Jan. 6 Committee Defers to Biden, Won't Get Some Trump Records Due to Security Concerns

The January 6 House committee agreed to defer their request for obtaining some records from the Donald Trump administration after President Joe Biden said releasing all the documents could compromise national security.

Biden cited concerns that releasing hundreds of pages of records from the Trump administration could breach national security and compromise executive privilege.

Biden is said to be protecting some documents from being handed over to the House committee that were created on January 6 and contain sensitive information that isn't relevant to the capitol riots.

Officials working for Biden said some documents from the National Security Council have sensitive preparation information and deliberations. They are concerned that, if the pages were given to Congress, such a move could create problems for the executive branch, no matter who the acting president is.

Jonathan Su, the White House deputy counsel, wrote to the committee that holding back some documents "should not compromise its ability to complete its critical investigation expeditiously."

Regarding the highly classified documents that are allowed to be seen by the committee, the White House has asked for Congress to talk with the federal agencies that created the documents about releasing the information.

Trump has tried to cite executive privilege and is trying to block the release of documents from January 6. He wants the visitor logs, presidential diaries and speech drafts, among other things, to be blocked, the National Archives said.

House Committee Capitol Riot
The House committee created to look into the January 6 Capitol riot agreed to defer their request for records from the Trump administration after President Joe Biden expressed concerns that releasing all documents could breach national security. Above, a large group of pro-Trump protesters stands on the steps of the Capitol after storming its grounds on January 6 in Washington, D.C. Jon Cherry/Getty Images

"The documents for which the Select Committee has agreed to withdraw or defer its request do not appear to bear on the White House's preparations for or response to the events of January 6, or on efforts to overturn the election or otherwise obstruct the peaceful transfer of power," Su wrote in one of two letters to the committee obtained Tuesday by the Associated Press.

The National Archives said Trump also wanted handwritten notes "concerning the events of January 6" from the files of former chief of staff Mark Meadows and "a draft Executive Order on the topic of election integrity" to be blocked.

Trump is appealing to the Supreme Court to try to block the National Archives and Records Administration, which maintains custody of the documents from his time in office, from giving them to the committee.

The agreement to keep some Trump-era records away from the committee is memorialized in a December 16 letter from the White House counsel's office. It mostly shields records that do not involve the events of January 6 but were covered by the committee's sweeping request for documents from the Trump White House about the events of that day.

Biden has repeatedly rejected Trump's claims of executive privilege over those documents, including in a letter sent December 23 regarding about 20 pages of documents.

"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," White House counsel Dana Remus reiterated in the latest letter.

Trump has taken to the courts to block the document releases. A federal appeals court ruled this month against Trump, and he has filed an appeal to the Supreme Court, though the high court has yet to decide whether to take up the case.

Judge Patricia Millett, writing for the court in the December 9 opinion, said Congress had a "uniquely vital interest" in studying the events of January 6 and that Biden had made a "carefully reasoned" determination that the documents were in the public interest and that executive privilege should therefore not be invoked. Trump also failed to show any harm that would occur from the release of the sought-after records, Millett wrote.

"On the record before us, former President Trump has provided no basis for this court to override President Biden's judgment and the agreement and accommodations worked out between the political branches over these documents," the opinion stated.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

The House Committee Defers to Biden
President Joe Biden is said to be protecting some documents from being handed over to the House committee that were created on January 6 and contain sensitive information that isn't relevant to the Capitol riots. Above, violent insurrectionists loyal to then-President Donald Trump climb the west wall of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on January 6. Jose Luis Magana/AP Photo