WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden has directed the National Archives to send White House visitor logs from the Trump administration to the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
Former President Donald Trump was trying to block the release of the records, but White House counsel Dana Remus said in a letter to National Archivist David Ferriero on Tuesday that the president rejects Trump's claim that the visitor logs from his time in office are subject to executive privilege.
Remus said the records agency should hand over the documents in just over two weeks "in light of the urgency" of the committee's investigation.
"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," Remus wrote in the letter, which was obtained Wednesday by NBC News. "The records in question are 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 noted that the Biden administration voluntarily discloses White House visitor logs each month, a practice that was also followed under the Obama administration. The New York Times first reported the news about Biden's decision.
Remus also said Biden wants the National Archives to provide the documents 15 days after notification to the former president unless a court prohibits it.
Ferriero informed Trump in a letter Wednesday that he would deliver the records to the committee on March 3, barring such a court order. He added that the panel had agreed to keep sensitive appointments confidential and to accept the documents with Social Security numbers and birth dates removed to ensure that the private personal information of visitors is not inadvertently disclosed.
In 2017, Trump White House officials said it would be keeping most of its visitor logs secret, citing "the grave national security risks and privacy concerns of the hundreds of thousands of visitors annually" as the reason.
The Jan. 6 committee has intensified its investigation into the attack on the Capitol in recent months. On Tuesday, the panel subpoenaed a half-dozen people who it said were involved in organizing slates of “alternate electors“ to challenge Biden's 2020 election victory.
The committee is trying to piece together information on the events leading up to Jan. 6 and what occurred on the day of the riot. Last week, NBC reported that White House records obtained by the committee don’t show any phone calls to or from Trump on Jan. 6., including some the panel knows he made with Republican lawmakers during the hourslong period after his speech on the Ellipse that day.