Trump attempts to block House investigation into Capitol riot by claiming he and his allies are protected by executive privilege

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President Donald Trump speaks on the phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the White House on January 28, 2017. Drew Angerer/Getty Images
  • Trump claimed that records requested by the House committee investigating the Capitol riot are protected.
  • It’s up to the Biden administration to determine whether executive privilege protects the records.
  • The committee issued sweeping requests targeting former White House officials and key Trump allies.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Former President Donald Trump claimed on Wednesday that documents and communications relating to the January 6 attack on the Capitol were protected by executive privilege, even though it’s up to the Biden administration to make that assertion.

Trump made the claim after the House select committee investigating the events of January 6 issued sweeping records requests from several federal agencies, former White House officials, and Trump advisors and family members.

“Executive privilege will be defended, not just on behalf of my Administration and the Patriots who worked beside me, but on behalf of the Office of the President of the United States and the future of our Nation,” Trump said in a statement. He described the committee as a “partisan sham” and a waste of money.

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The Justice Department told former officials in May that they were allowed to give “unrestricted testimony” to the various congressional committees investigating the events of January 6 and Trump’s efforts to use the DOJ to overturn the election results. The administration has not determined whether the investigators should have similar access to White House records.

The bipartisan select committee requested records from the departments of Justice, Interior, Defense, and Homeland Security; the FBI; the Office of the Director of National Intelligence; the National Counterterrorism Center; and the National Archives, which houses Trump’s White House records.

The requests targeted former Vice President Mike Pence and many of Trump’s White House and campaign advisors, including Mark Meadows, his former chief of staff; Rudy Giuliani, his ex-lawyer; Michael Flynn, his former national security advisor; and Steve Bannon, who was his top aide.

The select committee also demanded communications and documents relating to Trump’s family members who worked in the White House or served Trump in other capacities, including former first lady Melania Trump; his advisors Ivanka Trump, his eldest daughter, and Jared Kushner, his son-in-law; his two eldest sons, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump; and Lara Trump, his daughter-in-law.

The committee says it aims to investigate “the facts, circumstances, and causes of the January 6th attack.”

“Our Constitution provides for a peaceful transfer of power, and this investigation seeks to evaluate threats to that process, identify lessons learned and recommend laws, policies, procedures, rules, or regulations necessary to protect our republic in the future,” Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, the committee’s chairman, said in a statement on Wednesday.

Thompson said these records requests would be followed by others.

The group’s first public hearing, on July 27, featured emotional testimony from four law-enforcement officers who responded to the Capitol attack.