The White House on Friday formally denied the attempt of ex-President Donald Trump to withhold documents from Congress in connection with the Jan. 6 , attack at the Capitol and triggering an upcoming legal battle between the presidents of the present and the former president on executive privilege.
In a letter addressed to the National Archives obtained by NBC News, White House Counsel Dana Remus rejected Trump’s attorneys in their attempt to withhold information that were requested by House Select Committee regarding the former president’s activities in January. 6 in a letter to the National Archives, stating in the letter that “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 any of the documents.”
“These are unique and extraordinary circumstances,” Remus said. “Congress is investigating an attack against the Constitution and our democratic structures that has been sparked and amplified by those who are that are supposed to protect them, and the conduct being investigated is far more extensive than normal debates about the proper performance by the president of his constitutional duties. The constitutional safeguards of executive privilege must not be used to protect away from Congress or the general public information that indicates an obvious and evident attempt to undermine the Constitution in its entirety.”
White House press secretary Jen Psaki has telegraphed the decision two weeks ago, stating that the president Joe Biden had already determined that it would not have been appropriate to invoke executive privilege in relation to the Jan. Six requests. However, White House officials added that they have not yet done the same in relation to requests made by the Select Committee, and would take any decisions on an individual basis.
The White House now is authorizing the National Archives to turn over the first batch of documents falling within a broad classification that the committee at the start of this year. The documents cover the actions and messages of President Trump during the morning of Jan. 6, which included his speech on The Ellipse on White House grounds, as well as his later meetings and conversations during the entire day.
This request requested all information that was available from Twitter messages, phone calls and visitor logs, as well as any images and videos of any events that he was a part of. The request also sought documents and other communications pertaining to Mike Pence’s security and movements as well as other documents related to the protest in The Ellipse and the subsequent violent riots at the Capitol and planning for the ceremonial count of electoral votes in an open Congress. Congress.
According to an insider with knowledge of the situation according to a source familiar with the matter, The National Archives immediately began scouring archives that are in its possession to locate items that could be relevant to the committee’s request that was made in August. The National Archives has been releasing relevant documents to Trump’s legal counsel and to Biden’s White House Biden White House on a regularly since. The particular set of documents was first made available to both sides on Sept. 8.
The White House official could not identify the specific documents included in the set aside from saying they’ll provide insight into certain events in the White House on Jan. 6. The White House said that Trump’s officials concluded that executive privilege must be granted to certain however not all the documents. However, Biden has concluded that privilege is not applicable to any of the documents.
Remus writes in the letter she is aware that the White House is continuing to look at other information that the Archives have released since and will provide a response “at an appropriate time.”
Under federal law, previous presidents can ask the president in office to keep any documents they created in previous administrations. The documents are stored at the National Archives. Trump’s next move is filing lawsuits against the Archives however, he’s facing many legal challenges.
The courts haven’t yet decided in a definitive manner how much authority former presidents can use their privileges after they’re no longer in the presidency. However, as a matter of fact the opinions of the president in office carry significant significance. It was the Supreme Court ruled in 1977 that the president in office “is in the best position to assess the present and future needs of the Executive Branch.”
The privilege does not apply in absolute terms. The courts use the balancing test to determine whether or not it is appropriate.
The Supreme Court also said the privilege is only applicable on communications “in performance of [a president’s] responsibilities,” which could not be covered by discussions on ways to convince an investigation by the Justice Department to undermine confidence regarding the outcome of the elections.