- Trump wants to use executive privilege to block the Congressional Jan. 6 committee from seeing records of his actions.
- Experts contend executive privilege does not apply to former presidents, so the Biden administration will play a role.
- The White House initially indicated it would make the records public. It later said it would review Trump’s requests”case-by-case.”
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President Joe Biden may use executive privilege to shield from public view information about former President Donald Trump’s actions during the Capitol insurrection.
The bipartisan congressional committee investigating the January 6 riot is seeking records from the White House that show how Trump behaved during the deadly insurrection. While Trump has contended he will use executive privilege to prevent the information from reaching the committee, legal experts have suggested executive privilege doesn’t apply to former presidents, meaning the decision may fall to Biden.
Executive privilege is a legal concept that presidents have used to withhold information from the legislature or judiciary, claiming that it would disrupt the proper functioning of the government.
On Friday, Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that while Trump has not reached out to the administration, Biden would not use his privilege to aid Trump’s efforts.
“The president already concluded that it would not be appropriate to assert executive privilege,” Psaki said. “And so, we will respond promptly to these questions as they arise. And certainly, as they come up from Congress, and certainly we have been working closely with congressional committees and others as they work to get to the bottom of what happened on Jan. 6.”
Later in the day, the administration backtracked Psaki’s statement, suggesting she was referring specifically to Department of Justice records, POLITICO’s Kyle Cheney reported.
“The White House is walking back Psaki’s comment, suggesting she only intended to refer to an earlier decision not to invoke executive privilege to shield certain DOJ documents and testimony. Other decisions will be made on a ‘case by case basis,’ WH says,” Cheney tweeted.
On Thursday, the committee subpoenaed four key Trump confidantes who were working with the administration leading up to the insurrection. The Washington Post reported that Biden planned to disclose the information to the committee, citing two anonymous sources.
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