Last week a judge ruled that government must turn over all copies of the secret Jan. 6 Trump transition team document dump after a two-day battle to preserve them. That ruling may be a problem for the White House in its tussle with Special Counsel Robert Mueller, in which President Trump has sought to suppress news of pending probes into his campaign’s possible collusion with Russia during the 2016 presidential election.
On Monday, the White House published a summary of the Jan. 6 Trump team document dump, but did not agree to make that material available to Mueller’s team. In court, the White House argued that releasing the document dump could help build “publicity, public opinion and an agenda for 2020” because it could encourage his supporters to look at the document dump and determine whether it was altered or censored.
Judge Bruce Selya of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has ordered the White House to cooperate with Mueller.
“The content of the documents is a matter of utmost significance to the special counsel’s ongoing investigation,” Selya ruled last week. “The preservation of such materials — which relate to a broad range of subjects including whether there was any collusion between Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia — for preservation by President Trump’s subordinates is without question necessary to the thorough and timely handling of all investigative materials.”
The White House did say that a backup copy of the document dump was housed at the Joint Staff Headquarters in the Pentagon. The documents were revealed in a Washington Post story in March in which a senior official familiar with the documents told The Post, “There’s nothing terribly secret, as far as we know.”