A federal judge expressed skepticism Thursday when attorneys for former President Donald Trump asked her to prevent the handover of documents sought by a House committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection.
Some of the committee's requests dating back to April 2020 "are alarmingly broad," U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan said. But she disagreed with claims by Trump's lawyers that Congress did not have a legislative purpose for getting Trump's call logs, talking points and other notes from Jan. 6 as his supporters stormed the Capitol in hopes of overturning his loss to President Joe Biden.
Chutkan said she will rule soon on Trump's lawsuit seeking to block the release of documents related to the insurrection to the House committee. President Biden largely waived executive privilege on documents held by the White House, setting up a showdown between Trump and the executive and legislative branches that's likely to go to the Supreme Court.
The records that would be given to the committee include call logs, drafts of remarks and speeches and handwritten notes from Trump's then-chief of staff, Mark Meadows, according to a court filing by the National Archives. There are also copies of talking points from then-press secretary Kayleigh McEnany and "a draft Executive Order on the topic of election integrity," the National Archives said.
Trump called the document requests a "vexatious, illegal fishing expedition" that was "untethered from any legitimate legislative purpose," in his lawsuit to block the National Archives from turning over the documents.
The suit also challenges the legality of the Presidential Records Act, which allows an incumbent president to waive executive privilege of a predecessor, calling it inherently unconstitutional. President Biden has said he would go through each request separately to determine whether that privilege should be waived.
Additional reporting by The Associated Press.