POTUS denies Donald Trump’s executive privilege claim over White House visitor logs

POTUS denies Donald Trump’s executive privilege claim over White House visitor logs
Trump/Shutterstock
Trump/Shutterstock

President Joe Biden’s administration has ordered the National Archives to hand over former President Donald Trump’s White House visitor logs to the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol. Biden’s decision is the latest blow to Trump’s efforts to cower behind dubious claims of executive privilege as congressional investigators zero in on his role in the deadly Capitol insurrection.

In a letter dated Tuesday to United States Archivist David Ferriero that was first reported by The New York Times on Wednesday, White House Counsel Dana Remus wrote that 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 these records and portions of records.”

Trump famously kept his visitor logs a secret, declaring in 2017 that “the grave national security risks and privacy concerns of the hundreds of thousands of visitors annually” preclude their public release.

Biden, like Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama, meanwhile, voluntarily releases his records every month.

Thus, “the majority of the entries over which the former President has asserted executive privilege would be publicly released under current policy. As practice under that policy demonstrates, preserving the confidentiality of this type of record generally is not necessary to protect long-term institutional interests of the Executive Branch,” Remus said.

Congress “has a compelling need in service of its legislative functions to understand the circumstances that led to . . . the most serious attack on the operations of the Federal Government since the Civil War. . . . Constitutional protections of executive privilege should not be used to shield, from Congress or the public, information that reflects a clear and apparent effort to subvert the Constitution itself,” she wrote.

Due to the time-sensitive nature of the January 6th probe, Remus continued, Biden “further instructs you to provide those pages 15 days after your notification to the former President, unless prohibited by court order. If the 15-day period expires on a weekend or holiday, you should provide the records to the Select Committee on the next business day.”

Trump has not indicated whether or not he will fight the order in court. Based upon his losing track record so far, however, filing an appeal would likely serve as nothing more than a futile stalling tactic.

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