WASHINGTON — The White House on Friday formally blocked an attempt by former President Donald Trump to withhold documents from Congress related to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, setting up a legal showdown between the current and former presidents over executive privilege.
Presidents usually express professional courtesy to their predecessors and hold everything in executive privilege, just as they would want the next president to do for themselves.
In a letter to the National Archives obtained by NBC News, White House Counsel Dana Remus rejected an attempt by Trump’s attorneys to withhold documents requested by the House Select Committee regarding the then-president’s activities on Jan. 6, writing that “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 any of the documents.”
Again, that’s extraordinary.
“These are unique and extraordinary circumstances,” Remus added. “Congress is examining an assault on our Constitution and democratic institutions provoked and fanned by those sworn to protect them, and the conduct under investigation extends far beyond typical deliberations concerning the proper discharge of the President’s constitutional responsibilities. The 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.”
And boom, there’s now precedent! No one is above the law, not even the president. If a president is claiming executive privilege, it cannot be to cover up a potential crime.