Biden won’t invoke executive privilege on Trump docs related to Capitol riot

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FILE – In this Jan. 6, 2021, file photo insurrectionists loyal to President Donald Trump breach the Capitol in Washington. Prosecutors secured the first guilty plea in the major case brought against members of the Oath Keepers extremist group in the attack on the U.S. Capitol, while an Indiana woman who became first person to be sentenced for the Jan. 6 riot avoided time behind bars. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden is not asserting executive privilege over a tranche of documents sought by a House committee’s investigation into the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol, setting up a showdown with former President Donald Trump, who has pledged to try to block records from his time in the White House from being turned over to investigators.

In a letter to the Archivist of the United States, White House counsel Dana Remus writes that Biden has determined that invoking executive privilege “is not in the best interests of the United States.” The Associated Press obtained a copy of the letter Friday, which was first reported by NBC News.

In August, the House committee investigating the January insurrection at the U.S. Capitol asked for a trove of records, including communication within the White House under Trump and information about planning and funding for rallies held in Washington. Among those events was a rally near the White House featuring remarks by Trump, who egged on a crowd of thousands before loyalists stormed the Capitol.

In the letter, Remus writes that the documents reviewed “shed light on events within the White House on and about January 6 and bear on the Select Committee’s need to understand the facts underlying the most serious attack on the operations of the Federal Government since the Civil War.”

Copies of the documents responsive to the request were turned over to the Biden White House and Trump’s lawyers for review for potential executive privilege concerns in accordance with federal law and the executive order governing presidential records.

The incumbent president has the final say unless a court orders the Archives to take a different action. Trump has not formally sought to invoke executive privilege over the documents, though that action is expected soon.

Officials also expect him to try to take legal action to block the release of the documents.

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