Jen Psaki Says Biden Has 'No Intention to Lead an Insurrection' While Explaining Decision to Release Documents

The press secretary says the White House wants to help the committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol "get to the bottom" of an "incredibly dark day"

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki holds the daily press briefing in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC, February 3, 2021
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki. Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty

President Joe Biden isn't worried about a decision to release documents related to the Jan. 6 insurrection coming back to haunt him.

During a briefing with reporters Thursday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked if the administration is concerned about setting a precedent by handing over information to the committee investigating the attack on the U.S Capitol.

Former President Donald Trump, whose supporters stormed the building in Washington in January, has cited executive privilege in his objection to the release of certain documents, according to the Washington Post.

With help from the Office of Legal Counsel at the Department of Justice and White House counsel Dana Remus, Biden, 78, determined that an assertion of executive privilege in the Jan. 6 matter is not in the best interest of the country, CNN reports.

"Has there been any concern or conversation about what might happen one day when the shoe is on the other foot?" CBS News reporter Ed O'Keefe asked at Thursday's briefing.

"This President has no intention to lead an insurrection on our nation's Capitol," Psaki said, in a not-so-veiled dig at the former president.

Trump, 75, also reportedly told aides who've been subpoenaed by the committee not to comply with the demands to testify and turn over documents. One of the Trump aides, Steve Bannon, missed his deadline on Thursday, prompting the committee to announce a vote next Tuesday to move forward with charges of criminal contempt.

"You can understand that you're opening, potentially, a Pandora's box here by setting this precedent," O'Keefe said in a follow-up comment to Psaki.

"Actually," she replied, "we don't see it that way."

Psaki explained White House reasoning, saying, "It is ultimately important for people to understand and remember that January 6th was an incredibly dark day — one of the darkest days in our democracy … What we're talking about here is getting to the bottom of that."

Psaki went on to say that the administration will act with caution when it comes to releasing documents.

"We're going to assess and review, as is standard in the process, the documents and any efforts to exert executive privilege on a case-by-case basis," Psaki said. "We'll provide you updates on those as those processes proceed. And we will continue, as it relates to executive privilege for other issues, to evaluate that on a case-by-case basis, as every White House has in the past."

Before moving on to other questions, Psaki addressed the unprecedented nature of the very attack that the committee is investigating. "The uniqueness of that, I think, is important context," she said.

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