The White House confirmed that President Joe Biden has waived executive privilege on an initial set of documents produced at the request of the Jan. 6 committee.
“The president has determined an assertion of executive privilege isn’t warranted for the first set of documents from the Trump White House that have been provided to us by the National Archives,” press secretary Jen Psaki said on Friday.
This is only the first set of documents, she said, with further requests “reviewed on a case-by-case basis.”
Psaki added, “What this committee is investigating is not a normal course of government business.”
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Former President Donald Trump’s legal team had moved to block some of the records, but “these are unique and extraordinary circumstances,” Biden White House counsel Dana Remus said in a letter to the National Archives.
“Congress is examining an assault on our constitution and democratic institutions provoked and fanned by those sworn to protect them,” Remus wrote. “The insurrection that took place on Jan. 6, and the extraordinary events surrounding it, must be subject to a full accounting to ensure nothing similar ever happens again.”
The White House announcement drew a sharp rebuke from Trump himself, who accused Democrats of being "drunk on power."
"The Democrats are drunk on power, but this dangerous assault on our Constitution and important legal precedent will not work," he wrote. "This Committee's fake investigation is not about January 6th any more than the Russia Hoax was about Russia. Instead, this is about using the power of the government to silence 'Trump' and our Make America Great Again movement, the greatest such achievement of all time."
Psaki explained the decision, saying, “This committee is investigating a dark day in our democracy ... That context is important here, too.”
Asked whether Biden will direct the Justice Department to prosecute criminal referrals from the select committee, Psaki demurred.
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“That would be up to the Department of Justice, and it would be their purview,” she said. “They would determine any decision on criminal prosecutions ... and of course the committee.”