DC Judge Chutkan refuses to allow Trump attorneys to gain access to 'missing materials' they say were hidden by J6 Committee

"Defendant does not state with any specificity the information that he seeks in those records," Chutkan said.

Hannah Nightingale Washington DC

In a Monday court order, Judge Tanya Chutkan of the US District Court for the District of Columbia denied a motion from Donald Trump’s team to subpoena records they said were missing from the archived records of the January 6 Select Committee. These are records that were reportedly not turned over after the investigation was complete.

Trump’s team, in an October 11 filing, requested permission to issue subpoenas to the Archivist of the United States at the National Archives and Records Administration, the Clerk of the House of Representatives, the Committee on House Administration, Special Counsel to the President Richard Sauber, General Counsel of the Department of Homeland Security Johnathan Meyer, Representative Barry Loudermilk, and Representative Bennie Thompson.

"According to a letter from Representative Barry Loudermilk, Chair of the Subcommittee on Oversight, however, the Select Committee did not transfer or archive numerous records (collectively the 'Missing Records')," the October filing states.

The October filing cites video recordings of transcribed interviews and depositions that had been featured in the Select Committee’s hearings that were not archived or transferred to the Committee on House Administration.

In her Monday filing, Chutkan wrote that "The subpoenas would require federal government officials to produce records related to the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol."

The judge said that such pretrial subpoenas must clear three hurdles: relevancy, admissibility, and specificity. Chutkan said that Trump’s team has not met this, saying that "He has not sufficiently justified his requests for either the 'Missing Materials' themselves or the other five categories of documents related to them."

Chutkan said that the defense "likewise fails to meet his burden for the remaining five categories of records that he seeks," with these categories including records regarding methods on the archiving or destruction of Select Committee Missing Materials, communications with the Department of Justice or other law enforcement agencies related to the missing materials, and other documents or records pertaining to the missing materials.

"Defendant does not state with any specificity the information that he seeks in those records, repeating only that it is important and related to the events and people associated with the Select Committee’s work and therefore the January 6, 2021 attack."

Trump's team argued in their filing, "President Trump is fully entitled to seek the Missing Records by subpoena. It is also equally important to determine if these records have been lost, destroyed, or altered. The Requested Subpoenas are narrowly tailored to achieve these legitimate ends, which are fundamental to ensuring President Trump’s right to a fair trial under the Fifth and Sixth Amendments."

They said that at the end of its existence, the January 6 committee was said to have "loan[ed]" crucial documents to "the White House Special Counsel and the Department of Homeland Security." These documents included "important intelligence and other law enforcement information, records identifying witnesses, and other information the Select Committee deemed sensitive pursuant to agreements with the White House and DHS."

"In truth, this was no 'loan' and the Select Committee’s failure to archive the materials was intentional—Representative Thompson provided the materials to the White House and DHS on Friday, December 30, 2022, knowing full well the Select Committee would dissolve the very next business day."

The Biden administration did not return these documents prior to the end of the committee "as planned," the defense wrote, and as a result of this the January 6 committee "did not properly archive that material with the rest of its records."

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