Donald Trump Would Withhold Evidence about Whether Enrique Tarrio Really Did Visit the White House Last December

One of the most dramatic events of 9/11 came when Dick Cheney authorized the shootdown of United flight 93, and only afterwards contacted President Bush to confirm the order.

At some time between 10:10 and 10:15, a military aide told the Vice President and others that the aircraft was 80 miles out.Vice President Cheney was asked for authority to engage the aircraft.218 His reaction was described by Scooter Libby as quick and decisive, “in about the time it takes a batter to decide to swing.” The Vice President authorized fighter aircraft to engage the inbound plane. He told us he based this authorization on his earlier conversation with the President.The military aide returned a few minutes later, probably between 10:12 and 10:18, and said the aircraft was 60 miles out. He again asked for authorization to engage.TheVice President again said yes.219

At the conference room table was White House Deputy Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten. Bolten watched the exchanges and, after what he called “a quiet moment,”suggested that theVice President get in touch with the President and confirm the engage order. Bolten told us he wanted to make sure the President was told that the Vice President had executed the order. He said he had not heard any prior discussion on the subject with the President.220

The Vice President was logged calling the President at 10:18 for a two-minute conversation that obtained the confirmation. On Air Force One, the President’s press secretary was taking notes; Ari Fleischer recorded that at 10:20, the President told him that he had authorized a shootdown of aircraft if necessary.221

The revelation was an early warning about Cheney’s willingness to assume the power of the President. But identifying it also allowed the government to consider tweaking presidential authorities and improving communications for such moments of crisis.

We know this happened, as laid out in the 9/11 Report, based on Switchboard Logs that recorded Cheney’s call to Bush, the Presidential Daily Diary recounting the President’s and Vice President’s actions, and Press Secretary Ari Fleischer’s notes.

218.White House notes, Lynne Cheney notes, Sept. 11, 2001;White House notes, Lewis Libby notes, Sept. 11, 2001.

219. For Libby’s characterization, see White House transcript, Scooter Libby interview with Newsweek, Nov. 2001. For the Vice President’s statement, see President Bush and Vice President Cheney meeting (Apr. 29, 2004). For the second authorization, see White House notes, Lynne Cheney notes, Sept. 11, 2001;White House notes, Lewis Libby notes, Sept. 11, 2001.

220. Joshua Bolten meeting (Mar. 18, 2004); see also White House notes, Lewis Libby notes, Sept. 11, 2001 (“10:15–18:Aircraft 60 miles out,confirmed as hijack—engage?VP:Yes.JB [Joshua Bolten]:Get President and confirm engage order”).

221. For the Vice President’s call, see White House record, Secure Switchboard Log,Sept.11,2001; White House record, President’s Daily Diary, Sept. 11, 2001;White House notes, Lewis Libby notes, Sept. 11, 2001. Fleischer’s 10:20 note is the first mention of shootdown authority. See White House notes, Ari Fleischer notes, Sept.11,2001; see also Ari Fleischer interview (Apr. 22, 2004).

These are precisely the kinds of records that, according to a declaration from the White House Liaison with the National Archive, Donald Trump wants to withhold from the January 6 Select Committee, including from Committee Co-Chair Liz Cheney. The declaration was submitted in support of a filing opposing Trump’s effort to invoke privilege over such files. Politico first reported on the filing.

According to NARA’s Liaison John Laster, Trump is attempting to invoke privilege over precisely the analogous records from during the January 6 terrorist attack: presidential diaries, switchboard records, and Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany’s records.

32. First Notification: The First Notification includes 136 pages of records transferred to NARA from (i) the files of Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, (ii) the files of Senior Advisor to the President Stephen Miller, (iii) the files of Deputy Counsel to the President Patrick Philbin, (iv) the White House Daily Diary, which is a chronological record of the President’s movements, phone calls, trips, briefings, meetings, and activities, (v) the White House Office of Records Management, and (vi) the files of Brian de Guzman, Director of White House Information Services.

