Politics

What the Trump Documents Might Tell the Jan. 6 Committee

It is not clear precisely what this material covers.

Officer Sicknick died shortly after being attacked on Jan. 6 — though not directly from injuries he sustained that day — and Officer Liebengood was one of four officers who committed suicide after the attack. Their deaths led to an outpouring of public support for the officers. But Mr. Trump has said little about the matter, and has focused his public remarks on praising the rioters and Ashli Babbitt, a woman who was fatally shot by a police officer after she breached the Capitol doors. The draft proclamation could show how the document was altered before it was released, and what those changes say about the debate inside the White House.

A senior Justice Department lawyer under George W. Bush, Mr. Philbin became a top White House lawyer under Mr. Trump, helping him come up with legal rationales to defend his behavior. In the final weeks of the administration — in his role as a deputy in the White House Counsel’s Office — he was supposed to vet decisions Mr. Trump was considering. Among the materials being sought from his files are:

Mr. Trump’s lawyers and Republicans across the country filed a flurry of lawsuits in the weeks after the election. Nearly all of them failed. But one of the most notable — and far-fetched — was filed in mid-December when Mr. Trump’s supporters in the Texas attorney general’s office asked the Supreme Court to disqualify the votes in four battleground states: Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. The gambit quickly failed.

It is not clear which state official this might be or whether the email chain pertains to the Texas suit or an election in another state.

Mr. Trump’s allies sought to discredit the results in Antrim County in Michigan, where a human error by the Republican county clerk led to an initial tally favoring Mr. Biden in the heavily Republican county. The clerk, Sheryl Guy, had not properly updated the software in the county’s tabulation system, resulting in a temporarily erroneous total. The error was quickly corrected, and the results were later affirmed by a hand recount in mid-December. Trump allies nonetheless seized on these initial discrepancies and won a court order to examine a voting machine in Antrim County produced by Dominion Voting Systems. An analysis of the machine and its software — by a cybersecurity firm allied with Ms. Powell, the lawyer backing Mr. Trump — led to the creation of an error-filled report that claimed an almost 70 percent error rate in the tally. This report was one of the first things cited in a draft executive order seeking to have the Pentagon help seize voting machines around the country.

Under a plan being pushed by Mr. Flynn and Ms. Powell, Mr. Trump would declare that there was foreign influence in the election, allowing him to use the powers of the Defense Department to seize voting machines and have the votes recounted. To make such a baseless claim, Mr. Trump may have sought to cite some sort of findings about the election’s security.

Allies of Mr. Flynn, including Mr. Waldron and Ms. Powell, have said that a crucial part of the effort hinged on a report that the director of national intelligence, John Ratcliffe, was scheduled to submit to Congress on Dec. 18 about foreign influence in the election. Mr. Ratcliffe never turned in his report because of a disagreement in the intelligence community about China’s role in the election, according to several news reports. The Flynn-Powell plan went nowhere. The committee also received two pages of notes indicating who received the so-called presidential findings.

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