IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Judge denies Trump's 'fishing expedition' to subpoena Jan. 6 committee records

In one of the cases brought by special counsel Jack Smith, Trump's team had wanted to get its hands on what it described as "missing" records from the House Jan. 6 committee.
The House Select Committee investigating the January 6th attack on the Capitol during a hearing on July 12, 2022.
The House Jan. 6 committee at a hearing on July 12, 2022.Frank Thorp V / NBC News

WASHINGTON — The federal judge overseeing Donald Trump's upcoming election interference trial said in a ruling Monday that the former president's attempt to subpoena what his legal team dubbed "missing" records from the House Jan. 6 committee appeared to be a "fishing expedition" that was not in good faith.

Last month, Trump's team said it wanted to subpoena the U.S. archivist, the clerk of the House of Representatives, the Committee on House Administration, Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Ga., and Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., among others, saying there was a "significant overlap between the Select Committee’s investigation and this case" and a strong likelihood that some of the materials would discuss trial witnesses.

U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, who will oversee Trump's trial, which is set to get underway in March, said in a ruling Monday that she would not require federal officials to produce records related to the Jan. 6 committee's work.

"The broad scope of the records that Defendant seeks, and his vague description of their potential relevance, resemble less 'a good faith effort to obtain identified evidence' than they do 'a general ‘fishing expedition,'" she wrote.

Before the Jan. 6 committee was dissolved in January, Thompson, who was its chairman, turned over a slew of the panel's records to the U.S. archives and posted thousands of pages online, including transcripts of testimony of people who spoke to the committee.

Loudermilk, a Republican on the House Administration Committee, wrote in an earlier letter that only written transcripts were transferred after the Jan. 6 committee dissolved and that “video recordings of transcribed interviews and depositions, which featured prominently during the Select Committee’s hearings, were not archived or transferred.”

The federal election interference trial is one of four criminal cases brought against Trump and one of two brought by the special counsel, Jack Smith. The case is likely to be the first to go to trial, with jury selection scheduled to begin March 4. In addition to Trump, about 1,200 people have been charged in connection with the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, with hundreds more cases in the works.

A grand jury accused Trump in an indictment returned in August of conspiring "to overturn the legitimate results of the 2020 presidential election by using knowingly false claims of election fraud to obstruct the government function by which those results are collected, counted and certified."