31. President Trump made particularized assertions of executive privilege over 46 of these 136 pages of records (including seven pages of records that, as noted above, had been removed as non-responsive). He asserted privilege over: (i) daily presidential diaries, schedules, appointment information showing visitors to the White House, activity logs, call logs, and switchboard shift-change checklists showing calls to the President and Vice President, all specifically for or encompassing January 6, 2021 (30 pages); (ii) drafts of speeches, remarks, and correspondence concerning the events of January 6, 2021 (13 pages); and (iii) three handwritten notes concerning the events of January 6 from Mr. Meadows’ files (3 pages).

32. Second Notification: The Second Notification includes 742 pages of records transferred to NARA from: (i) the files of Chief of Staff Mark Meadows; (ii) the White House Office of the Executive Clerk; (iii) files from the White House Oval Office Operations; (iv) the files of White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany; and (v) Senior Advisor to the President Stephen Miller.

33. President Trump made particularized assertions of executive privilege over 656 of these 742 pages of records. He asserted privilege over: (i) pages from multiple binders containing proposed talking points for the Press Secretary, interspersed with a relatively small number of related statements and documents, principally relating to allegations of voter fraud, election security, and other topics concerning the 2020 election (629 pages); (ii) presidential activity calendars and a related handwritten note for January 6, 2021, and for January 2021 generally, including January 6 (11 pages); (iii) draft text of a presidential speech for the January 6, 2021, Save America March (10 pages); (iv) a handwritten note from former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows’ files listing potential or scheduled briefings and telephone calls concerning the January 6 certification and other election issues (2 pages); and (v) a draft Executive Order on the topic of election integrity (4 pages).

34. Third Notification: The Third Notification includes 146 pages of records transferred to NARA from (i) the White House Office of the Executive Clerk and (ii) the files of Deputy White House Counsel Patrick Philbin.

35. President Trump made particularized assertions of executive privilege over 68 of these 146 pages of records. He asserted privilege over: (i) a draft proclamation honoring the Capitol Police and deceased officers Brian Sicknick and Howard Liebengood, and related emails from the files of the Office of the Executive Clerk (53 pages); and (ii) records from the files of Deputy White House Counsel Patrick Philbin, including a memorandum apparently originating outside the White House regarding a potential lawsuit by the United States against several states President Biden won (4 pages), an email chain originating from a state official regarding election-related issues (3 pages), talking points on alleged election irregularities in one Michigan county (3 pages), a document containing presidential findings concerning the security of the 2020 presidential election and ordering various actions (3 pages), and notes apparently indicating from whom some of the foregoing were sent (2 pages). [my emphasis]

While the (very good) DOJ filing describes that Trump is withholding documents that prior Presidents had shared, it doesn’t provide examples of the how useful this information had been in understanding past terrorist attacks.

And these documents aren’t even the potentially most damning documents, either.

Because the committee request asks for communications referring to the Proud Boys’ and election results and includes Enrique Tarrio on a list of enumerated individuals covered by the request, the response from NARA might reveal whether the Proud Boys’ leader was telling the truth when he claimed to visit the White House on December 12, or whether the White House truthfully reported that he had simply joined a tour of the building.

All documents and communications referring or relating to QAnon, the Proud Boys, Stop the Steal, Oath Keepers, or Three Percenters concerning the 2020 election results, or the counting of the electoral college vote on January 6, 2021.

From April 1, 2020, through January 20, 2021, all documents and communications concerning the 2020 election and relating to the following individuals:


Enrique Tarrio,

[h/t miladysmama for this observation]

The attempt to withhold basic White House documents about who showed up when is not, just, an obvious attempt by Donald Trump to cover up his own crimes. It’s not just an attempt to hide how, in contrast to Dick Cheney, he did nothing as the nation’s capital was attacked.

It’s also an attempt to hide whether Trump invited the terrorists inside the White House to plot the event.


34 replies
  1. Rayne says:

    Wonder what communications went on inside/through the White House on January 4th? Seems like somebody knew Tarrio was on his way.

