The move marks the first recognition that some of former President Donald Trump’s files may fall outside the reach of the select committee, even if they relate to his investigation into the former president’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election results. It is not clear whether the committee delayed its prosecution of cases at the White House’s request or based on its own analysis, but Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) Called the decision a “process” give and take “with the Biden administration.
“We don’t recognize privilege in any of these cases – especially because President Biden doesn’t assert executive privilege – and we don’t think trying to overthrow the U.S. government is something that triggers executive privilege,” Raskin said. “It is difficult to see this as part of the official duties of a president.”
Tim Mulvey, the committee’s spokesperson, said the decision to postpone the request was temporary.
“The select committee has not withdrawn its request for these cases and will continue to engage in dialogue with the executive to ensure that we have access to all information relevant to our investigation,” Mulvey said.
A White House official declined to detail why the committee postponed its request – or on whose recommendation – but described it as “a routine part of the accommodation process between Congress and the government. executive in this type of question ”.
“This reflects a productive engagement between the select committee and the executive branch,” the official said.
The select committee asked the National Archives last month to produce voluminous documents from Trump’s White House, including communications between his top advisers and central figures involved in his quest to overturn the 2020 election results. National archivist David Ferriero has so far identified at least three slices of documents that meet the committee’s request.
According to federal law governing presidential records, Ferriero must first produce the records to Trump, who then has 30 days to decide whether to ask Biden to assert executive privilege on behalf of his predecessor.
Trump has made broad claims of privilege over all of his White House files and also identified specific sets of documents that he asked Biden to block from the committee. So far, Biden has rejected most of Trump’s demands, calling the attack on Capitol Hill unprecedented and worthy of further investigation.
Biden’s first denial has prompted Trump to take federal legal action to prevent the committee from obtaining his files, which is due to be heard before Judge Tanya Chutkan next week.
But even though Biden’s White House has rejected the lion’s share of Trump’s reasoning so far, it’s clear it will review every slice of documents produced by the archives on a case-by-case basis to determine whether any documents are submitted to. a legitimate privilege. complaints. It appears that the request that the committee has deferred includes dozens of pages that could fall into this category.
The White House alluded to negotiations with the committee in a letter to Ferriero on Monday.
“During the process of accommodation between Congress and the executive branch, the select committee deferred its request for the following reactive files,” wrote White House attorney Dana Remus, identifying around 50 pages of files without describing. the information they contain.
The decision to delay requesting these pages does not appear to be the result of a claim for privilege by Trump. In his letter, Remus said that despite the committee’s postponement, Ferriero would have to provide one of the 50 pages “for which the former president did not assert privilege.”
Trump’s aides did not respond to a request for comment on the development.