President Joe Biden on Friday rejected Donald Trump’s bid to withhold documents from a congressional committee probing the January 6 attack on the US Capitol by supporters of the former president.
The House Select Committee warned four former members of the Trump administration that they could be subject to criminal contempt of Congress charges if they refused to respond to a summons from the panel.
Trump wants to claim executive privilege to prevent the National Archives from handing over documents related to Jan. 6 to the select committee.
Executive privilege allows the president to keep certain communications confidential. Legal experts are divided on whether this applies to the former president, and Biden declined to insist on it on Trump’s behalf.
Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the White House is “cooperating with the ongoing investigation” and “has determined that the first set of documents does not warrant a claim of executive privilege.”
Biden will “evaluate matters of privilege on a case-by-case basis” but believes “it is extremely important for both Congress and the American people to have a full understanding of the events of that day to prevent them from happening again.” is important.” Said Saki.
The committee investigating the Capitol attack issued a request in August for records relating to an attempt by Trump supporters to block Congress’s certification of Biden’s November election victory.
The records and documents being sought include communications from Trump, members of his family, his top aides, his lawyers and dozens of other former members of his administration.
In a statement Friday, Trump accused Democrats of using Congress to “persecute his political opponents” and issued a letter to the head of the National Archives, reiterating his claims of executive privilege.
“It’s about using the power of the government to silence ‘Trump’ and our Make America Great Again movement, the greatest achievement ever,” he said. “We won two elections, did far better in the second than the first, and now probably have to do it for the third time!”
‘Contempt of Congress’
The committee has issued summons to four former Trump aides: Mark Meadows, Kash Patel, Dan Scavino and Steve Bannon.
Politico and The Washington Post reported on Thursday that Trump has asked four former advisers not to cooperate with the investigation.
The chairman of the select committee, Representative Benny Thompson, said Friday that Meadows, Trump’s former chief of staff, and Patel, a former White House national security adviser, “were engaging with the select committee.”
But Bannon, a former senior political adviser to Trump, “has indicated that he will try to hide behind vague references to the former president’s privileges,” Thompson said.
“The Select Committee fully expects from all these witnesses that they will abide by our demands to testify both the documents and the statements,” he said.
“We will not allow any witness to disobey a valid subpoena or attempt to finish the clock, and we will swiftly consider pursuing criminal contempt of Congress referral,” Thompson said.
The committee has so far held a hearing on July 27, when four police officers from the Capitol and Washington testified about defending the Senate and House of Representatives from the mob on January 6.
Trump has consistently denied admitting his defeat to Biden and making baseless claims of winning the election.
The real estate mogul was impeached in January by the Democratic-controlled House for inciting rebellion, but was acquitted by the Senate.
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)