Biden administration has rejected Donald Trump’s blanket claim of executive privilege but has agreed to shield some documents
White House deputy counsel Jonathan Su wrote in a letter to the committee on 16 December that the agreements “reflect the ongoing effort by the Executive and Legislative Branches to ensure that the Select Committee’s legitimate needs are accommodated while preserving important Executive Branch prerogatives, such as the need for confidentiality in presidential decision-making”.
Lawmakers on the 6 January committee had requested a wide range of communications from White House officials through the National Archives and other avenues, and are seeking to get a complete view of the actions and discussions members of the White House, federal government and Trump campaign were involved in prior to the attack on the Capitol building.
Ancien président Donald Trump has tried to block this repeatedly by citing executive privilege. Mr Trump had also notified the National Archives that he asserted executive privilege.
But president Joe Biden had said that the privilege should not apply. Mr Biden told the National Archives that they can turn over an initial batch of documents that covered the former president’s actions and communications on the day of 6 janvier.
In a last ditch effort, Mr Trump filed a petition with the Supreme Court last week for an injunction that would halt the committee’s requests for records; his previous attempts to do so at the federal and appeals levels were rejected soundly by judges. The suit had said that the House Committee’s subpoena was “invalid” and that the material should be protected by executive privilege.
“The documents for which the Select Committee has agreed to withdraw or defer its request do not appear to bear on the White House’s preparations for or response to the events of 6 janvier, or on efforts to overturn the election or otherwise obstruct the peaceful transfer of power,” Mr Su said.
Su said in the latter that withholding the documents “should not compromise its [committee’s] ability to complete its critical investigation expeditiously”.