US govt blocks Trump over Jan 6 documents

The White House has formally blocked an attempt by Donald Trump to withhold documents from Congress related to the January 6 attack on the Capitol when he was US president.

Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Friday said President Joe Biden had authorised the National Archives, a government agency that holds records from Trump’s time in office, to turn over an initial batch of documents requested by the US House of Representatives Select Committee investigating the January 6 riot.

“The president has determined an assertion of executive privilege isn’t warranted for the first set of documents from the Trump White House that have been provided to us by the National Archives,” Psaki said.

Throngs of Trump supporters stormed the seat of Congress that day in a failed bid to prevent lawmakers from certifying Democrat Joe Biden’s presidential victory. More than 600 people face criminal charges stemming from the event.

Meanwhile, the January 6 Select Committee threatened criminal contempt charges against Steve Bannon, the longtime Trump adviser who is refusing to cooperate with the inquiry.

“We will not allow any witness to defy a lawful subpoena or attempt to run out the clock, and we will swiftly consider advancing a criminal contempt of Congress referral,” said Representatives Bennie Thompson and Liz Cheney, who lead the committee.

Bannon on Thursday told the committee he would not comply with a subpoena it issued last month.

A lawyer for Bannon, Robert Costello, said in a letter to the committee that Bannon would refuse to comply because of Trump’s claim that he can invoke executive privilege to block Bannon’s testimony.

Executive privilege is a legal doctrine that protects the confidentiality of some communications between White House officials.

Legal experts have said Trump, as the former president, cannot lawfully use executive privilege to block subpoenas issued by the select committee.

The Fort News