    Police stopped a vehicle Tarrio had been in shortly after it entered the District, said Dustin Sternbeck, a D.C. police spokesman. He said it is believed that Tarrio, who lives in Miami, was coming into the District from the airport.

    (source: WaPo, “Proud Boys leader arrested in the burning of church’s Black Lives Matter banner, D.C. police say” January 4, 2021)

    • emptywheel says:

      Tarrio is one of the people the FBI may have warned. And Joe Biggs told him he’d be arrested. Plus he flew, making it easier to know precisely when he’d arrive, which is what happened.

  2. P J Evans says:

    The former guy certainly is afraid that people will find out who he talked at. (also, he still doesn’t have a clue about being President.)

  3. Rugger9 says:

    All the more reason for the National Archives to release the records now that the Biden Administration has asked for the release to the Select Committee. The current Archivist was placed in that position in November 2009, so it is doubtful he is a Trumpie or a burrowed Bushie. I do not know how the decision structure is set up.

    However, it would appear to me that a valid request / subpoena was issued for the information, and that the current administration has declined to oppose that request / subpoena. According to the rules of the archives as reported, Individual-1 doesn’t have any authority over the records since they belong to the nation, not to him or his minions. However, DJT is desperate to carve out a special case just for himself most likely because he’s got markers all over the place that will doubtless be discussed in committee if not the press at large. He doth protest too much as Shakespeare might say, and the bleating of the lamb excites the tiger.

    If the records are released then DJT will have a heck of a time getting them back from the committee, shades of (IIRC) Ellis at the intelligence community job…

    I do see the annoying popups about invoking the 14th Amendment prohibition on insurrectionists holding office in the USA, but would the Select Committee have the power to formally determine that point and make it stick?

    • BobCon says:

      The linked article says “Ferriero has indicated he intends to turn over a first tranche of documents by Nov. 12 unless a court orders otherwise” and the hearing before Judge Chutkan is Thursday.

      I would hope this is an open and shut case, but I’ve given up expecting the right wingers on the Supreme Court will take a hands off approach. I’m sure Ginni Thomas is fielding calls from Trump’s side demanding that they block it.

      • Rugger9 says:

        Well, I’d just turn them over now given a valid demand from the Select Committee.

        This stinks like the BS about “potential invocation of executive privilege” dodges by DJT’s minions in front of other committees. No need to give the concept any legal traction especially considering that the GQP would not reciprocate if the shoe was on the other foot.

      • RWood says:

        “Ferriero has indicated he intends to turn over a first tranche of documents by Nov. 12 unless a court orders otherwise”

        Why the wait? There appears to be nothing stopping him from doing so. This is that lack of boldness I keep pointing out. It’s as if everything has to be assigned the proper worry/hand-wringing period before action can be taken, and even then it has to be presented properly so the optics are good.

        • Troutwaxer says:

          Agreed. The position of both the House and the Administration should be that:

          1.) Congress’s ability to conduct investigations is in the Constitution, therefore the request for records is constitutional.

          2.) The current Administration is the only entity capable of making an executive privilege claim.

          3.) There is no such thing as an ex-executive privilege claim, and anyone who says otherwise is a grifting ninny who’s desperately trying to evade the judgement of history.

          4.) What happened on January 6th was a criminal act, already under investigation by the DOJ, so all paperwork will be delivered ASAP to the House in case they’d like to refer charges to the DOJ.

          5.) We’d like to keep our democracy… you know… democratic.

          Therefore we’re turning over the records and the courts can stay out of it. Then for later record-releases claim the precedent has already been set.

          • JamesJoyce says:

            “1.) Congress’s ability to conduct investigations is in the Constitution, therefore the request for records is constitutional.“

            Yes, especially concerning insurrection?

            Henry Ford Sinclair’s circumstance is no different from Trump’s circumstance.

            Trump’s mistaken view of the law is no excuse.

            It is intentional..

