The Biden administration refused a request from former President Donald Trump to claim executive privilege over documents being sought by the congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol.
White House counsel Dana Remus said in a letter Friday to Archivist of the United States David Ferriero that they would not seek to protect the documents.
“After my consultations with the Office of Legal Counsel at the Department of Justice, President Biden has determined than 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,” Remus said in the letter obtained by Politico.
The Biden administration is breaking with tradition, as such requests from former presidents are usually honored by the subsequent administrations.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki reiterated the decision during media briefing.
“That day posed an existential crisis and a test of whether our democracy could survive,” she claimed. “It was, in many respects, a unique attack on the foundations of our democracy. The president’s dedicated to ensuring that something like that could never happen again, which is why the administration is cooperating with ongoing investigations, including the Jan. 6 select committee to bring to light what happened.”
The former president fired off a scathing rebuke of Biden’s decision in a statement Friday evening.
“I have sent a letter to the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration in defense of the Office of the Presidency, the Constitution, vital principles of separation of powers, and on behalf of our great Nation,” read the statement in part. “Their requests are not based in law or reality — it’s just a game to these politicians. They don’t care about our Country or the American people.”
Trump went on to accused the Democrats of trying to distract from Biden’s numerous failures, including the withdrawal from Afghanistan and the border crisis.
“It’s another grand distraction, because Biden and the Democrats don’t want you to see how badly America is losing due to their incompetence,” he wrote.
The former president called for the extension of executive privilege in his own letter to Ferriero, and demanded that any future requests for documentation be rebuffed as well.
“Should the committee persist in seeking other privileged information, I will take all necessary and appropriate steps to defend the Office of the Presidency,” Trump wrote.
The White House indicated that further requests would be considered on a “case-by-case basis.”
Here’s the video of Psaki’s comments:
Psaki: ‘Executive privilege is not warranted’ for Trump-era documents sought by Jan. 6 panel