Trump attempted to claim ‘executive privilege to prevent release of White House documents during deadly Capitol riot.
President Joe Biden has declined a request by his predecessor Donald Trump to prevent White House records of the deadly January 6 insurrection at the United States Capitol from being turned over to congressional investigators.
Trump gave a fiery speech that day in Washington, DC to thousands of his supporters. He urged them march on the Capitol, where US legislators were gathered to confirm Biden’s victory. He was later impeached for “incitement of insurrection” after a mob stormed the building.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki stated Friday that Trump would not be allowed to claim “executive privilege” in order to block the request by the House committee investigating the riot at Trump White House documents.
” The president is determined to ensure that something like this never happens again. This is why the administration is cooperating in ongoing investigations, including those of the January 6 Select Committee to bring to light the facts,” Psaki said to reporters during an afternoon briefing.
“The president determined that executive privilege was not appropriate for the first set documents from Trump White House, which were provided by the National Archives .”
Lawyers of Trump sought to stop Congress from obtaining these records by claiming “executive privelege”, a controversial legal argument that former presidents tried to use to protect confidential, internal discussions.
NBC News reported first that Biden declined to assert executive privilege for Trump, with White House Counsel Dana Remus telling National Archives in a letter, “an assertion of executive privilege [is not in the best interests of the United States]”.
“Congress examines an attack on our Constitution and democratic institution provoked and fanned to them by those sworn in their protection, and the conduct under investigation goes far beyond typical deliberations regarding the discharge of President’s constitutional duties,” said the letter.
The House Select Committee investigating the insurrection is made up of seven Democrats as well as two Republicans. It has also subpoenaed former Trump aides and organisers of his January 6 rally.
It has demanded interviews and documents from former Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and communications deputy Dan Scavino.
The committee has also subpoenaed Trump’s former top political adviser Steve Bannon and Kash Patel, who was appointed by Trump to be chief of staff to the acting secretary of defence after the November 2020 election.
Bannon’s lawyer informed the committee by a October 7 letter that he would not cooperate with the investigation unless ordered to by a court. This was because Trump is asserting executive confidentiality, according to The Associated Press news agency.
Trump had made a statement calling the committee “partisan”, and disparaging its two Republican members. He also claimed that the “real insurrection” occurred on November 3, the day after the US presidential election.
Trump has repeatedly claimed without any evidence that the vote was marred by widespread fraud and “stolen” from him.
Committee leadership issued a statement Friday in which they indicated that Meadows and Patel have so far cooperated with the committee’s requests. They also signalled that they would swiftly take action through the Department of Justice, to force Bannon to cooperate.
” We will not allow any witness defy a subpoena, or attempt to run out of time, and we will quickly consider advancing a criminal contempt-of-congress referral,” they stated.
Al Jazeera and news agencies