Biden orders White House visitor logs be given to Jan. 6 committee, rejects Trump claim

President Trump speaks in 2019.
Former President Trump, shown in 2019, had claimed that records showing who visited the White House on Jan. 6, 2021, were subject to executive privilege. Those claims were rejected.
(Evan Vucci / Associated Press)

President Biden has instructed the National Archives to give White House visitor logs to the House Jan. 6 select committee, again rejecting his predecessor’s claims of executive privilege over documents that might shed light on last year’s deadly insurrection.

In a letter to the National Archives, White House Counsel Dana Remus said that Biden had rejected former President Trump’s claims that the visitor logs, which include who visited the White House on Jan. 6, 2021, were subject to executive privilege and that “in light of the urgency” of the committee’s work, the agency should provide the material to the committee within 15 days.

Trump sued in October to block the release of other White House documents when Biden made a similar decision not to uphold his executive privilege claims. The Supreme Court in January ordered the documents be handed over to the committee, agreeing with two lower courts that the former president’s claim of executive privilege could not outweigh the views of the current president, who supported the release.


The Congressional Research Service says anyone who engages in the “unlawful removal or destruction of government records” is subject to punishment.

Feb. 11, 2022

In the letter sent Tuesday, Remus told the National Archives that “Congress has a compelling need” to view the documents. She echoed Biden’s initial decision not to uphold Trump’s claim last year and said that “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.”

It is unclear whether Trump will attempt to block the visitor logs from being released. The White House has routinely made visitor logs public under Biden, and also did so under Trump’s predecessor, President Obama. Trump representatives did not immediately respond to a Times request for comment.

Archivist David Ferriero said in a letter Wednesday notifying Trump of the decision that the records will be provided to the committee by March 3 “unless prohibited by a court order.”

“The majority of the entries over which the former President has asserted executive privilege would be publicly released under current policy. As practice under that policy demonstrates, preserving the confidentiality of this type of record generally is not necessary to protect long-term institutional interests of the Executive Branch,” Remus said in the letter.

Jan. 6 committee investigators have obtained thousands of pages of records and hours of testimony as they build a timeline of Trump’s actions the day thousands of his supporters violently attacked police to breach the U.S. Capitol to try to stop the certification of Biden’s election victory, which Trump falsely claimed was fraudulent. They are also creating a timeline of actions he and political advisors took before and after the November election to undermine the official results and derail congressional certification.

The committee is expected to begin public hearings this spring.