Archivist of the United States
National Archives and Records Administration 700 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.
Washington, D.C., 20408
Dear Mr. Ferriero,
I write in response to your notification of September 8, 2021, regarding a set of documents requested by the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol (the “Documents”), and provided to the White House for review pursuant to the Presidential Records Act. After my consultations with the Office of Legal Counsel at the Department of Justice, President Biden 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 any of the Documents.
As President Biden has stated, the insurrection that took place on January 6, and the extraordinary events surrounding it, must be subject to a full accounting to ensure nothing similar ever happens again. Congress has a compelling need in service of its legislative functions to understand the circumstances that led to these horrific events. The available evidence to date establishes a sufficient factual predicate for the Select Committee’s investigation: an unprecedented effort to obstruct the peaceful transfer of power, threatening not only the safety of Congress and others present at the Capitol, but also the principles of democracy enshrined in our history and our Constitution. The Documents shed light on events within the White House on and about January 6 and bear on the Select Committee’s need to understand the facts underlying the most serious attack on the operations of the Federal Government since the Civil War.
These are unique and extraordinary circumstances. Congress is examining an assault on our Constitution and democratic institutions provoked and fanned by those sworn to protect them, and the conduct under investigation extends far beyond typical deliberations concerning the proper discharge of the President’s constitutional responsibilities. The constitutional protections of executive privilege should not be used to shield, from Congress or the public, information that reflects a clear and apparent effort to subvert the Constitution itself.
The President’s determination applies solely to the Documents as described herein, which were provided to the White House on September 8, 2021. We continue to review materials you provided to the White House after that date and will respond at an appropriate time.
We understand that the former President believes that executive privilege should be asserted with respect to a subset of the Documents. When you notify us of such an assertion, we will respond accordingly.
Dana A. Remus
Counsel to the President