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(Video Credit: MSNBC)
President Joe Biden has denied former President Donald Trump’s claim of executive privilege over White House visitor logs and has ordered that the National Archives release them to the House Select Committee investigation of January 6.
New York Times writer Michael Schmidt was the first to break the story on Wednesday concerning the explosive development. The records that are being released to Congress are visitor logs showing appointment information for individuals who were allowed to enter the White House on Jan. 6.
“In a letter to the National Archives, Mr. Biden’s White House counsel, Dana Remus, said Mr. Biden had rejected Mr. Trump’s claims that the visitor logs were subject to executive privilege and that ‘in light of the urgency’ of the committee’s work, the agency should provide the material to the committee within 15 days,” Schmidt wrote.
“Mr. Biden had similarly decided last year not to support Mr. Trump’s claim of executive privilege over other batches of White House documents and records sought by the committee. Mr. Trump went to federal court to block the release of those earlier batches but lost,” he continued.
“Citing in part the same reasoning as in the earlier case, Ms. Remus told the National Archives that the documents needed to be disclosed in a timely fashion because ‘Congress has a compelling need.’ She said that ‘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,’” Schmidt reported.
NEW: @POTUS Biden rejects Donald Trump’s claims of executive privilege over White House visitor logs and the White House counsel’s office orders @USNatArchives to release them. Full letter: pic.twitter.com/Um4izfpWHd
— Ed O'Keefe (@edokeefe) February 16, 2022
Remus said Biden had considered Trump’s claim that because he was president at the time of the attack on the U.S. Capitol, the records should remain private, but has since decided that it was “not in the best interest of the United States” to do so.
The Trump administration argued in 2017 that visitor logs should be kept secret because of “the grave national security risks and privacy concerns of the hundreds of thousands of visitors annually.”
Amazing hypocrisy. Biden orders release of Trump visitor logs from January 6th but refuses to release his own visitor logs from his Delaware weekend retreat.
— Dan (@dann088) February 16, 2022
Remus also contended that as a matter of policy, the Biden administration “voluntarily discloses such visitor logs on a monthly basis,” as did the Obama administration and that the majority of the entries over which Trump asserted the claim would be publicly released under the current policy.
The White House sent the letter to David S. Ferriero, who is the archivist of the United States, on Tuesday, and planned to inform Trump’s attorneys on Wednesday morning.
I don’t want to see Trump’s 1/6 visitor logs, I want to see the transcripts from the Zelensky call Biden had. You know the one that discusses what’s happening since this administration is on the brink of war?
— Yesi (@yesisworld) February 16, 2022
White House call logs obtained so far by the House committee allegedly do not list calls made by Trump on that day and they don’t list calls made directly to the president. Trump may have used a personal cell phone or he could have had a phone passed to him by an aide.
Committee investigators are desperately trying to piece together what Trump was doing inside the White House on Jan. 6, 2021, and who visited him. They have gone after his daughter Ivanka, Republicans, and those in his innermost circle in an attempt to find dirt on the former president. So far, nothing of note has reportedly been found or publicized.
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