While Mr. Bannon worked at the White House in 2017, he departed in August of that year, and was not an executive branch employee in the lead-up to, or on, Jan. 6. It is not clear how executive privilege — which can shield White House deliberations or documents involving the president from disclosure — would apply to any interactions he may have had with Mr. Trump related to the riot, which occurred more than three years after he left the administration.
“Steve Bannon was not in the executive branch and was not working for the president,” said Representative Jamie Raskin, Democrat of Maryland and a member of the committee. “Even if you make the assumption that Donald Trump has even a shred of executive privilege, how could that extend to Steve Bannon?”
The Biden administration said on Friday that it would not extend executive privilege, which usually applies to a sitting president, to the former president for the first batch of documents requested by the committee. That means the panel would have access to a wide range of documents it requested from the National Archives.
“As part of this process, the president has determined that an assertion of executive privilege is not warranted for the first set of documents from the Trump White House,” Jen Psaki, the White House spokeswoman, said Friday.
The development sets up a potential legal battle between Mr. Trump’s claims of executive privilege and the committee, which is scrutinizing efforts by the former president to overturn the results of the 2020 election and any connections he or his administration may have had to the rioters.
Mr. Trump said in a statement that he had sent a letter to the National Archives contesting the Biden administration’s stance, and he denounced the committee’s investigation as a “dangerous assault on our Constitution.”
Mr. Raskin, who is a constitutional law professor, said executive privilege hinges on whether national security concerns outweigh the need for government transparency. In this case, he said, they are not in conflict.