The days of the federal government blindly providing Donald Trump with blanket immunity for his crimes against the republic are over.
The House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection has reportedly made extensive records requests from federal agencies pertinent to its probe. This week the panel also issued subpoenas to four members of Trump’s inner circle, prompting Trump to issue a statement saying he planned to claim “executive privilege” in order to thwart information requests from the committee.
But whatever Trump plans to do personally, he won’t be getting help from the man currently sitting in the Oval Office. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Friday that President Joe Biden would not invoke executive privilege to shield his predecessor’s records from being released to the committee.
“The president has already concluded that it would not be appropriate to assert executive privilege,” Psaki told reporters at Friday’s briefing, adding that the White House would “respond promptly” to congressional requests.
As a nice touch, Psaki noted that Trump had not formally contacted the White House on the matter either.
“I’m not aware of any outreach—we don’t get regular outreach from the former president or his team,” Psaki said.
That means Biden went ahead and gave Trump a preemptive middle finger in case there were any lingering doubts about where things were headed.
According to The Washington Post, the Jan. 6 committee has already requested from the National Archives “all documents and communications within the White House on January 6, 2021, relating in any way” to the Capitol siege that day. In response, the archives had identified “hundreds” of relevant documents from the Trump White House. The first chunk of materials was sent on Aug. 31 to both Biden’s White House and Trump’s lawyers. Trump apparently has 30 days from the date he receives the materials to decide whether he will object their disclosure. If Trump does object, Biden’s White House can disclose them anyway after a 60-day waiting period following Trump’s objections. Trump can also file a legal challenge to block their release.
But experts generally believe the law is not on Trump’s side and his ability to claim executive privilege as a former president is substantially weaker now that he’s out of office.
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.