Politics White House pushes for release of Jan. 6 documents as Trump rebuffs committee
Jan. 6 panel braces for collision with Trump
The Select Committee expects the former president to fight its probe into the attack on Capitol Hill. Some aspects of its work are proceeding smoothly. The panel has held its first closed-door transcribed interviews with willing witnesses, according to sources familiar with those efforts, and new ones are scheduled for this week.
The battle over White House records of former President Donald Trump's activities related to the Jan. 6 Capitol attack intensified Wednesday as President Joe Biden formally rejected Trump's claims that the documents should be shielded from release to the House select committee investigating the insurrection.
In a letter to the National Archives, the White House counsel's office said President Biden is "instructing" the agency to comply with the House select committee's request for the records.
"President [Biden] maintains his conclusion that an assertion of executive privilege is not in the best interests of the United States," the letter states, after Trump last week made a broad effort towith the probe.
Biden refuses to assert privilege over Trump documents sought by January 6 committee
The White House has informed the National Archives that it is not asserting executive privilege on an initial batch of documents related to the January 6 violence at the US Capitol, paving the way for the Archives to share documents with the House committee investigating the attempted insurrection. © Alex Edelman/AFP/Getty Images The White House is seen on July 3, 2021 in Washington, DC.
"President Biden does not uphold the former President's assertion of privilege," said Wednesday's letter, which also told the agency that "in light of the urgency of the Select Committee’s need for the information, the President further instructs you to provide those pages 30 days after your notification to the former President, absent any intervening court order."
Trump issued a statement late last week saying the requests "are not based in law or reality -- it's just a game to these politicians. They don't care about our Country or the American people." Trump went on to say the Democrats are "drunk on power."
These are the people the select committee may call to testify about the Jan. 6 Capitol attack
Two weeks after its first public hearing, the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol attack has yet to announce who else it plans to call to testify, though members have made clear that anyone with relevant information about the insurrection, including former White House officials, Republicans in Congress and even former President Donald Trump himself, could be subject to a subpoena. “If we get an inkling that there’s any resistance with providing the committee some of this information, boom, here comes the subpoena,” the committee’s chairman, Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., said in a recent interview with the Washington Post.
Wednesday's move comes as the committee ramps up its efforts to move ahead with its investigation. Former Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen testified before the committee Wednesday, according to a source familiar with the proceedings.
On Tuesday, the committee issued a subpoena to former Associate Attorney General Jeffrey Clark. A lawyer for Clark declined to comment when reached by ABC News.
The House select committee has subpoenaed multiple former White House officials and aides to Trump and his campaign, including former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows. The committee has said Meadows has been cooperating with the committee, though the extent of his participation in the investigation is unclear.
China Says Warplane Exercises Are Warnings to Taiwan and U.S.
A Chinese government spokesperson removed any doubt surrounding the intended targets of the recent exercises during a press conference on Wednesday.Ma Xiaoguang, a spokesperson for the Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) in Beijing, spoke after Taiwan's Defense Ministry detected 153 People's Liberation Army warplane sorties into the international airspace southwest of the island, including 150 flights in the span of five days.
However, former Trump White House senior advisor and one-time campaign CEO Steve Bannon is standing firm in rebuffing the committee. In a second letter to the committee, obtained by ABC News, Bannon's lawyer says they have been directed by Trump's counsel not to respond, citing the former president's invocation of executive privilege.
"Until such a time as you reach an agreement with President Trump or receive a court ruling as to the extent, scope and application of the executive privilege ... Mr. Bannon will not be producing documents or testifying," Bannon's counsel, Robert Costello wrote in a letter to committee chairman Bennie Thompson.
Thompson and vice-chair Liz Cheneythey would "swiftly consider" holding Bannon, and potentially others, in contempt of Congress for ignoring committee subpoenas.
Sources confirmed to ABC News that Trump's lawyer sent a letter to several of those subpoenaed informing them that the former president wants the subpoenas ignored and that he plans to claim executive privilege. In the letter, Trump suggested he would be willing to take the matter to court to block their cooperation.
White House counsel Dana Remus said in an earlier letter to the National Archives that the White House "has determined that an assertion of executive privilege is not in the best interests of the United States," but that they would "respond accordingly" if Trump asserts executive privilege over only a subset of the documents.
The committee has issued at least 18 subpoenas, with most going to Trump associates and individuals linked to the rallies in Washington on the day of the Capitol riot.
Jan. 6 panel votes to hold Steve Bannon in contempt .
WASHINGTON (AP) — A House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection voted unanimously to hold former White House aide Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress after the longtime ally of former President Donald Trump defied a subpoena for documents and testimony. Still defending his supporters who broke into the Capitol that day, Trump has aggressively tried to block the committee’s work by directing Bannon and others not to answer questions in the probe. Trump has also filed a lawsuit to try to prevent Congress from obtaining former White House documents.