The Biden administration has again refused to assert executive privilege for additional documents that former president Donald Trump wanted to block from the select committee investigating the 6 January insurrection at the Capitol.
White House Counsel Dana Remus told National Archivist David Ferriero in a letter obtained by CNN that President Joe Biden would not assert the privilege that his predecessor requested remain secret.
“President Biden has considered the former President's assertion, and I have engaged in consultations with the Office of Legal Counsel at the Department of Justice,” Ms Remus wrote.
Mr Trump filed a lawsuit against the select committee investigating 6 January last week, specifically faulting Mr Biden’s administration for failing to assert executive privilege on the former president’s behalf. Unless Mr Trump receives a court order, the National Archives is set to begin turning over documents to the committee on 12 November.
“President Biden has determined that an assertion of executive privilege is not in the best interests of the United States, and therefore is not justified, as to the documents provided to the White House on September 16, 2021, and September 23, 2021. Accordingly, President Biden does not uphold the former President's assertion of privilege,” the letter continued.
Ms Remus specifically referred to a former letter where she described the “extraordinary events” of the riot and told the National Archives to begin turning over documents within 30 days “absent any intervening court order”.
The letter comes after the White House previously declined to assert the first batch of documents requested by the 6 January Committee.
Last week, the House of Representatives voted to hold former White House adviser Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress after Mr Bannon refused to honour a subpoena to give evidence to the committee after Mr Trump’s counsel told him and other former Trump advisers that the information is protected by executive privilege.
This came despite the fact Mr Bannon did not work in the administration at the time and only the current president can invoke executive privilege.
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