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Jan. 6 committee set to receive a handful of Trump White House papers

Unless there’s an “intervening court order, the archivist intends to release records" Wednesday evening, a senior Department of Justice official said.
Image: The \"Save America\" march and rally at the Ellipse near the White House on Jan. 6.
The "Save America" march and rally at the Ellipse near the White House on Jan. 6.Mark Peterson / Redux file

WASHINGTON — The National Archives on Wednesday plans to hand over a small batch of documents from the Trump White House to the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian Boynton said in a court filing Tuesday night that unless there’s an “intervening court order, the archivist intends to release records" to the committee at 6 p.m. ET Wednesday.

The documents total four pages, and it’s unclear what information they contain.

The Biden administration notified former President Donald Trump last Friday that the archivist would release the documents on Wednesday, according to the filing in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Last month the White House directed the archivist to withhold the records for 30 days “to enable the former president to seek an injunction if he wished,” Boynton wrote.

“Because the former president has not obtained such an injunction from any court, the release will proceed as scheduled absent an intervening court order,” he continued.

Last month, Trump asked the Supreme Court to block the National Archives from turning over his White House records to the Jan. 6 committee, but the Supreme Court has not acted yet on that request. The Jan. 6 committee asked the high court to reject Trump’s request.

Pending Supreme Court action, the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals had ordered that three other batches of records over which Trump had claimed executive privilege not be released. Boynton noted that Trump’s attorney claimed on Tuesday that releasing these latest records would violate the order, but that the appeals court made clear last month that the stay only encompassed records from the first three tranches.

Trump was given an opportunity to seek a preliminary injunction in the appeals court on the fourth tranche of documents, but had only requested relief from the Supreme Court, Boynton said.

In a response letter Wednesday, Trump's lawyer Jesse Binnall wrote that the archives have misinterpreted the existing injunction, which he said does apply to documents in the fourth tranche. If the archives releases the documents, Trump will seek to have it held in contempt of court, Binnall said.

"The government has the burden backwards: President Trump is under no obligation to seek another injunction to prevent an act squarely prohibited by an injunction already granted him. Instead, it is the government’s obligation to seek relief if it wishes to release said documents," he said.