At the conclusion of a speech President Joe Biden gave on Wednesday regarding student loan debt relief, he responded to a single question from the press, stating that he had no advance warning of the FBI raid at former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence earlier this month.
This despite a letter in April stating that Biden had empowered the National Archives to to waive any claims of executive privilege that Trump might declare to block the DOJ from accessing any documents remaining in his possession.
"Mr. President, how much advance notice did you have of the FBI’s plan to search Mar-a-Lago?" Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy asked as Biden was preparing to leave.
"I didn’t have any advance notice," Biden responded. "None. Zero. Not one single bit."
The response from Biden echoed a similar sentiment expressed by the White House shortly after the raid.
In a White House press conference the day following the raid, Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre stated: "No, the president was not briefed, was not aware of it. No, no one at the White House was given a heads up. No, that did not happen."
Despite these claims from both Biden and the White House, it has since been revealed that those within the President’s office had worked directly with the Department of Justice and the National Archives to begin the criminal probe into the alleged mishandling of documents by Trump.
Then-White House Deputy Counsel Jonathan Su was revealed top have been in discussions with the DOJ as early as April along with the FBI and the National Archives, shortly after 15 boxes of classified and other documents were voluntarily returned from Trump's Florida home to Archive officials.
Su had told the Archives by May that Biden would not object to waiving his predecessor's claims to executive privilege.
A letter from acting National Archivist Debra Steidel Wall to Trump defense attorney Evan Corcoran dated May 10 read, "On April 11, 2022, the White House Counsel's Office — affirming a request from the Department of Justice supported by an FBI letterhead memorandum — formally transmitted a request that NARA provides the FBI access to the 15 boxes for its review within seven days, with the possibility that the FBI might request copies of specific documents following its review of the boxes."
Wall wrote, "The Counsel to the President has informed me that, in light of the particular circumstances presented here, President Biden defers to my determination, in consultation with the Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel, regarding whether or not I should uphold the former President's purported 'protective assertion of executive privilege.”
"... I have therefore decided not to honor the former President's 'protective' claim of privilege."
Wall’s letter to Corcoran also stated that a Watergate-era ruling suggested Biden had the authority to waive Trump's privileges.
"The Supreme Court's decision in Nixon v. Administrator of General Services, 433 U.S. 425 (1977), strongly suggests that a former President may not successfully assert executive privilege 'against the very Executive Branch in whose name the privilege is invoked.'"
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