Trump’s Jan 6 committee ‘fishing expedition’ denied by DC judge

The federal judge overseeing Donald Trump’s election interference case has rejected what she likened to a bad-faith “fishing expedition” for documents from the congressional committee that investigated the events surrounding the January 6 attack on the US Capitol.

US District Judge Tanya Chutkan shot down the attempt from the former president’s legal team to obtain what it labelled “missing” records from the committee, which had turned over reams of documents to federal archivists and publicly shared thousands of pages of transcripts from hearings and interviews as part of its mammoth report.

“The broad scope of the records that [Mr Trump] 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,’” the judge wrote in a filing on Monday.

Last month, Mr Trump’s attorneys requested subpoenas for several executive and congressional offices, including House lawmakers and the US archivist, to review what they called an “overlap” in evidence and testimony from the committee’s investigation and the federal criminal probe into Mr Trump’s attempts to overturn 2020 presidential election results.

Mr Trump “seeks to retrieve certain missing records and uncover information about their disposition,” according to their request.

Democratic US Rep Bennie Thompson, who chaired the committee, said that all permanent records of the committee were archived according to House Rules. Interviews and depositions were transcribed by “nonpartisan, professional official reporters” and were reviewed for errors by both the witnesses and committee staff, he wrote.

A trial stemming from a grand jury indictment and investigation under US Department of Justice special counsel Jack Smith is expected to begin in March 2024, as Mr Trump navigates four criminal indictments and several lawsuits as he seeks the Republican nomination for president in his run for the White House.

An indictment with federal charges in the election interference case alleges three criminal conspiracies and a multi-state scheme to undermine the democratic process and obstruct Joe Biden’s victory.

Mr Trump is separately charged in a state case in Georgia along with more than a dozen co-defendants as part of a Fulton County investigation and grand jury indictment outlining an alleged “criminal enterprise” to subvert the state’s election results.

That trial is expected to begin in August 2024.