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’s previous efforts to withhold his tax returns and other records from Congress was different because it involved his personal finances, Chutkan said. The current fight is over documents that “are thought to further Congress’ oversight into the events of Jan. 6,” she said.
The judge questioned some of the dozens of demands made by the committee for Trump communications and other records. She asked specifically about a request for polling data held by Trump campaign officials dating back to April 2020.
Douglas Letter, a lawyer for the House, argued that polls would provide insight into Trump's spreading of unfounded conspiracy theories about election fraud.
“He didn’t want to lose the election,” Chutkan said at one point. “Do you need polling data to determine that a president who’s up for reelection wants to win and may be worried that he’s not going to win?”
Biden has so far waived executive privilege on nearly all the documents that the committee has asked for, though the committee agreed to “defer” its requests for several dozen pages of records at the behest of the Biden White House.
In explaining why Biden has not shielded Trump’s records, White House counsel Dana Remus wrote that they could “shed light on events within the White House on and about January 6 and bear on the Select Committee’s need to understand the facts underlying the most serious attack on the operations of the Federal Government since the Civil War.”
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. Biden has said he would go through each request separately to determine whether that privilege should be waived.