Trump Jan. 6 records on the line in federal appeals court




  • In Politics
  • 2021-11-30 09:36:06Z
  • By USA TODAY

WASHINGTON - A federal appeals court will hear arguments Tuesday about whether former President Donald Trump can block access to his administration's documents from a House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection.

Trump contested the release of hundreds of pages of documents the committee subpoenaed from the National Archives and Records Administration under a claim of executive privilege to keep the communications confidential. The records include handwritten notes and logs of calls on Jan. 6 to Trump and former Vice President Mike Pence.

D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Judges Patricia Millett, Robert Wilkins and Ketanji Brown Jackson temporarily blocked release of the contested documents while the case is pending.

Former President Donald Trump
Former President Donald Trump's lawyers are fighting the release of documents related to the riot on Jan.  

U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan rejected Trump's arguments by ruling that President Joe Biden's waiver of executive privilege outweighed the opinion of his predecessor. Chutkan also refused to block the committee's access while the case is appealed. But the appeals court postponed the release of the documents while the case is argued.

Explained: The documents Trump doesn't want the Jan. 6 panel to see? Appointments, call logs and handwritten notes

The Trump case is urgent because the committee is eager to review the documents as it considers legislation to discourage upheaval surrounding the 2022 and 2024 elections.

But several Trump aides, including former chief of staff Mark Meadows, have defied subpoenas by arguing they are following Trump's orders to keep documents and testimony about their communications confidential. The Justice Department charged Trump political strategist Steve Bannon criminally with contempt. He has vowed to fight the charges.

List: Who has been subpoenaed so far by the Jan. 6 committee

The House committee made a sweeping request in August for documents from the National Archives and other federal agencies as the panel pieced together what led to the attack on the Capitol and how the White House responded that day. About 140 police officers were injured. Police fatally shot a woman outside the House chamber as the counting of Electoral College votes was temporarily halted and Pence and others were rushed to safety.

Though the documents aren't public, court records from Trump's battle to prevent their release explained the type of information the lawmakers would receive - and what Trump most wanted to keep hidden.

Poll: Majority of Americans say he should testify about January 6

Of the 763 pages in which Trump asserted privilege, 629 are talking points prepared for the press secretary and 43 include presidential schedules, appointments, activity logs, call logs, among other documents, according to the filing from the National Archives. The agency is still reviewing thousands of pages that might be challenged.

More: Press secretary Kayleigh McEnany subpoenaed

The first batch of documents, which was scheduled for release Nov. 12 and postponed while the appeals court considers the case, included 39 pages that Trump claimed should remain confidential under executive privilege. The pages include handwritten notes about events on Jan. 6, appointments for White House visitors and switchboard checklists showing calls to Trump and Pence, according to a court filing from the National Archives.

Another batch of records, which was scheduled for release Nov. 26 and also postponed by the court, included presidential calendars and handwritten notes about Jan. 6, a draft speech for the Save America March, a handwritten list of potential or scheduled briefings and phone calls concerning election issues and a draft executive order concerning election integrity, according to the agency.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Jan. 6 investigation: Trump lawyers argue for blocking records

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