Joe Biden has rejected executive privilege for former President Donald Trump’s White House records which a congressional panel investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol attack requested.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Friday that Biden has decided that “executive privilege is not warranted,” for this first set of documents.
“It was, in many respects, a unique attack on the foundations of our democracy,” Psaki said, referring to the Jan. 6 insurrection, which delayed the counting of electoral votes at the Capitol showing that Biden won the election. “The president is dedicated to ensuring that something like that could never happen again, which is why the administration is cooperating with ongoing investigations, including the January 6 Select Committee to bring light to what happened.”
The decision applies only to documents provided to the White House on Sept. 8, Politico reported.
Trump has at least 30 days to challenge the decision in court before the National Archives releases them to the Jan. 6 committee, experts told Politico.
Psaki reiterated that such assertions of privilege will be examined on a “case-by-case basis.”
The Jan. 6 committee’s request from August to the National Archives seeks “all documents and communications within the White House on January 6, 2021,” related to the rally, the march to the Capitol, violence at the Capitol, counting of electoral votes, Trump, some of his allies, family and friends, along with some other members of the Trump administration.
Trump’s attorneys have argued in response that documents related to a sitting president should be shielded from public oversight, CBS News reported.
But White House counsel Dana Remus wrote in a letter to Archivist of the United States David Ferriero obtained by CBS News and Politico, that the Jan. 6 investigation was “unique and extraordinary,” justifying the decision to reject the assertion of executive privilege.
“President Biden has determined that an assertion of executive privilege is not in the best interests of the United States, and therefore is not justified as to any of the documents,” Remus added in the letter.
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