WASHINGTON — Former President Donald Trump has sued to block any handover of documents sought from the National Archives by the congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot.
The suit names both the committee and the National Archives as defendants. It says the committee's subpoena is invalid because the committee has no power of investigation. And it says the material should be protected by executive privilege.
The House committee requested documents in March and August from the National Archives that it said were related to the Trump administration's actions before, during and after the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, when a group of Trump's supporters attacked the building in hope of blocking his electoral defeat. Trump notified the National Archives that he formally asserted executive privilege.
President Joe Biden, however, concluded that the privilege should not apply. The White House counsel, Dana Remus, said the documents "shed light on events within the White House on and about January 6 and bear on the Select Committee's need to understand the facts underlying the most serious attack on the operations of the Federal government since the Civil War."
White House spokesperson Michael Gwin said in response to the lawsuit that Trump "abused the office of the presidency and attempted to subvert a peaceful transfer of power. The former president'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."
Trump's lawsuit described the Biden administration's waiver as "a myopic, political maneuver designed to maintain the support of its political rivals."
The lawsuit also said the committee's request for documents is far too broad, describing it as "almost limitless in scope" and in many aspects "with no reasonable connection to the events of that day." It argued, as did several Trump lawsuits when he was in office, that Congress can obtain information only for the purpose of legislating, because it has no general power of investigation.
The lawsuit was filed by an Alexandria, Virginia, lawyer, Jesse Binnall, who is representing Trump in four civil lawsuits filed over the Jan. 6 riot. He joined Texas lawyer Sidney Powell in representing Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser. And he represented Trump in an unsuccessful lawsuit seeking to overturn Biden's victory in Nevada.