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Trump sues Jan. 6 committee to block records request

Former president calls request for records on failed insurrection at Capitol a 'vexatious, illegal fishing expedition openly endorsed by Biden.'

Former President Donald Trump sued the Jan. 6 select committee and the National Archives on Monday, claiming that the committee’s request for records surrounding the failed insurrection is overly broad and illegal. 

“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,” the lawsuit, filed in federal court in Washington, reads. 

Monday’s lawsuit marks Trump’s latest attempt to disrupt the House’s investigation into the circumstances and events leading up to Jan. 6 — as the former president has already attempted to block former aides from testifying by claiming executive privilege. 

Trump says that the privilege, which is a president’s right to shield certain documents from the public’s view, still applies to him though he is out of office. 

Now Trump’s lawyers are claiming the same privilege yet again, asking a federal judge to invalidate the Democratic-led committee’s request and block the National Archives from turning any material over to Congress — at least until the lawyers review the records in their entirety, a process which could take years. 

The lawsuit claims the committee’s 50 individual requests for records could include conversations with foreign leaders, sensitive national security secrets and a number of privileged communications involving potentially hundreds of people. 

“Many of the records are clearly protected by executive privilege and other privileges,” Trump claims in his lawsuit. “The committee is attempting to damage the republic itself, and the citizens of the United States, for executive privilege ‘safeguards the public interest in candid, confidential deliberations within the Executive Branch; it is ‘fundamental to the operation of Government.’”

President Joe Biden has declined to claim executive privilege for the first batch of documents from Trump’s tenure, a decision which Trump’s team says is directly contrary to long-standing Supreme Court precedent regarding executive privilege. The head of archives is slated to consider the other requests on a rolling basis. 

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“Notably, the Biden administration’s waiver of executive privilege is a myopic, political maneuver designed to maintain the support of its political rivals and is not based on any discernible legal principle,” the lawsuit says. 

Named defendants include the committee’s chairman Representative Bennie Thompson of Mississippi and National Archivist David Ferriero, in addition to the archives and committee themselves. Attorney Jesse Binnall represents Trump in the action.

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Trump says that executive privilege, which is a president’s right to shield certain documents from the public’s view, still applies to him though he is out of office.

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