
Trump has sued to prevent the National Archives from transmitting these documents, and thousands of others, to Parliament’s committee investigating the attack. President Joe Biden has refused to exercise executive privileges on most of Trump’s records, after finding that doing so “is not in the best interests of the United States”.
Saturday’s application, received as part of the National Archives and Records Administration’s opposition to Trump’s lawsuit, details the agency’s efforts to identify records from the Trump White House in response to a broad, 13-page request from Parliament’s Committee on Documents. relating to the uprising and Trump’s efforts to undermine the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election.
The document offers a first look at a series of records that could soon be handed over to the commission for investigation.
Billy Laster, director of the National Archives White House liaison department, wrote that among the special documents Trump wanted to block were 30 pages of “daily presidential diaries, schedules, meeting information showing White House visitors, activity diaries , call logs and checklists for replacement of interchangeable plates, showing calls to the President and Vice-President, all separately for or for 6 January 2021; 13 pages ”of draft speeches, comments and correspondence related to the events of 6 January 2021; and “three handwritten notes of the Jan. 6 events from (former White House Chief of Staff Mark) Meadows files.”
Trump also sought to enforce executive privilege over pages from former White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany with speeches and statements, “particularly on allegations of voter fraud, electoral security, and other issues related to the 2020 election.”
Other documents included a handwritten note from Meadows’ files stating “possible or scheduled appointments and phone calls regarding January 6 certification and other election issues” and “a draft executive order on the topic of election integrity.”
Laster’s statement states that the search for the National Archives began with paper documents because it took until August for digital records from Trump’s White House to be forwarded to the agency. The National Archives, he wrote, has identified “hundreds of thousands of potentially responsive records” of emails from Trump’s White House from about 100 million sent or received during his administration and is working to determine if they relate to Parliament’s request.
Biden has so far waived the executive privilege for almost all the documents requested by the committee, although the committee agreed to “defer” its demands for dozens of pages of records at the behest of Biden’s White House.
Explaining why Biden did not protect Trump’s records, White House adviser Dana Remus wrote that they could “shed light on the events in and around the White House on Jan. 6 and support the committee’s need to understand the facts underlying the most serious attack on federal action.” governments since the Civil War. “
On January 6, an armed crowd of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol building and tried to stop the confirmation of Biden’s election victory. The Democratic-led House of Representatives accused Trump of inciting unrest, but the Republican-led Senate acquitted him.
In his lawsuit to prevent the National Archives from submitting documents to the committee, Trump called the documents a “surveillance, illegal fishing expedition” that was “unrelated to any legitimate legislative purpose.”
The lawsuit also challenges the legality of the Presidential Records Act, arguing that allowing the current president to relinquish his predecessor’s executive privileges just a few months after he left office is in itself unconstitutional. Biden said he would review each request individually to see if that privilege should be waived.