Dec 28, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Jan. 6 committee agrees to shield some records at White House's request

Photo of Trump supporters storming into the U.S. Capitol holding signs and flags
Pro-Trump protesters break into the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Win McNamee via Getty Images

The Jan. 6 committee has agreed to shield some Trump administration records at the request of the White House.

Why it matters: President Biden previously rejected former President Trump's executive privilege claims, but his administration has now asked the committee to hold off on some records out of national security concerns and the "need for confidentiality in presidential decision-making," per a Dec. 16 letter from White House deputy counsel Jonathan Su.

  • The White House declined to comment to Axios.

Details: Addressed to the committee, the letter notes that the joint agreement shields records that do not pertain to the Capitol riots but were included in the panel's request for Trump-era records.

  • Some of the documents also outlined sensitive information involving the National Security Council, Su wrote.
  • "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."
  • Shielding these records "should not compromise its ability to complete its critical investigation expeditiously."

What they're saying: The Jan. 6 panel "welcomes President Biden’s decision to clear the way for the production of another set of records," a committee spokesperson said in a statement to Axios.

  • "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," they noted.
  • "The Select Committee has not withdrawn its request for these records and will continue to engage with the executive branch to ensure the committee gets access to all the information relevant to our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."

The big picture: In regard to other Jan. 6-related documents, Biden maintains that executive privilege is "not in the best interests of the United States," White House counsel Dana Remus wrote in a Dec. 23 letter.

  • Trump has sued the National Archives and the committee in an attempt to block the release of records. He filed an appeal to the Supreme Court after a federal appeals court denied his request earlier this month.
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