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Legal Brief Details What Trump’s Trying to Hide From the January 6 Committee

The National Archives says Trump wants to conceal drafts of speeches, phone call logs and handwritten notes from aides.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump addresses supporters during a "Save America" rally at York Family Farms on August 21, 2021 in Cullman, Alabama.

A court filing from the National Archives has revealed the type of documents former President Donald Trump has attempted to prevent from being shared with the select committee investigating the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol building.

Last month, after current President Joe Biden rejected Trump’s claims of executive privilege, the former president sued the National Archives, seeking to limit which documents from his administration could be shared with the congressional commission. In a response brief filed by the National Archives, the agency laid out what Trump has been trying to keep hidden.

Trump is seeking to block 750 pages of around 1,600 pages that the National Archives has deemed relevant to the commission’s work. These pages include Trump’s presidential diaries, drafts of speeches made by him and his staff, handwritten notes from aides and phone call logs — all relating to the events of January 6 and the Trump administration’s strategy to call into question the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election.

The agency said that hundreds of pages from binders kept by his former Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany — which are “made up almost entirely of talking points and statements related to the 2020 election” — were among those requested to be kept from the January 6 commission. The National Archives said that Trump tried to block other aides’ files from being shared through the lawsuit, including those from his former chief of staff Mark Meadows, his adviser Stephen Miller and his deputy counsel Patrick Philbin.

Specifically, Trump is seeking to block drafts of a speech he gave on the morning of January 6, just before a mob of his loyalists attacked the Capitol seeking to block certification of the election. A draft of an executive order concerning “election integrity” is also among the documents Trump is attempting to conceal from the commission.

The National Archives filed its briefing with the goal of eventually handing the documents over to the select committee. As is typical in court filings, the agency included in its filing a section asserting that Trump, the plaintiff in the lawsuit, is unlikely to succeed in his lawsuit.

The National Archives argued that Trump is “no longer the President, and he lacks general authority to speak for the Executive Branch or to assert its interests.” It also said that the select committee’s “purposes are legitimate and compelling,” and that the documents the committee is seeking from the agency are pertinent to its investigation of the Capitol breach that took place earlier this year.

“Plaintiff’s challenges to the legitimacy and propriety of the Committee’s request fail. The Supreme Court has long recognized that the ‘power of inquiry’ is ‘an essential and appropriate auxiliary to the legislative function,'” the agency wrote.

Reporting from The Washington Post over the weekend, based on sources with knowledge of Trump’s whereabouts during the Capitol attack, noted that the former president spent more than three hours glued to the television as the attack unfolded — and that he did nothing to try and quell his supporters’ violent raid of Congress, even when members of his inner circle asked him to.

“For 187 minutes, Trump resisted entreaties to intervene from advisers, allies and his elder daughter, as well as lawmakers under attack,” the Post’s report said.

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