White House dismisses idea it is opening 'Pandora's Box' with Jan. 6 executive privilege orders
The White House declined to tip the scales as the Justice Department weighs whether to bring criminal contempt charges against former President Donald Trump allies who have so far refused to cooperate with the House Jan. 6 Select Committee.
The White House also shrugged off concerns it is setting a dangerous precedent after it decided not to assert executive privilege over documents and records that Trump requested be kept secret as part of the congressional investigation.
"This president has no intention to lead an insurrection on our nation's Capitol,” press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Thursday.
Instead, Psaki reiterated that Jan. 6 was “an incredibly dark day” for the country’s democracy. Democrats, Republicans, and members of the public without a political affiliation should want to “get to the bottom” of what happened when a pro-Trump crowd mobbed the Capitol Building to postpone the certification of the 2020 election results, according to Psaki.
“If you look back at past presidents, Democratic and Republican, there really isn’t a precedent for what we’re talking about with this select committee,” she said.
But Psaki did promise to keep disclosing executive privilege decisions given they are being made on a case-by-case basis.
The Jan. 6 committee will vote next week on whether to pursue criminal contempt charges against former Trump White House chief strategist Steve Bannon. If successful, the full House will consider the measure before Speaker Nancy Pelosi refers the matter to the Justice Department.
Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, deputy chief of staff Dan Scavino, and Defense Department official Kash Patel had also been subpoenaed to appear before the panel this week. Meadows and Patel have been working with lawmakers, while Scavino was offered an extension after a delay in being served.
The White House last week ordered the National Archives to release information requested by the Jan. 6 committee. Counsel Dana Remus, in a letter published this week, told the presidential record-keepers it is not “in the best interests” of the country to hold on to the trove of roughly 40 documents.
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