The White House said Friday that the “heart of our democracy” is at stake and President Joe Biden fully supports the work of the congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection.
Watch Jean-Pierre’s remarks in the player above.
Democrat Biden has agreed to a request from Congress seeking sensitive information on the actions of his predecessor Donald Trump and his aides during the Jan. 6 insurrection, though the former president claims the information is guarded by executive privilege.
The move by Biden isn’t the final word; Republican Trump says he will challenge the requests and a lengthy legal battle is likely to ensue over the information. Courts have ruled that former presidents are afforded executive privilege in some cases
Deputy White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the investigation is “something that’s important to the president… in making sure that we get to the bottom of this.”
Speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One as President Biden traveled to Windsor Locks, Connecticut, Jean-Pierre said the White House has been “pretty clear on this.” Biden believes “January 6 was an attack at the heart of our democracy.”
A congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection has moved aggressively against close Trump adviser Steve Bannon, swiftly scheduling a vote to recommend criminal contempt charges against the former White House aide after he defied a subpoena.
The chairman of the special committee, Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., said the panel will vote Tuesday to recommend charges against Bannon, an adviser to Donald Trump for years who was in touch with the president ahead of the most serious assault on Congress in two centuries.
“The Select Committee will not tolerate defiance of our subpoenas,” Thompson said in a statement Thursday. Bannon, he said, is “hiding behind the former president’s insufficient, blanket and vague statements regarding privileges he has purported to invoke. We reject his position entirely.”
If approved by the Democratic-majority committee, the recommendation of criminal charges would go to the full House. Approval there would send them to the Justice Department, which has final say on prosecution.
Meanwhile Biden is set to highlight his plan to lower the cost of child care for most American families as he makes the case for his stalled social spending bill during a visit to Connecticut on Friday.
Talks between the White House and members of Congress continue, as they try to reach consensus both on the total spending level for the legislation and what particular programs should be included. Objections by centrist Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema are forcing Democrats to shrink the package from Biden’s proposed $3.5 trillion to closer to $2 trillion.
The fate of that legislation, branded “Build Back Better” by Biden, is also holding up a more than $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill that passed the Senate this summer.
House progressives are balking at supporting that bill until agreement is reached on a path forward on the social safety net package.
Jean-Pierre said that legislative negotiations take time, “we expect both bills to pass.”
“We are optimistic, and we are hopeful this is just part of the democratic process,” she added.