Jan. 6 committee awaits Trump records: a breakdown of the notes, call and visitor logs already released

The House Jan. 6 committee expects more Trump administration records by April 28, as the panel prepares for hearings about the attack.

Bart Jansen
USA TODAY
  • The National Archives plans to send more Trump administration records to House panel by April 28.
  • Trump fought to keep the documents confidential, but the Supreme Court refused to hear his case.
  • The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol attack plans hearings in the coming months.

WASHINGTON – The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol attack expects to build on its collection of hundreds of pages of former President Donald Trump's diaries, call logs and the handwritten notes of aides when it receives another batch of Trump administration documents in preparation for hearings in the coming months.

The National Archives and Records Administration said this week it will provide the latest documents by April 28. The transfer would follow about 800 pages of contested administration records the committee already received.

The agency hasn’t described publicly what’s in the latest set of records. But previous documents included handwritten notes and White House call and visitor logs.

Trump fought the release of earlier documents in federal court, claiming executive privilege to keep communications with aides confidential. But President Joe Biden waived executive privilege for the investigation, opening up documents to the committee. The Supreme Court refused to consider Trump’s appeal.

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The pending document release comes after the National Archives discovered Trump had brought 15 boxes of White House records – some marked classified – to his home in Florida. The Justice Department is investigating a potential violation of the Presidential Records Act, which calls for administration records to be turned over to the National Archives.

Here's what the National Archives previously released to the committee:

Former President Trump sitting at a desk

Logs of presidential activities, calls, appointments

The House committee made a sweeping request in August for documents from the National Archives and other federal agencies as the panel pieces 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. And Congress temporarily halted counting Electoral College votes that certified Biden's victory while a mob of Trump supporters ransacked the Capitol.

Billy Laster, director of the White House liaison division of the National Archives, described broadly in a court filing which records the agency received from the White House that fit the committee’s request for documents – and which ones Trump sought to keep confidential. The documents were grouped in four batches, with descriptions of three.

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The initial set of 136 pages the National Archives retrieved for the committee included records from Trump's chief of staff Mark Meadows, senior adviser Stephen Miller, deputy counsel Patrick Philbin and Brian de Guzman, director of White House information services. The records also included the White House daily diary, a chronological record of Trump’s movements, phone calls, trips, briefings, meetings and activities.

The agency determined that seven of the pages weren’t responsive to the committee’s request so they were removed. Trump sought to prevent the release of 46 pages under executive privilege. After the Supreme Court refused to hear the case Jan. 19, the National Archives transferred these pages and the other three batches of contested records to the committee Jan. 20.

Among the contested pages, 30 covered presidential diaries, schedules, appointment information showing visitors to the White House, activity logs, call logs and switchboard checklists showing calls to Trump and Vice President Mike Pence. Thirteen pages featured drafts of speeches, remarks and correspondence about events Jan. 6. And three pages were handwritten notes about events Jan. 6 from Meadows’ files.

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President Donald Trump walks May 8, 2020, with chief of staff Mark Meadows after returning to the White House from an event at the World War II memorial in Washington, D.C.

Handwritten notes about Jan. 6

The National Archives retrieved 742 pages in a second batch for the committee from files of Meadows, Miller, press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, and files from the White House executive clerk and Oval Office operations.

Trump asserted privilege over 656 pages. The bulk of the records – 629 pages – were pages from binders of talking points for McEnany and a “relatively small number” of statements and documents about allegations of voter fraud, election security and other topics about the 2020 election.

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Eleven pages covered presidential activity calendars and a handwritten note for Jan. 6. Ten pages were a draft of a speech for the Save America March. A two-page note from Meadows’ files listed potential or scheduled briefings and telephone calls about the Jan. 6 certification and other election issues. And four pages covered a draft executive order about election integrity.

In this image from video, White House deputy counsel Patrick Philbin answers a question during the impeachment trial against President Donald Trump in the Senate at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2020.

Documents alleging election irregularities

The third group of records totaled 146 pages from Philbin’s files. Trump sought to keep 68 pages confidential. One document was a 53-page draft proclamation honoring Capitol Police Officers Brian Sicknick and Howard Liebengood, who died in the days after the attack.

A four-page memo, which Laster said apparently originated outside the White House,  dealt with a potential lawsuit against several states Biden won in the election. A three-page email chain originated from a state official discussing election issues. Three pages were talking points about alleged election irregularities in one Michigan county. Three pages contained presidential findings about the security of the 2020 election. Two pages were notes indicating who received the other documents.

The agency was still reviewing a fourth batch of 551 pages when the lawsuit was pending, but which weren’t described in the filing.

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From left, Jan. 6 committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., and Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., finish a meeting on Dec. 1, 2021.

The House Jan. 6 panel won't get everything it requested

Dana Remus, Biden’s White House counsel, acknowledged in a letter Tuesday that archivist David Ferriero ruled some of the documents aren’t responsive to the committee’s request and so would be withheld. Remus said the committee also agreed to defer its request for some records so that others would be prioritized.

Ferriero then notified Trump by letter Wednesday that the prioritized records would be delivered to the committee within 15 days – “unless prohibited by court order.”

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Weeks of hearings are expected “in the coming months,” according to the committee’s vice chair, Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo.

More than 800 witnesses have cooperated with the committee, including a dozen White House officials, she said.

The House has cited four Trump aides for contempt: political strategist Steve Bannon, Meadows, trade adviser Peter Navarro and deputy chief of staff Dan Scavino. Bannon faces trial in July on criminal contempt charges and the Justice Department is considering whether to charge the other three.

The committee is also defending its subpoenas in more than 20 civil lawsuits filed by former Trump aides, political activists, election lawyers and the Republican National Committee. The lawsuits seek to keep confidential phone records and financial documents.

“Our committee will continue to litigate to obtain the records we need,” Cheney said.

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