Biden won’t invoke executive privilege on Trump papers

Published October 9, 2021
WASHINGTON: President Joe Biden shakes hands with White House national climate adviser Gina McCarthy as Brenda Mallory, chair of the council on environmental quality, and Interior Secretary Deb Haaland watch, during an event on Friday. — AP
WASHINGTON: President Joe Biden shakes hands with White House national climate adviser Gina McCarthy as Brenda Mallory, chair of the council on environmental quality, and Interior Secretary Deb Haaland watch, during an event on Friday. — AP

WASHINGTON: President Joe Biden is not asserting executive privilege over a tranche of documents sought by a House committee’s investigation into the Jan 6 insurrection at the Capitol, setting up a showdown with former President Donald Trump, who has pledged to try to block records from his time in the White House from being turned over to investigators.

In a letter to the Archivist of the United States, White House counsel Dana Remus writes that Biden has determined that invoking executive privilege is not in the best interests of the United States. The Associated Press obtained a copy of the letter Friday, which was first reported by NBC News.

In August, the House committee investigating the January insurrection at the US Capitol asked for a trove of records, including communication within the White House under Trump and information about planning and funding for rallies held in Washington. Among those events was a rally near the White House featuring remarks by Trump, who egged on a crowd of thousands before loyalists stormed the Capitol.

In the letter, Remus writes that the documents reviewed shed light on events within the White House on and about January 6 and bear on the Select Committees need to understand the facts underlying the most serious attack on the operations of the Federal Government since the Civil War.

Copies of the documents responsive to the request were turned over to the Biden White House and Trump’s lawyers for review for potential executive privilege concerns in accordance with federal law and the executive order governing presidential records.

The incumbent president has the final say unless a court orders the Archives to take a different action. Trump has not formally sought to invoke executive privilege over the documents, though that action is expected soon.

Officials also expect him to try to take legal action to block the release of the documents.

Published in Dawn, October 9th, 2021

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