The Biden administration has decided to block an attempt by former President Donald Trump to keep documents related to the Jan.6 attack on Capitol Hill secret.
In a letter to the National Archives from White House attorney Dana Remus viewed by HuffPost, the White House said that after assessing the information, it would allow disclosure of the Trump-era documentation to the special committee of the House investigating the deadly riots.
Trump indicated earlier this week that he plans to take legal action to block the committee’s subpoenas, citing executive privilege – the concept that presidents have the right to keep certain communications and information secret.
Biden’s decision in the White House could spark a battle over executive privilege between the two presidents in court.
“President Biden has determined that an assertion of executive privilege is not in the best interest of the United States and therefore is not justified in any of the documents,” Remus said.
“Constitutional protections of executive privilege,” she wrote, “should not be used to protect, from Congress or the public, information that reflects a clear and apparent effort to subvert the Constitution itself. “
“These are unique and extraordinary circumstances,” Remus added later, calling the January 6 riot “the most serious attack on federal government operations since the Civil War.”
The White House is not ruling out the possibility of it blocking other Trump-era presidential documents from reaching committee members, however. On the contrary, it will make these decisions as needed.
The House committee is looking for a wide range of communications and documents dating from the time of the attack on the Capitol. Some of the information he requested from the National Archives and certain federal agencies, and other information is requested from people who were working closely with Trump at the time.
Trump sent a letter to four of those people – former Trump adviser Steve Bannon, former chief of staff Mark Meadows, former Defense Department official Kash Patel and former head of social media at the White House Dan Scavino – ordering them not to comply with the committee’s requests. The four have been asked to provide documentation to the committee by Thursday and to appear before its members for questioning next week.
Of the four, only Meadows and Patel “engage” with the committee, he said in a statement Friday.
Bannon has explicitly stated his intention to defy the subpoena, arguing that he does not have the authority to comply with it given Trump’s assertion of executive privilege.
Committee chair Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) And vice-chair Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) Said they “would quickly consider proposing criminal contempt of referral to Congress.” for uncooperative witnesses.
SV Date contributed to the report.