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Monday, December 09, 2019

American founding documents on display in National Archives rotunda in Washington, D.C.

The National Archives and Records Administration will hand over the eighth batch of Trump Administration documents to the House panel investigating the Capitol attack after President Biden declined to assert executive privilege over the release.

In a letter dated May 10 but released by the National Archives on Wednesday, the White House waived executive privilege for the emails and other records sought by the House Select Committee, dealing another blow to former President Trump, whose attempt to block such disclosures was upended by the Supreme Court.

In April, the Biden Administration stated that blocking such releases is “not in the best interests of the United States,” given the gravity of the violence that marred January 6, 2020, resulting in hospitalizations and death.

The National Archives is poised to hand 23,000 emails and other records to the select committee, which has already obtained hundreds of pages of Trump White House records, according to Forbes.

The National Archives removed some records from the batch set for release because they weren’t relevant to the select committee’s requests, White House Counsel Dana Remus said in a letter, according to the Washington Post. In addition, some requested materials were set aside because they hadn’t been reviewed yet.

“As to the remaining prioritized records, President Biden has considered the former president’s claims, and I have engaged in consultations with the Office of Legal Counsel at the Department of Justice. The President has determined that an assertion of executive privilege is not in the best interests of the United States, and therefore is not justified,” Remus wrote, reaffirming the position the Biden Administration took in April’s National Archives release.

The National Archives will hand over some documents immediately, according to CNN, and the others, including those sidelined for review, will be sent to the select committee on May 26, writes Acting Archivist Debra Sted Wall, notifying Trump of the White House’s decision.

Although it isn’t immediately clear what documents the latest trove will contain, Trump has repeatedly asserted executive privilege — a President of the United States’ prerogative to shield confidential communications from even the judicial and legislative branches under certain circumstances — in an attempt to block the National Archives from turning crucial records over to the select committee.

If Trump doesn’t get a court to stall the handoff, the select committee will receive the records in time for its public hearings slated for June. However, the former president has not challenged the Archives’ disclosures in court since his stinging loss at the Supreme Court.

However, several Trump allies have refused to cooperate with the select committee, which Trump has accused of being politically motivated despite its bipartisan membership.

The Justice Department charged disgraced former Trump adviser Steve Bannon with contempt of Congress in November, a charge carrying a sentence of up to a year behind bars and a fine of up to $100,000. Last month, the House held two more Trump allies — Peter Navarro, ex-Trump Administration trade adviser, and Daniel Scavino Jr., former Trump White House deputy chief of staff for communications — in contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with lawful congressional subpoenas.

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