Trump's Request To Withhold Documents Related To The US Capitol Riots Is Rejected By Joe Biden

In the meantime, the House Select Committee has warned four former Trump administration officials that if they refuse to respond to the panel's subpoenas, they could face criminal contempt charges.

Trump's Request To Withhold Documents Related To The US Capitol Riots Is Rejected By Joe Biden
Trump's Request To Withhold Documents Related To The US Capitol Riots Is Rejected By Joe Biden

President Joe Biden on Friday rejected a request by Donald Trump to withhold records from a congressional committee examining the former president's supporters' January 6 attack on the US Capitol. In the meantime, the House Select Committee has warned four former Trump administration officials that if they refuse to respond to the panel's subpoenas, they could face criminal contempt charges. Trump is attempting to use executive privilege to prevent the National Archives from handing over papers related to January 6 to the select committee. 

A president's executive privilege allows him or her to keep certain communications private. Legal experts disagree about whether it applies to a former president, and Biden refused to claim it on Trump's behalf. 

The White House is "cooperating with ongoing investigations," said Press Secretary Jen Psaki, and "has determined that an assertion of executive privilege is not required for the initial tranche of papers." Biden will "evaluate cases of privilege on a case by case basis" but he believes it is of the "utmost importance for both Congress and the American people to have a complete understanding of the events of that day to prevent them from happening again," Psaki said.

In August, the committee probing the Capitol attack requested data connected to Trump supporters' attempt to prevent Congress from certifying Biden's electoral victory in November. Communications from Trump, members of his family, key advisers, lawyers, and scores of other former employees of his administration are among the data and materials sought. 

Trump accused Democrats of using Congress to "persecute their political opponents" in a statement on Friday, and he sent a letter to the head of the National Archives reaffirming his executive privilege claims."This is about using the power of the government to silence 'Trump' and our Make America Great Again movement, the greatest such achievement of all time," he said. "We won two elections, did far better in the second than the first, and now perhaps have to do it a third time!"

'Contempt of Congress'

Mark Meadows, Kash Patel, Dan Scavino, and Steve Bannon have all been served with subpoenas by the committee. According to Politico and The Washington Post on Thursday, Trump has urged his four former advisers not to help with the investigation. 

Meadows, Trump's former chief of staff, and Patel, a former White House national security advisor, are "working with the Select Committee," according to Rep. Bennie Thompson, the committee's chairman. However, Bannon, a former Trump senior political adviser, has "suggested that he will try to hide behind ambiguous references to the former president's powers," according to Thompson.

"The Select Committee fully expects all of these witnesses to comply with our demands for both documents and deposition testimony," he said. "We will not allow any witness to reject a legitimate subpoena or try to run out the clock, and we will consider pursuing a criminal contempt of Congress referral as soon as possible," Thompson added. 

So far, the committee has had only one hearing, on July 27, at which four Capitol and Washington police officers spoke about defending the Senate and House of Representatives from a mob on January 6. Trump has refused to admit that he lost to Biden and has continued to assert that he won the election. The real estate mogul was impeached in January by the Democratic-controlled House for encouraging insurgency, but the Senate acquitted him.