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POTUS Declines Trump’s Request to Withhold WH Records From Jan 6th Committee; Bannon Defies Subpoena

POTUS Declines Trump’s Request to Withhold WH Records From Jan 6th Committee; Bannon Defies Subpoena

The White House has formally blocked an attempt by Donald Trump to withhold documents from Congress related to the January 6th attack on the Capitol, setting up a legal showdown between the current and former presidents over executive privilege.

In a letter to the National Archives obtained by NBC News on Friday, White House Counsel Dana Remus rejected an attempt by Trump’s attorneys to withhold documents requested by the House Select Committee regarding the Former Guy’s activities on January 6th, writing that “President Biden 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 any of the documents.”

WASHINGTON, DC – JULY 27: Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) (R) and Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) (C), joined by fellow committee members, speak to the media following a hearing of the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol on July 27, 2021 at the Cannon House Office Building in Washington, DC. Members of law enforcement testified about the attack by supporters of former President Donald Trump on the U.S. Capitol. According to authorities, about 140 police officers were injured when they were trampled, had objects thrown at them, and sprayed with chemical irritants during the insurrection. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The White House is now authorizing the National Archives to turn over an initial batch of documents that fell under a broad category requested by the committee, covering Trump’s actions and communications on January 6th, including his rally at The Ellipse on White House grounds, and subsequent meetings and communications throughout the day. That request sought everything from Twitter messages, phone and visitor logs, and any videos and photos of events he participated in. It also included documents and communications related to then-Vice President Mike Pence’s movements and security, and broadly any other documents referring to the rally at The Ellipse and the subsequent violent riot at the Capitol, as well as to planning around the ceremonial event of counting of electoral votes during a joint session of Congress.

“These are unique and extraordinary circumstances,” Remus adds in the letter. “Congress is examining an assault on our Constitution and democratic institutions provoked and fanned by those sworn to protect them, and the conduct under investigation extends far beyond typical deliberations concerning the proper discharge of the President’s constitutional responsibilities. The constitutional protections of executive privilege should not be used to shield, from Congress or the public, information that reflects a clear and apparent effort to subvert the Constitution itself.”

White House press secretary Jen Psaki had indicated this would be President Biden’s move two weeks ago, saying the President had already concluded that it would not be appropriate to assert executive privilege related to January 6th requests. But White House officials added that they had not yet done so related to requests from the Select Committee, and would make any determinations on a case-by-case basis.

Meanwhile, none of the first four Trump associates who were served subpoenas to appear before the committee have agreed to testify, explicitly following Trump’s orders. Steve Bannon responded through his attorney that he would not be appearing. Lincoln Project founding member Rick Wilson also muddied the discussion around the subpoenas by tweeting the Select Committee was essentially dead in the water, with no one planning on complying. Wilson also signaled doubt that the subpoenas would be enforced. But Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), the Committee’s Vice Chair, quickly dispelled Wilson’s tweet thread.

[This is a breaking and developing story, please check back for updates]

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