January 6 commission could seize Trump call logs

Biden administration will ultimately decide whether to release White House call logs from 6 January

Bevan Hurley
New York
Tuesday 10 August 2021 16:05
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A select committee investigating the 6 January riots is weighing up whether to seek White House call logs from the day of the insurrection.

The records could confirm who former President Donald Trump was talking to during the riots, as thousands of his supporters laid siege to the US Capitol.

CNN reported the request from the January 6 commission will make for a “potentially thorny dilemma” for President Joe Biden.

His administration will have to consider whether the phone logs are covered by executive privilege, or would provide essential evidence for the committee.

A source told CNN the commission was “actively considering” pursuing the phone records, but has not yet raised the request with the Biden administration during preliminary discussions.

During his time in office, Mr Trump asserted executive privilege to attempt to immunise his aides from testifying or handing over information to Congressional committees.

He also tried to assert executive privilege to block the release of the full Mueller Report.

He can request that the 6 January phone logs should be covered by executive privilege, but that decision will ultimately fall on Mr Biden.

If informal discussions to release the logs between the commission and the White House don’t lead to their release, they could then issue subpoenas, or pursue them through the courts.

Committee member and Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney has vowed to seek “every piece of information that matters”.

The National Archives has told CNN it has possession of the presidential records, including phone logs, from Mr Trump’s time in office.

The select committee has modelled itself on the 9/11 Commission and has subpoena power to compel witnesses to appear under oath and seek official records.

Last month, police officers injured in the riots described Mr Trump as a “hitman” who had sent rioters to the Capitol to overturn the election.

More details of Mr Trump’s attempts to overturn the 2020 election results continue to emerge.

On Saturday, former acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen spoke to the Senate Judiciary Committee for six hours about his former deputy’s attempts to convince top officials to release statements claiming that investigations of voter fraud cast doubt on the veracity of the 2020 election results.

Mr Rosen described multiple instances in which Jeffrey Clark, former head of the DOJ’s civil division, pressed colleagues such as himself to make statements they believed to be false concerning the 2020 election, a source familiar with the discussions told the New York Times.

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