The House select committee is temporarily backing off on its request for some of Donald Trump's White House records.
The National Archives have already determined the documents were relevant to the panel's Jan. 6 investigation, but lawmakers and aides say they want to avoid a possibly lengthy negotiation over records related to the U.S. Capitol riot that might be legitimately protected by executive or attorney-client privilege, reported Politico.
"We're in a hurry," said panel member Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA). "We don't want to get hung up."
House investigators decided to "defer" their request after discussions with President Joe Biden's White House, but it's not clear whether the pause came at the administration's request or based on the panel's own analysis.
"We are not acknowledging privilege in any of these cases — especially because President Biden is failing to assert an executive privilege — and we don't think that trying to overthrow the U.S. government is something that triggers executive privilege," said panel member Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD). "It's hard to see that as part of the official duties of a president."
Trump has made sweeping claims of executive privilege over all of his White House records, but Biden has rejected most of those requests, and a spokesman for the panel said the deferred request for these documents was temporary.
"The Select Committee has not withdrawn its request for those records and will continue to engage with the executive branch to ensure we get access to all the information relevant to our probe," said committee spokesman Tim Mulvey.
It's not clear what this particular set of documents cover, and the decision to delay the request does not seem to be based on a privilege claim by the twice-impeached one-term president, and White House counsel Dana Remus told the National Archives it should provide any of those 50 pages when the panel asks for them.
"In the course of the accommodation process between Congress and the Executive Branch, the select committee has deferred its request for the following responsive records," Remus wrote to archivists.