A response to a lawsuit filed by ex-president Donald Trump to protect his White House records from the scrutiny of the House Select Committee investigating the January 6th insurrection has now revealed exactly which documents he is trying to prevent the committee members from seeing after the committee issued a wide-ranging, 13-page request for documents concerning the insurrection and Trump’s attempts to undermine the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election.
The National Archives and Record Administration is opposing Trump’s request to keep the records secret after President Joe Biden declined to invoke executive privilege to shield the documents — affirming the principles that only a sitting president may invoke the privilege which additionally would not apply to the investigation of serious criminal actions such as sedition — and saying that invoking executive privilege in this instance is “not in the best interests of the United States.”
In responding to Trump’s suit, the National Archives has enumerated the records that he is objecting to being made public and they are exactly the types of documents that a guilty party would want to see withheld from any investigation and that an innocent party would have no problem using to prove their incorruptibility.
“Billy Laster, the director of the National Archives’ White House Liaison Division, wrote that among the particular documents Trump has sought to block are 30 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; 13 pages of’ drafts of speeches, remarks, and correspondence concerning the events of January 6, 2021; and ‘three handwritten notes concerning the events of January 6 from (former White House chief of staff Mark) Meadows’ files,’” The Associated Press reports.
“Trump also tried to exert executive privilege over pages from former White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany’s binders of talking points and statements ‘principally relating to allegations of voter fraud, election security, and other topics concerning the 2020 election.’ Other documents included a handwritten note from Meadows’ files ‘listing potential or scheduled briefings and telephone calls concerning the January 6 certification and other election issues’ and ‘a draft Executive Order on the topic of election integrity,’” The AP added.
“Other documents included a handwritten note from Meadows’ files ‘listing potential or scheduled briefings and telephone calls concerning the January 6 certification and other election issues’ and ‘a draft Executive Order on the topic of election integrity.’”
The enormity of the task of gathering the documents requested by the House Select Committee was reflected in Laster’s statement which noted that the National Archives was forced to begin its search using paper documents since digital records from the Trump White House weren’t available until August.
Currently, Laster says that the Archives have 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.
In his lawsuit to block the National Archives from turning over the documents to the committee, Trump is claiming that the request is a “vexatious, illegal fishing expedition” that was “untethered from any legitimate legislative purpose,” and he is arguing that it is inherently unconstitutional to allow an incumbent president to waive the executive privilege of a predecessor just months after he left office.
Trump’s attempts at hindering the investigation of the January 6th insurrection — combined with his continued promotion of the ‘Big Lie” that he only lost by over 7 million votes because of election fraud for which he has been consistently unable to provide a shred of legitimate evidence — seems to suggest that the materials that he wished to suppress contain damning proof of his involvement in the planning of the violence that fateful day, or at least his complicity in failing to prevent and stop it.
Let’s hope the Justice Department fast tracks this case so the committee can have access to all the evidence it needs to hold the people behind the insurrection at the highest levels accountable
Original reporting by Zeke Miller at The Associated Press.
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Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.