White House press secretary Jen Psaki confirmed that President Joe Biden has waived executive privilege on documents related to the Jan. 6 select committee.
“The president has determined an assertion of executive privilege isn’t warranted for the first set of documents from the Trump White House that have been provided to us by the National Archives,” she said on Oct. 8, adding that more sets of documents could be evaluated on a “case-by-case basis.”
Psaki told reporters at the White House, “What this committee is investigating is not a normal course of government business.”
Executive privilege is a legal doctrine that protects the confidentiality of some communications between White House officials.
Her comments came in response to a reporter’s question about whether the White House will authorize the National Archives to turn over documents to the House Democrat-led committee.
“The president is dedicated to ensuring that something like that could never happen again, which is why the administration is cooperating with ongoing investigations, including the January 6 select committee, to bring to light what happened,” Psaki said.
In a letter to the National Archives from Dana Remus, the White House counsel, said that former President Donald Trump using executive privilege “is not in the best interests of the United States.”
Meanwhile, the Jan. 6 committee threatened criminal contempt charges against Steve Bannon, the longtime Trump adviser who is declining to comply with the subpoena. Bannon on Oct. 7 told the committee he won’t comply with a subpoena it issued last month.
Robert Costello, a lawyer for Bannon, said in a letter to the committee that Bannon refuses to comply because of Trump’s argument that he can invoke executive privilege to block Bannon’s testimony.
Trump hasn’t formally sought to invoke executive privilege over the documents. The former president also hasn’t attempted to take legal action over their release.
On Oct. 6, Trump praised former Vice President Mike Pence after his former second-in-command downplayed the Jan. 6 incident as the House committee investigates.
“I can tell you that we parted amicably at the end of the administration, and we’ve talked a number of times since we both left office,” Pence said in a Fox News interview last week, adding that the media and committee are trying to “distract from the Biden administration’s failed agenda by focusing on one day in January.”
In a statement, Trump said Pence’s comment “destroys and discredits the Unselect Committees [sic] Witch Hunt on the events of January 6th,” referring to the committee.
Reuters contributed to this report.