Releasing a letter from White House counsel to the National Archives, the White House has confirmed that President Joe Biden has formally rejected former President Donald Trump from invoking executive privilege on Jan. 6 documents.
Despite this, former White House strategist Steve Bannon is resolute on sticking to Trump’s privilege and wrote to the Jan. 6 Select Committee on Wednesday night to take it up with Trump’s legal counsel or the courts.
Bannon’s balk comes as lawmakers on the anti-Trump House panel said they will pursue criminal charges of contempt of Congress if they do not comply with subpoenas.
“The president maintains his conclusion 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 provided to the White House on Sept. 8, 2021,” the Oct. 8 letter from White House counsel Dana Remus read.
“Accordingly, President Biden does not uphold the former president’s assertion of privilege.”
The National Archives will be forced to turn over requested documents in an investigation of the Jan. 6 storming of the Capitol, barring further legal action.
Trump denounced “partisan hacks” investigating Jan. 6, issuing a pointed statement from his Save America PAC on Wednesday:
“Why isn’t the Jan. 6 Unselect Committee of partisan hacks studying the massive Presidential Election Fraud, which took place Nov. 3 and was the reason that hundreds of thousands of people went to Washington to protest on Jan. 6? Look at the numbers now being reported on the fraud, which we now call the ‘Really Big Lie.’ You cannot study Jan. 6 without studying the reason it happened, Nov. 3. But the Democrats don’t want to do that because they know what took place on Election Day in the swing states, and beyond. If we had an honest media this election would have been overturned many months ago, but our media is almost as corrupt as our political system!”
Among the executive privileges invoked by Trump are communications and testimony from Bannon.
Bannon issued a letter, obtained by ABC News, to House Jan. 6 Select Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., on Wednesday night.
Bannon rejected the committee’s characterization of his refusal to participate as “defiance,” instead pointing to Trump’s invoking executive privilege and telling the committee to take any requests for Bannon’s participation up with Trump’s lawyers or go to the courts to compel him to testify.
Bannon noted he has willfully testified before when Trump waived executive privilege on past Democratic subpoenas.
Trump had written his own letter to the National Archives last Friday, asserting executive privilege on 40 documents sought in the Jan. 6 investigation, because the records “contain information subject to executive privilege, including presidential communications and deliberate process privileges.”
Bannon used those same terms in his letter to the Jan. 6 panel chairman.