The House committee investigating the January 6 Capitol riot agreed to defer its request for hundreds of pages of White House records at the request of the Biden administration, The Associated Press reports.
President Joe Biden declined to invoke executive privilege over most Trump White House information but his White House raised concerns that releasing all of the documents could compromise national security and executive privilege.
The agreement was noted in a December 16 letter from the White House counsel’s office.
The agreement largely shield records that are not directly related to the events of January 6 but were included in the committee’s request.
Dozens of pages created on January 6 don’t relate to the probe while other documents include sensitive deliberations and preparations by the National Security Council. Other documents are classified and Congress is working with federal agencies to discuss their release.
“Should not compromise” investigation:
“The documents for which the Select Committee has agreed to withdraw or defer its request do not appear to bear on the White House’s preparations for or response to the events of January 6, or on efforts to overturn the election or otherwise obstruct the peaceful transfer of power,” White House deputy counsel Jonathan Su wrote to the committee, noting that shielding the documents "should not compromise its ability to complete its critical investigation expeditiously.”
Committee spokesman Tim Mulvey told the AP, “The committee has agreed to defer action on certain records as part of the accommodations process, as was the case with an earlier tranche of records. The Select Committee has not withdrawn its request for these records and will continue to engage with the executive branch to ensure the committee gets access to all the information relevant to our probe.”
Other records still being litigated:
Biden declined to invoke executive privilege over most of the White House materials sought by the panel but Trump is suing under the dubious argument that past presidents retain executive privilege. Every court has rejected Trump’s argument so far but he has appealed to the conservative-packed Supreme Court.
The National Archives has been sending “tranches” of documents to the White House and Trump’s lawyers to determine whether they include privileged information. Biden has ruled out invoking privilege over most of the documents.
“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,” White House counsel Dana Remus said in a letter to the committee.