White House Counsel Dana Remus rejected Monday a second attempt by former President Donald Trump to block the release of certain records requested by the US House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol. The former president sought to use the power of executive privilege to block the release of these documents.
The power of executive privilege allows the president to withhold the release of documents related to internal deliberations and the decision making process. This doctrine does not appear within the Constitution, but arose as part of the separation of powers doctrine. The executive branch, as co-equal with the legislative and judicial branches, is not required to turn over documentation to the other branches, including through judicial proceedings and legislative investigative committees such as the House Select Committee.
Trump has attempted to argue that the power of executive privilege continues to apply once he has left office. However, the Biden administration, which has control over the documents requested by the House Select Committee, has instructed the National Archives to comply with the House Select Committee’s requests.
White House Counsel Dana Remus wrote:
President Biden 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 the documents provided to the White House on September 16, 2021, and September 23, 2021. Accordingly, President Biden does not uphold the former President’s assertion of privilege.
Trump is currently suing the National Archives and the Biden administration to block the release of the first set of documents. He filed a lawsuit in the District of Columbia on October 18.