        • Leoghann says:

          Why the wait? What wait? This isn’t like the times Trump drug his feet, complaining all the while, as the statute of limitations ran out on potential charges that depended on withheld records. We’re talking about around a thousand pages, from various people’s records, that have to be investigated, sorted out, and vetted, most likely by several people. Once the individual records have been pulled, vetted, and approved, there are copying requirements. This is the federal bureaucracy, which copies everything, not Tucker Carlson, who claimed written proof of some of his outrageous claims was lost in the mail. A 2-3 week turnaround isn’t reasonably called a delay.

  4. PhoneInducedPinkEye says:

    It seems like the WH should release the docs before the supremes get a chance to consider their usual position of “drag the case out until there’s a new Congress”. If there’s no injunction why wait for one?

    • P J Evans says:

      Actually, the docs are with NARA, the National Archives and Records. (They’re known to me because census and other government docs like passport applications.)

      • PhoneInducedPinkEye says:

        It is part of the executive branch though. If it looks like Trump will be able to drag the case out with the assistance of FedSoc judges, we might come to regret him not ordering them released.

        • Leoghann says:

          Trump is not part of the executive branch. Currently, he has no government role whatsoever, except as a client of the Secret Service.

          • Once Written Twice Shy says:

            Pretty sure “him” here refers to NARA’s Ferriero, who presumably could act now (rather than “by Nov. 12th”), lest the courts concoct a Trumpy excuse to drag this out indefinitely.

  5. Fran of the North says:

    The concept of ‘not memorializing crime-ing’ is the elephant in the room. In the Cheney example, Ari Fleischer records the Bush side of the conversation. Anybody here begin to believe that Kayleigh was recording any of this? Stephen Miller???

    Strains credulity. What if nobody takes ANY notes next time??

    Seems like we need the Nixon recording apparatus modernized for the 21st Century and storing everything to NARA files (or some other repository). You probably have to have some classification system to keep most of it confidential until there was some justifiable purpose.

    I’ll slink back to my troglodytic cave now.

    • J R in WV says:

      Trump is attempting to invoke privilege over precisely the analogous records from during the January 6 terrorist attack: presidential diaries, switchboard records, and Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany’s records.

      Kayleigh McEnany kept records? Her staff kept records? I’m not believing either of these assertions, and if her staff kept records, I’m not believing those records bear any correspondence with reality as it happened at the time.


      I also believe all the requested records from the Archives should be delivered to the House Select Committee AND released to the public and interested media instantly, as in already, yesterday~!!~ Not already doing so makes the Archivist guilty of the cover-up as of now!

      • bmaz says:

        No, the last bit is wrong, a formal objection has been lodged, the Archivist is not covering up anything.

  6. mossyrock says:

    I am not surprised that the trump tooters continue to say the terrorists were just tourists, they will never admit what they did until they do destroy the US and then it will all be part of the legend of trump.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Sets the context well:

        For half a century, Newsweek was owned by the Washington Post and was a well-respected voice in American journalism. In 2010, the Post sold Newsweek to 91-year-old businessman Sidney Harman; Harman bought it for $1 and assumption of its liabilities. Ownership turned over a few more times, from Harman to Barry Diller. Diller regretted his purchase and sold Newsweek in 2014 to a group called International Business Times Media. IBTM changed its name to Newsweek Media Group. Its owners were tied to a small Christian college (Olivet University) led by a charismatic Korean pastor, David Jang. Jang also was founder of a cult called “The Community,” according to this report in Mother Jones.

  7. may says:

    re: Sunstein?


    i am not American.
    and trying to understand in my limited way what the hell is going on.

    for the Baldwin comment,

    “whut?” was adequate.
    it was very kind of you to take the time for the second reply.

  8. Tom says:

    Hard to believe there was a time not that long ago when “I’d like you to do us a favor, though” was the depth of Trump’s turpitude. Now it’s “Come along and join me at my Happy Fizzies Coup Party!”

  9. Vinnie Gambone says:

    Hard to imagine Trump’s orbit and his offices being concious that their every moment , call,etc is recorded. Every gizmo they touch goes through a Govemrnt owned server. Peek a boo.

