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Biden waives executive privilege for new set of Trump records

The president has authorized the National Archives and Records Administration to hand over an eighth tranche of presidential records from the Trump White House to the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack

President Biden speaks in Washington on May 10. (Oliver Contreras for The Washington Post)
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President Biden has authorized the National Archives and Records Administration to hand over an eighth tranche of presidential records from the Trump White House to the House committee investigating the deadly Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.

In a letter released Wednesday by the National Archives, Biden again declined to assert executive privilege over the records — the latest batch sought by the committee after the Supreme Court rejected former president Donald Trump’s bid to block such releases.

The new letter is in line with the Biden administration’s decision to err on the side of disclosure, given the gravity of the events in the Jan. 6 attack by a pro-Trump mob. The National Archives has already turned over hundreds of pages of documents to the committee, and the latest set contains approximately 23,000 emails and attachments.

The National Archives did remove some records from the batch after finding they were “not responsive” to the request, according to a letter from White House counsel Dana Remus. Some of the requested records, according to Remus, also have yet to be reviewed by the Archives.

“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 writes.

Those documents are set to be delivered to the committee by May 26, according to a letter from Acting Archivist Debra Steidel Wall transmitting notice of the White House’s decision to Trump — two weeks before the start of the House committee’s public hearings.

It’s unclear what documents exactly will be included in the eighth batch of documents, but Trump has tried to assert privilege over daily presidential diaries, schedules, drafts of speeches, remarks and correspondence concerning the events of Jan. 6 as well as the files of his top advisers and lawyers, according to a review of court documents.

The committee has so far conducted nearly 995 depositions and interviews, received 125,000 documents, and has followed 470 tips received through the committee’s tip line, according to a committee spokesperson.

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