Joe Biden Orders Release of Donald Trump's Jan. 6 Visitor Logs: Executive Privilege 'Not Justified'

·3 min read
Joe Biden, Donald Trump
Joe Biden, Donald Trump

Alex Wong/Getty; SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Joe Biden (left) and Donald Trump

As the saga of Donald Trump's White House records continues to unravel, President Joe Biden has determined that call logs from Jan. 6, 2021 — the day a large group of violent Trump supporters breached the U.S. Capitol — should be handed over to investigators looking into the deadly riots.

In a letter sent to the National Archives, White House Counsel Dana Remus said Biden rejected claims by the former president that the logs were subjected to executive privilege.

"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, as to these records and portions of records," the letter — obtained by outlets including ABC News — states.

According to the letter, the "records in question" include "entries in visitor logs showing appointment information for individuals who were processed to enter the White House complex, including on January 6, 2021." The letter advises the Archives to provide those pages within 15 days.

Trump previously lost a legal challenge to prevent the release of documents to the committee investigating the events of Jan. 6, 2021, with the Supreme Court rejecting the former president's request to block records.

The Biden administration, Remus writes, discloses its own visitor logs on a monthly basis.

RELATED: The Saga of Trump's White House Records: 'Top Secret' Files Stashed at Mar-a-Lago, Gaps in Jan. 6 Call Logs

The news about the call logs comes shortly after the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) confirmed that in January, 15 boxes that contained presidential records were removed from Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, where the former president resides.

According to The Washington Post, some of those documents contained information that is extremely sensitive and that only a small group of U.S. officials would have the authority to view — raising questions about how Trump and his administration handled official documents that are protected by the Presidential Records Act.

"These records should have been transferred to NARA from the White House at the end of the Trump Administration in January 2021," the agency said in a statement last week, in reference to the 15 boxes of documents.

Trump denied any wrongdoing in a statement, saying, "It was a great honor to work with NARA to help formally preserve the Trump Legacy. The papers were given easily and without conflict and on a very friendly basis, which is different from the accounts being drawn up by the Fake News Media. In fact, it was viewed as routine and 'no big deal.' In actuality, I have been told I was under no obligation to give this material based on various legal rulings that have been made over the years."

RELATED: Trump Had a Habit of Ripping Up Presidential Documents — Like Those Sent to Jan. 6 Investigators

Recent reports have alleged that Trump has a history of destroying documents. In her forthcoming book, for instance, New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman writes that Trump's White House toilet was frequently clogged with what appeared to be printed papers.

The report, Trump said, was "categorically untrue and simply made up by a reporter in order to get publicity for a mostly fictitious book," though the former president has destroyed documents in some form or fashion in the past.

Earlier this month, the National Archives confirmed that some of the files it received from the administration "included paper records that had been torn up by former President Trump."

Some of those taped-up documents were reportedly among the more than 700 pages turned over to lawmakers investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riots.

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