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That House The committee, which is investigating the January 6 uprising at the Capitol, has agreed to postpone its attempt to obtain hundreds of pages of records from the Trump administration, holding them at the request of the White House.
The postponement is in response to concerns from the Biden White House that the release of all Trump administration documents requested by the committee could compromise national security and executive privileges.
President Biden has repeatedly rejected former President Trump’s general efforts to cite executive privileges to block the release of documents around that day. But Bidens White House is still working with the committee to protect some documents from being handed over.
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Trump is appealing to the Supreme Court to try to block the National Archives and Records Administration, which maintains the custody of the documents from his time in office, from giving them to the committee.
The agreement to keep some records from the Trump era away from the committee is commemorated in a letter Dec. 16 from the White House attorney’s office. It mostly screens records that do not involve the events of January 6, but which were covered by the committee’s extensive request for documents from Trump’s White House about the events of that day.
Dozens of pages created on January 6 do not relate to the attack on the Capitol. Other documents involve sensitive preparations and deliberations in the National Security Council. Biden officials were concerned that if these sides were handed over to Congress, it would set a cumbersome precedent for the executive, regardless of who is president.
Still other documents are highly classified, and the White House asked Congress to work with the federal agencies that created them to discuss their release.
“The documents for which the committee has agreed to withdraw or postpone its request do not appear to be relevant to the White House’s preparations for or response to the events of 6 January, or to efforts to: overturn the election or otherwise impede peaceful transfer of power, “Deputy Attorney General Jonathan Su wrote in the White House in one of two letters to the committee, which The Associated Press received on Tuesday.
Su wrote that for the committee, withholding the documents “should not compromise its ability to complete its critical investigation quickly.”
Committee spokesman Tim Mulvey said: “The committee has agreed to postpone actions on certain items as part of the accommodation process, as was the case with a previous tranche of items. The committee has not withdrawn its request for these records and will continue to do so. to engage with the executive to ensure that the committee has access to all the information relevant to our inquiry. ”
For the past several months, the National Archives has been sending tranches of documents to the White House and to Trump’s lawyers to determine if they contain privileged information. Trump has raised both broad objections to the publication of the documents as well as specific concerns about certain documents.
The National Archives has said the records Trump wants to block include the president’s diaries, visitor logs, draft speeches, handwritten notes “relating to the events of Jan. 6” from former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows’ files and “a draft executive order on the subject of election integrity. ”
Biden has repeatedly denied Trump’s claims of executive privilege over those documents, including in a letter sent Dec. 23 regarding about 20 pages of documents.
“The President has determined that an allegation of executive privilege is not in the best interests of the United States and therefore is not justified,” White House adviser Dana Remus reiterated in a recent letter.
Trump has gone to court to block the document releases. A federal appeals court ruled this month on Trump, and he has filed an appeal to the Supreme Court, though the Supreme Court has not yet decided whether to take up the case.
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Judge Patricia Millett, who wrote to the court in her statement on Dec. 9, said Congress had a “clear vital interest” in studying the events of Jan. 6, and Biden had made a “carefully reasoned” decision that the documents were in the public interest. and the executive privilege should therefore not be invoked. Trump also failed to show any damage that would be done by the release of the requested records, Millett wrote.
“In the case before us, former President Trump has not provided any basis for this court to override President Biden’s judgment and the agreement and adjustments made between the political departments over these documents,” the statement said.