The Biden administration on Friday blocked a request by former President Donald Trump to withhold some documents from Congress related to the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, setting up a legal showdown between the current and former presidents over executive privilege.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki confirmed that President Joe Biden determined an assertion of executive privilege “is not warranted” for the first set of documents from the Trump White House. She added that it’s an “ongoing process.”
“We will evaluate questions of privilege on a case by case basis,” Psaki said.
A House committee is investigating the roles of Trump and his allies in the run-up to the riot when a large mob of Trump supporters broke into the Capitol as Congress was certifying the results of the presidential election won by Biden. The committee is rapidly issuing subpoenas to individuals who are either connected to Trump or who helped plan the massive rally on the morning of Jan. 6, at which he told his supporters to “fight like hell.”
A lawyer for Steve Bannon, a former White House aide who was subpoenaed, has said he won’t comply with the House committee’s investigation because Trump is asserting executive privilege to block demands for testimony and documents.
Two witnesses subpoenaed by the panel, former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and former Pentagon aide Kash Patel, are “engaging” with the committee, according to its Democratic chairman, Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson, and Republican vice chairwoman, Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming.
Thompson and Cheney issued a statement Friday after a deadline for document production had passed.
“Though the Select Committee welcomes good faith engagement with witnesses seeking to cooperate with our investigation, we will not allow any witness to defy a lawful subpoena or attempt to run out the clock, and we will swiftly consider advancing a criminal contempt of Congress referral,” the two lawmakers said.