Former US President Donald Trump has dug his toes in after a demand from Joe Biden, accusing his successor of being “drunk on power”
Former US President Donald Trump has fired another volley at Joe Biden over an upcoming legal showdown regarding the Capitol riot in Washington D.C. on January 6.
Today the Biden White House announced it had rejected Mr Trump’s assertion of executive privilege over documents requested by the congressional committee investigating the riot.
It means the committee will be granted access to records documenting the former president’s actions and communications while his supporters stormed Congress in an attempt to overturn the 2020 election result.
Mr Trump’s lawyers had asked for the records to be withheld.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki flagged the White House’s decision to reject Mr Trump’s claim of executive privilege two weeks ago, when she said Mr Biden had already concluded it “would not be appropriate”.
“We have been working closely with the congressional committee and others as they get to the bottom of what happened on January 6, an incredibly dark day in our democracy,” Ms Psaki said at a White House briefing.
Now the White House has formally authorised the National Archives to turn over the documents, which may include records relating to his Twitter messages, phone and visitor logs, and any videos and photos of events he participated in.
It also includes documents relating to the former vice president Mike Pence’s movements and security. Mr Pence became a target of the mob when he refused to use his role presiding over the joint session of Congress to unilaterally reject Mr Biden’s election win.
Over 600 people have been charged for their participation in the January 6 riots, which saw hordes of Trump supporters breach the Capitol and search for members of Congress. They missed several high profile politicians, including Mr Pence, by a matter of seconds.
Mr Trump blasted the Democratic Party in a lengthy statement today, accusing Mr Biden and the rest of his party of being “drunk on power”. He equated the riot investigation to previous “witch hunts” against his presidency.
In Mr Trump’s telling, he sent a letter to the National Archives asserting executive privilege “in defence of the office of the presidency, the Constitution, vital principles of separation of powers, and on behalf of our great nation”.
“The Radical Left Democrats tried the RUSSIA Witch Hunt, they tried the fake impeachments, and now they are trying once again to use Congress to persecute their political opponents,” he said.
“Their requests are not based in law or reality — it’s just a game to these politicians. They don’t care about our country or the American people. The Democrats are drunk on power, but this dangerous assault on our Constitution and important legal precedent will not work.”
Mr Trump, who has spent the this year repeatedly hinting he will run for president again under the banner “Save America”, still maintains he won in 2020.
He’s accused the Democrats of using the January 6 investigation to hurt his chances of being elected in the future.
“This Committee’s fake investigation is not about January 6th any more than the Russia Hoax was about Russia,” he continued.
“Instead, this is about using the power of the government to silence ‘Trump’ and our Make America Great Again movement, the greatest such achievement of all time.
“We won two elections, did far better in the second than the first, and now perhaps have to do it a third time!”
Mr Biden won the electoral college vote 306-232, easily clearing the threshold of 270 required to claim victory last year. He won the popular vote by a margin of 81 million votes to Mr Trump’s 74 million.
Mr Trump never substantiated his claims that the result was tainted by fraud, and judges of all political persuasions – including several appointed by him – repeatedly threw his post-election lawsuits out of court, citing a lack of evidence.
“It is also about trying to deflect blame from Biden’s surrender in Afghanistan and the failures to address Covid, the border, crime, and the economy that is leaving Americans dead or broke,” Mr Trump continued.
“It’s another grand distraction, because Biden and the Democrats don’t want you to see how badly America is losing due to their incompetence.”
The current administration has made it clear it is working at full capacity to ensure events like January 6th never take place on US soil again.
“These are unique and extraordinary circumstances,” White House Counsel Dana Remus said in a letter to the National Archives saying an assertion of executive privilege “is not in the best interest of the United States”.
“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.”