Biden White House waives executive privilege for initial set of Trump-era documents sought by Jan. 6 panel
The move comes as the Capitol attack committee indicates it’s “engaging with” two ex-aides to former President Donald Trump.
President Joe Biden will not invoke executive privilege to shield an initial set of records from Donald Trump’s White House that’s being sought by congressional investigators probing the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.
“After my consultations with the Office of Legal Counsel at the Department of Justice, President Biden has determined than 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,” wrote White House counsel Dana Remus in a letter to Archivist of the United States David Ferriero in a letter obtained by POLITICO.
Remus described the House Jan. 6 investigation as “unique and extraordinary,” justifying the decision to reject Trump’s request. However, Remus suggested that the effects of the decision might be limited, with future requests subjected to executive privilege protections — an outcome the White House cited last month when it said that material sought by Jan. 6 investigators would be vetted on a “case-by-case basis.”
The determination on the documents only applied to a set of records provided to the White House on Sept. 8, and Remus wrote: “We continue to review materials you provided to the White House after that date and will respond at an appropriate time.”
Biden’s decision triggers a window of at least 30 days for Trump to challenge the determination in court before the National Archives releases them to the Jan. 6 panel, experts have told POLITICO. It mirrors a similar decision made by Biden and his DOJ earlier this year to waive privilege and and allow former Trump DOJ officials to testify before congressional committees about the former president’s attempt to overturn the 2020 election.
In a Friday letter addressed to Ferriero obtained by POLITICO, Trump said the records sought by the committee would contain information shielded by “executive and other privileges, including but not limited to the presidential communications, deliberative process, and attorney-client privileges.”
Trump indicated that he wished to assert privilege over 45 specific documents identified by the National Archives as responsive to the committee’s request. Those documents, Trump said in the two-page letter, included protected “presidential communications,” as well as deliberative process materials and attorney-client privileged materials.
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