Former President Donald Trump is suing the Democrat-led House select committee investigating the January 6 breach of the U.S. Capitol and the National Archives in an effort to block the National Archives from turning over documents from his presidency to the committee.
Trump’s lawsuit filed Monday cites executive privilege as his reason for suing to stop the turnover of documents. His lawsuit states, “This self-described ‘sweeping’ request is almost limitless in scope and effectively seeks every presidential record and communication that could tenuously relate to events that occurred on January 6, 2021. The request also seeks records with no reasonable connection to the events of that day.”
The lawsuit comes after the Democrat-led House committee, formally titled “the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol,” requested information involving Trump and dozens of advisors, including a request for all documents and communications between Trump his private counsel, his Chief of Staff, his Campaign Managers, other senior campaign officials, and more than forty other advisors, reaching as far back as April 2020. The committee’s requests also called for the release of Trump’s full speech to supporters who gathered in Washington D.C. on January 6th, as well as any unused drafts.
Earlier this month, NPR reported President Joe Biden authorized the National Archive to begin sharing documents with the House committee. Last week, Biden said his Department of Justice should prosecute anyone who defies the House committee’s subpoenas, The Hill reported.
Trump’s lawsuit says, “The Committee’s request amounts to nothing less than a vexatious, illegal fishing expedition openly endorsed by Biden and designed to unconstitutionally investigate President Trump and his administration.”
In an emailed statement, Trump spokesman Taylor Budowich said the committee’s requests also called for the Trump campaign’s internal polling data from Florida; a state he won by three points despite lagging behind Biden in several public polls in the lead up to the election.
“The legislative committees’ request fails to meet the basic requirement of fulfilling a legislative purpose. The request is not just overly broad, it requests documents including campaign polling data,” Budowich wrote. “What does Congress hope to learn from this?
Budowich also described the committee’s investigative tactics as an effort to distract from controversial issues facing the Biden administration, such as their handling of issues like the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, rising inflation, tens of thousands of migrants crossing the U.S. southern border, controversial COVID mandates and a stalled legislative agenda.
In a statement to NPR, the Biden White House accused Trump of an effort to subvert the Constitution. White House spokesperson Michael Gwin said Trump’s “actions represented a unique — and existential — threat to our democracy that can’t be swept under the rug. As President Biden determined, the constitutional protections of executive privilege should not be used to shield information that reflects a clear and apparent effort to subvert the Constitution itself.”
Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS), who chairs the January 6th special committee also tweeted, “Former-President Trump’s lawsuit against the @January6thCmte is typical. It is nothing more than an attempt to delay progress. The American people want truth and justice.”