    Cheney Al Haiging Bush – ordering a shootdown- is a revelation. Afterwards were there any tweaks to communications? Recording protocols? Filing? My favoirite is the Change of Shift Call Log. I think automatically of Lilly Tomlin at the switchboard. What that log tells me is there are people in the building very keen about doing one thing -their job, and not everyone who works in the building is on the president’s team .

    Every time Trump world gets to display recalitrance they take it as a badge of honor a free commercial to the base. The whole gang. Manafort. Bannon. Stone. Always the middle finger. Expect more of it.
    And nothing else.

  10. harpie says:
    9:03 AM · Nov 3, 2021

    New: The Trump campaign payments for ‘command centers’ at the Willard & the Mandarin could undermine exe privilege claim in 1/6 investigation. Our dive into the battle over footing the bill for Giuliani, Kerik & co., w/ @jdawsey1, @emmersbrown @thamburger [LINK]

    Ultimately, the campaign — with Trump’s approval — cut checks for what would eventually be more than $225,000 in payments to firms owned by Kerik & Giuliani, including more than $50,000 for rooms and suites at the Willard hotel [WaPo link]

    On Twitter, Marcy notes a quote from John YOO:
    “If he acts as a president, he gets these things we talk about — executive privilege and immunity. But if he’s acting as a candidate, he’s deprived of all of those protections,” said [John] Yoo.

    [The ENTIRE TRUMP presidency was ONE HUGE ACT of a CANDIDATE]

    • P J Evans says:

      Most people don’t realize he filed papers for his reelection finance committee a minute after he was sworn in.

      • harpie says:

        Yes. And he wielded the awesome power of the Presidency ENTIRELY for his own re-election.
        “I’d like you to do us a favor, though”-TRUMP to Ukrainian President Zelensky [That conversation was for his CAMPAIGN, so not a Presidential act.]

    • harpie says:

      Dates from the WaPo WILLARD WARROOM article:

      11/5/20 KERIK and GIULIANI set up Joint Operation at the MANDARIN ORIENTAL
      12/18/20 – 1/8/21 KERIK and GIULIANI run Joint Operation from the WILLARD
      1/2/21 TRUMP, GIULIANI, EASTMAN hold CONFERENCE CALL with 300 state legislators, give them evidence of alleged voter fraud and convince them to “decertify” the election results in their states. TRUMP [on call]: “You are the real power.” […] “You’re the ones that are going to make the decision.”
      1/2/21 EASTMAN, GIULIANI and [Senior CAMPAIGN aide AND former White House special assistant Boris] EPSHTEYN appear on BANNON’s podcast, where they discuss what BANNON calls that day’s “all-hands meeting with state . . . legislators that the TRUMP CAMPAIGN and also OTHERS are putting on.”
      1/3/21 EASTMAN begins stay at WILLARD [until 1/8/21]
      1/5/21 TRUMP calls GIULIANI and then BANNON, who are both at the WILLARD. TRUMP tells BANNON that he had talked with PENCE earlier in the day and complains that PENCE had been “very arrogant”.
      1/5/21 Dozens of lawmakers from ARIZONA, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin write to PENCE, asking [as TRUMP, GIULIANI and EASTMAN had suggested on the 1/2/21 conference call] that he delay certification of Biden’s victory for 10 days to allow “our respective bodies to meet, investigate, and as a body vote on certification or decertification of the election.”

      2:30 PM Senior CAMPAIGN aide AND former White House special assistant Boris EPSHTEYN tweets [from the WILLARD?]: “To all those protesting, please stay PEACEFUL and respect the LAW.”
      3:30 PM Kelli WARD, chair of the ARIZONA GOP, tweets: “Congress is adjourned. Send the elector choice back to the legislatures.”

      1/8/21 EASTMAN ends stay at WILLARD [begun on 1/3/21]
      1/8/21 KERIK bills TRUMP campaign for $66,371.54 in travel expenses, including $55,295 on rooms for legal team members at the WILLARD
      1/19/21 KERIK and GIULIANI’s Joint Operation, begun on 11/5/20, continues “until January 19.”

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