Trump ‘abused’ presidency and ‘tried to subvert a peaceful transfer of power’, Psaki says

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Donald Trump (AP)
Donald Trump (AP)

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Tuesday defended President Joe Biden’s decision to not shield Trump administration documents from the House committee investigating the 6 January insurrection as a response to former President Donald Trump’s abuse of the office he once held.

In response to a question regarding the lawsuit former President Trump filed against the House Select Committee to Investigate the 6 January Attack on the Capitol and the National Archives in hopes of blocking the committee from receiving documents created before and during the 6 January riot, Ms Psaki said Mr Biden’s actions are a response to the “unique and existential threat” posed by Mr Trump’s actions.

“Our view – and I think the view of the vast majority of Americans – is that former President Trump abused the office of the presidency and attempted to subvert a peaceful transfer of power, something that had happened between democratic and Republican presidencies for decades and decades throughout history,” Ms Psaki said.

“The former president’s actions represented a unique and existential threat to our democracy that we don’t feel can be swept under the rug, and as President Biden determined … the constitutional protections of executive privilege should not be used to shield information. That reflects a clear and apparent effort to subvert the constitution itself.”

The committee, composed of seven Democrats and Republicans Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, has requested access scores of documents held by the National Archives that were created in the White House, both in the run-up to 6 January as well as records created on that day — including phone logs, emails, calendars and other documents related to the rally that preceded the riot and the counting of electoral votes which the rioters hoped to stop.

It has also issued subpoenas to several of Mr Trump’s former advisers, including ex-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, former Deputy Chief of Staff Daniel Scavino, former Defence Department official Kashyap Patel, and ex-White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon.

While Messrs Meadows, Scavino, and Patel are reportedly engaging with the committee, attorneys for Mr Bannon say he will not cooperate on orders from Mr Trump, and the committee is set to vote on a criminal contempt of Congress resolution this evening.

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