Trump to invoke executive privilege in Jan.6 U.S. inquiry – .

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Trump to invoke executive privilege in Jan.6 House inquiry – .


WASHINGTON – Donald Trump intends to assert executive privilege in a congressional inquiry into the Jan.6 insurgency on the U.S. Capitol, a move that could prevent the testimony of former aides, according to a letter on behalf of the former president.

The letter was addressed to at least some witnesses who were subpoenaed by the House committee and it is clear that Trump is considering invoking privileges designed to protect presidential communications from sharing with Congress. The substance of a Trump attorney’s letter was described Thursday by someone close to him who spoke on condition of anonymity to The Associated Press because the letter was not yet public.

Trump spokespersons did not immediately return messages seeking comment. Trump said in a statement last month that he would “fight subpoenas on executive privilege and other grounds, for the good of our country.”

The move sets the stage for a likely clash with House Democrats who are investigating the roles of Trump and his allies in the run-up to the riot, when a large crowd of Trump supporters burst into the then Capitol. that Congress certified the results of the presidential election won by Democrat Joe Biden. The committee is quickly issuing subpoenas to people who are either tied to Trump or who helped plan the massive January 6 morning rally in which he told his supporters to “fight like hell.”

The committee, which was formed over the summer, issued subpoenas last month to Mark Meadows, Trump’s former chief of staff; Dan Scavino, the former deputy chief of staff for communications; Kashyap Patel, a former Defense Ministry official; and Steve Bannon, a former Trump adviser. It was not immediately clear how these witnesses would react to Trump’s action or what consequences they might face if they refused to cooperate.

Patel said in a statement that he “will continue to tell the truth to the American people on January 6”. He didn’t say if he would comply.

Committee members said they plan to try to act quickly to obtain testimony and documents if witnesses refuse to cooperate. Representative Adam Schiff, D-Calif., Tweeted that if Trump’s associates do not comply, “they may be subject to criminal contempt.”

Charging Trump associates with contempt could still be a long process, including votes from across the House and potential court proceedings.

Because Trump is no longer in office, he cannot directly assert the privilege of keeping witnesses silent or documents out of the hands of Congress. As current president, Biden will have his say on the matter.

The committee issued more than a dozen subpoenas to people linked to plans for the January 6 protests, including three additional witnesses announced Thursday. These people would be less likely to get help from Trump’s claims of executive privilege, which would be limited to people who worked in the White House.

The chairman of the committee, Representative Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., Said subpoenas had been issued to Ali Abdul Akbar, also known as Ali Alexander, and Nathan Martin, as well as to the ‘Stop the Steal’ organization, to learn more about a rally that was scheduled on Capitol grounds at the same time as the large rally on the National Mall. The committee had previously assigned 11 other people related to the planning of this larger gathering.

According to the committee, Alexander released a statement after the riot linking “Stop the Steal” to the Capitol assembly permit and explaining that the intention was to order participants of the larger gathering to march towards the Capitol. The panel cited reports that Alexander had referred to “the possible use of violence to achieve organizational goals” and had been in communication with the White House and members of Congress.

“The rally on the Capitol grounds on January 6, like the rally near the White House that day, immediately preceded the violent attack on the headquarters of our democracy,” Thompson said in a statement. “During this day, the demonstrations escalated into violence and the demonstrators became rioters. “

Thompson said the committee “needs to understand all the details of the events leading up to the attack, including who was involved in their planning and funding.”

Alexander claimed lawmakers helped him plan the rally that led to the siege on Capitol Hill. He has been in Trump’s orbit for a few years, even being a participant in Trump’s July 2019 “Presidential Social Media Summit” which included dozens of other far-right conservative and provocative voices.

In October 2020, the Arizona Republican Party appeared to ask its supporters to consider giving their lives to keep Trump in power, retweeting Alexander’s promise on Twitter that he was “ready to give my life for this. combat ”.

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Associated Press editors Jill Colvin, Ben Fox, and Farnoush Amiri contributed to this report.

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