Former FBI director dismisses Trump claims he’s protected from January 6 probe: ‘We have laws in this country’

House panel has issued sweeping requests to multiple government departments and agencies as it probes events leading up to Capitol insurrection

Andrew Naughtie
Thursday 26 August 2021 18:39
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Expert says Trump can't invoke executive privilege against 6 January committee

A former FBI director has knocked back Trump’s claims that ‘executive privilege’ will protect him from the investigation by the Capitol riot committee.

Speaking on CNN, former FBI deputy director Andy McCabe said that the scale of the committee’s request meant that any attempt to block it by citing executive privilege would be a tall order.

“Every agency, every entity, the National Archives are not going to be able to wholesale deny the requests simply because the president may be mounting some sort of a legal challenge. You know, the National Archives – we have laws and regulations in this country that require the National Archives to preserve these sorts of records for exactly this purpose. So, we may end up litigating around the edges, particularly around some of the specific White House information, but there’s a lot of that the other agencies have to offer here, and I think... we’ll probably have more success getting information from DHS, from the FBI and from DOJ.”

His comments came as Donald Trump raged against the 6 January Select Committee’s request that federal agencies hand over the phone records of members of his family and other close associates from the days leading up to the Capitol Insurrection.

Among those targeted by the requests are the former president himself; Mike Pence; Mr Trump’s former personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani; and family members including his wife, Melania, his daughter, Ivanka, and his sons, Eric and Donald Jr.

In an angry statement issued via his “Save America” fundraising organisation, the sometime president raged at “The Leftist ‘select committee’,” which he claimed “has further exposed itself as a partisan sham and waste of taxpayer dollars with a request that’s timed to distract Americans from historic and global catastrophes brought on by the failures of Joe Biden and the Democrats.

“Unfortunately, this partisan exercise is being performed at the expense of long-standing legal principles of privilege. Executive privilege will be defended, not just on behalf of my Administration and the Patriots who worked beside me, but on behalf of the Office of the President of the United States and the future of our Nation. These Democrats only have one tired trick – political theater – and their latest request only reinforces that pathetic reality.”

Along with the phone records, the committee has requested all White House call logs from 6 January. Accounts differ as to exactly what Mr Trump did and said while the Capitol riot was underway, and particularly pivotal to the investigation are calls he may have made to or received from particular members of Congress.

Also at issue are the White House’s communications with law enforcement and the Department of Defence, as the committee is also focused on the slowness to deploy reinforcements to help overwhelmed police secure the Capitol.

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