Biden orders Trump visitor logs turned over to Jan. 6 panel
President Biden is rejecting former President Trump’s claim of executive privilege over Trump-era White House visitor logs, ordering the National Archives to turn the documents over to the congressional panel investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.
White House counsel Dana Remus sent a letter to U.S. archivist David Ferriero dated Tuesday spelling out the White House’s view and ordering the documents turned over to the committee in 15 days “unless prohibited by court order.”
The letter, a copy of which was obtained by The Hill, reiterates that the White House believes Congress “has a compelling need in service of its legislative functions” for the documents to understand circumstances leading up to “the most serious attack on the operations of the Federal Government since the Civil War.”
“The President has determined that an assertion of executive privilege is not in the best interests of the United States, and therefore is not justified, as to these records and portions of records,” Remus wrote.
Remus also noted that the White House’s current policy is to release visitor logs for transparency, a practice that was stopped under the Trump administration.
“The majority of the entries over which the former President has asserted executive privilege would be publicly released under current policy,” Remus wrote.
The letter says that the documents Trump is seeking to block are White House visitor logs showing appointments of those who entered the White House complex, including logs from Jan. 6, 2021, the day the U.S. Capitol came under violent assault from a mob of Trump supporters.
The correspondence was first reported by The New York Times.
Later Wednesday, Ferriero sent a letter to Trump notifying the former president of plans to submit the documents to the Jan. 6 committee in 15 days absent a court order.
Biden has similarly rejected previous efforts by Trump to shield documents from the Jan. 6 committee, and Trump may choose to seek court action to block the release of the documents to the committee, as he has in the past.
But those efforts are likely to be futile.
The Supreme Court last month declined a request from Trump to block the release of other Trump-era documents the Jan. 6 committee had requested in its investigation. The committee has already received hundreds of pages of internal communications.
Remus’s letter notes that the Archives, which is releasing documents to the committee on a rolling basis, submitted the visitor logs in question to the White House for review on Jan. 21. The White House was alerted to Trump’s privilege claims on Jan. 31, she wrote.
The Jan. 6 committee made a sweeping document request to the National Archives last year that included communications, calendars, schedules, movement logs, videos, photographs, visitor logs and telephone records.
The committee is also seeking witness testimony from individuals linked to the former president.
Trump has attacked the committee while continuing to raise false claims about fraud in the 2020 election and his loss to Biden.
Cameron Jenkins contributed to this report, which was updated at 1:58 a.m.
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