February 17, 2022
President Joe Biden has directed the National Archives to release to Congress former President Donald Trump’s White House visitor logs for January 6—rejecting his predecessor’s claims that the logs are subject to executive privilege, reports Bloomberg.
“The president 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 these records and portions of records,” White House Counsel Dana Remus wrote in a February 15 letter to David Ferriero, the national archivist of the United States.
Remus directed Ferriero to turn over the records within 15 days of providing notice to Trump, barring a court order.
“The majority of the entries over which the former president has asserted executive privilege would be publicly released under current policy,” she said.
The panel probing the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol has requested logs for White House visitors on that and other days, as well as other Trump-era records.
A spokesperson for the committee had no immediate comment Wednesday. A spokesperson for Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Supreme Court last month rejected Trump’s bid to block the release of records to the January 6 panel—a victory for the committee and its Democratic chairman, Bennie Thompson. In addition to the visitor logs, the investigative committee has requested all photographs, videos, and other media; including any digital time stamps, taken or recorded within the White House that day.
Trump sought to override Biden’s earlier decision to waive executive privilege and argued that a former president’s need for privacy can outweigh the views of the current chief executive.
The committee has been focusing on the false claims that Trump and his allies pushed about the election outcome and how that played roles in stoking the violence on January 6, 2021. Trump’s lawyers argued that the release “would be a substantial blow to the institution of the presidency.”
In an unsigned, one-paragraph order, the high court said the case didn’t offer the opportunity to decide that question because a lower court found that Trump’s claim would be rejected even if he were still in office. Justice Clarence Thomas, a conservative, was the only dissent.
The committee agreed to treat entries associated with sensitive appointments, including those related to national security, as confidential and to refrain from sharing or discussing them without prior consultation, Remus wrote. The committee also will receive the records without birth dates or social security numbers.
Research contact: @Bloomberg