Biden White House waives executive privilege for initial set of Trump-era documents sought by January 6 panel

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The determination on the documents only applied to a set of documents provided to the White House on September 8, and Remus wrote: “We continue to review the documents you provided to the White House after that date and we will respond at an appropriate time.

Biden’s decision triggers a window of at least 30 days for Trump to challenge the decision in court before the National Archives forward them to the Jan. 6 panel, experts told POLITICO. This reflects a similar decision by Biden and his DOJ earlier this year to waive privilege and allow former Trump DOJ officials to testify before congressional committees about the former president’s attempt to overthrow the 2020 elections.

In a Friday letter to Ferriero obtained by POLITICO, Trump said the documents sought by the committee would contain information protected by “executive and other privileges, including, but not limited to, presidential communications, the process. deliberative and attorney-client privileges “.

Trump has indicated that he wants to assert his privilege on 45 specific documents identified by the National Archives as responding to the committee’s request. Those documents, Trump said in the two-page letter, included protected “presidential communications”, as well as documents relating to the deliberative process and privileged attorney-client documents.

Trump has also indicated that he wants to preemptively declare future panel requests, “potentially in the millions,” as allegedly banned from publication.

“If the committee persists in seeking further inside information, I will take all necessary and appropriate steps to defend the office of the presidency,” Trump wrote.

The White House statement comes after the House selection panel investigating the attack announced that two close allies of former President Donald Trump – former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and the former Pentagon aide Kash Patel – were in the process of “engaging with” their subpoenas, the panel said on Friday the two leading lawmakers.

Panel Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) And Vice-Chairman Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) Confirmed in a statement that the two Trump associates have been in contact with the panel. Thompson and Cheney also threatened with criminal contempt former Trump campaign leader Steve Bannon, who told the committee he would not cooperate with their investigation into the Jan.6 attack on the Capitol.

“While the select committee welcomes the good faith engagement with witnesses seeking to cooperate with our investigation, we will not allow any witnesses to defy a legal subpoena or attempt to miss the allotted time, and we will promptly consider d ” advance criminal contempt of referral to Congress. “said Thompson and Cheney.

Bannon attorney Robert Costello told the committee Thursday that Bannon would refuse to comply due to Trump’s claim that he can invoke executive privilege to block Bannon’s testimony.

“Until these issues are resolved, we will not be able to respond to your request for documents and testimony,” Costello wrote to the Jan. 6 committee. Costello’s letter was first reported by The New York Times; POLITICO reported Thursday that Trump had asked Bannon and other former aides subpoenaed by the select panel not to comply with lawmakers’ demands.

This is a questionable claim by Bannon’s lawyer, as Trump’s ex-aide had been away from the White House for years by the time the former president tried to overturn the 2020 election – the object of the committee assignment – started in earnest. Executive privilege is usually reserved for advisers closest to a president and is not meant to be a broad shield for requests for testimony.

Any decision by the Jan. 6 committee to detain a criminal contempt witness would first require the panel to vote on a contempt resolution. This resolution would then be transferred to the House for a vote.

The select panel investigating the insurgency of Trump supporters had subpoenaed four former aides to the former president: former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, longtime Trump adviser Dan Scavino, the former Pentagon aide to Trump Kash Patel and Bannon. All have been asked to provide documents by Thursday, and the panel is also looking to drop the four men next week.

A lawyer for Meadows did not immediately return a request for comment on the summons delay.

Patel said in a statement Thursday that “I will continue to speak the truth to the American people on January 6, and I put our country and our freedoms first through my Fight with Kash initiative.”

Scavino was served with his subpoena on Friday, according to two sources familiar with the matter. He was in New York City, and the summons was accepted by an attorney at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, according to one of the sources, who noted that this was the first time the service was attempted, as Scavino did. been made public since the summonses were issued.

The Jan. 6 committee declined to comment on the status of the subpoena at Scavino, which was not mentioned in the Thompson and Cheney statement.

If one of the quartets does not comply, the committee could seek references for criminal contempt, which would force the House to take a full vote when it returns to session later this month. This decision, if made, would send the case to the Justice Department for review. It is not clear whether the DOJ would act quickly on the potential dismissals, but members of the Jan. 6 panel expressed hope that the Biden administration would act urgently.

Next week’s deadline for depositions from former Trump aides summoned to appear would be more important, according to sources close to the committee, given that the quartet still have time to comply. If they don’t show up in the coming weeks, the committee could meet to consider a referral, then vote and send it to the entire House for consideration.

Representative Thompson said he wanted to complete his investigation by the spring. This deadline, if the nine-member bipartisan panel wants to stick to it, does not allow for long legal battles for the execution of subpoenas or prosecutions against recalcitrant witnesses.

Heather Caygle and Natasha Korecki contributed to this report


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