On Monday, Donald Trump filed a lawsuit against the January 6 select committee to block the panel from getting his administration’s records from the National Archives.
“The Committee’s request amounts to nothing less than a vexatious, illegal fishing expedition openly endorsed by Biden and designed to investigate President Trump and his administration unconstitutionally,” the lawsuit stated. “Our laws do not permit such an impulsive, egregious action against a former President and his close advisors.”
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In August, the committee requested that the National Archives give an exhaustive list of records from Trump’s stay in office and the aftermath of the Capitol riot.
Biden refused to give executive privilege over some requested records. Former president’s lawyers stated that Trump had an interest in preserving this privilege over some specific documents.
“As it relates to any materials being sought in situations like this, where fundamental privileges and constitutional issues are at stake and where a committee has declined to grant sufficient time to conduct a full review, there is a longstanding, bipartisan tradition of protective assertions of executive privilege designed to ensure the ability to make a final assertion, if necessary, over some or all of the requested material,” the lawsuit continued.
Chair Bennie Thompson and Vice-Chair Liz Cheney stated that the committee vowed to fight Trump’s attempt to obstruct their investigation.
“The former President’s clear objective is to stop the Select Committee from getting to the facts about January 6, and his lawsuit is nothing more than an attempt to delay and obstruct our probe. Precedent and law are on our side. Executive privilege is not absolute and, President Biden has so far declined to invoke that privilege,” their statement continued.
“Additionally, there’s a long history of the White House accommodating congressional investigative requests when the public interest outweighs other concerns. It’s hard to imagine a more compelling public interest than trying to get answers about an attack on our democracy and an attempt to overturn the results of an election.”
No one can predict how Trump’s case will fare in court. The Supreme Court ordered that ex-presidents have specific authority to assert executive privilege; however, the full scope hasn’t been addressed by the courts.
If the court decides that Donald Trump can assert executive privilege over specific documents, still the judges will have to weigh the ex-president’s interest in confidentiality against the committee’s investigative need for the records.
The complaint’s targets are Thompson, the committee, US Archivist David Ferriero, and the NARA.
The lawsuit states that the committee hasn’t provided a legitimate legislative purpose for the documents that would override Trump’s assertion of executive privilege.
Taylor Budowich tweeted: “Today, President Trump filed a lawsuit in defense of the Constitution, the Office of the President, and the future of our nation, all of which the sham Unselect Committee is trying to destroy.”
“The sweeping request from the committee asked the Archives to turn over documents and communications from within the White House “relating in any way” to Trump’s wife, children and a who’s who of aides within Trump’s orbit, ranging from high-ranking White House officials to advisers such as Rudy Giuliani.” The Hill reported.
This Tuesday, the committee is scheduled to vote whether to continue with the criminal contempt referral for Steve Bannon declining to comply with a subpoena for his testimony.
“We must accept his direction and honor his invocation of executive privilege. As such, until these issues are resolved, we are unable to respond to your request for documents and testimony,” Robert Costello, Bannon’s attorney, stated. “We will comply with the direction of the courts.”
The other associates of Trump subpoenaed along Bannon are said to be engaging with the committee.