And by already speaking to more than 400 witnesses and now getting the hundreds of pages top officials’ White House records that were at the heart of the case before the Supreme Court, the committee is likely to be able to fill in key details about what has happening around Trump in the lead-up and during the attack on Congress’ election certification vote.
The documents in question were being held by the National Archives, which inherited them when Trump left office. The Archives was processing documents requested by the House on a rolling basis and consulting with both President Joe Biden and Trump about potential assertions of executive privilege.
Trump had initially sued to stop the release of three tranches where Biden declined to assert privilege after Trump had said that they should be kept secret. Those documents amounted to more than 700 pages of records detailing the goings on within the White House in the period the House is investigating. The records include activity logs, schedules, speech notes and three pages of handwritten notes from then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows. Other top officials’ records in the batches are from then-press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, then-Deputy White House counsel Patrick Philbin, and even lists showing calls to the President and the Vice President.
When can the public see them?
For now, the documents will be out of public view and within the hands of investigators.
However, House Select Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat, said Thursday that at some point the committee will post the documents publicly, but declined to specify the timeline for doing so.
There’s an incentive for lawmakers to keep secret for now the content of what they already have, so that witnesses cannot augment their testimony based on what the House already knows.
Why was the committee seeking the documents?
House lawmakers have said they are particularly interested in what was happening within the White House as the Capitol attack unfolded and what Trump knew about the potential it would get violent.
Committee leaders have said that they’re probing the delay in Trump calling off the rioters and whether that amounted to a dereliction of duty. Furthermore, lawmakers have framed up the attack as the culmination of a months-long effort to overturn the results of the election — and not just a riot that arose out of a vacuum.
The Trump White House documents may shed light on the other efforts made by the former…