The lawsuit is to block the release of documents to the January 6th Committee.
Former President Donald Trump has filed a lawsuit against Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s select U.S. House committee investigating the actions of January 6th to halt the release of presidential documents. Trump also named Mississippi’s Democrat Congressman and Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson in the suit as well as the National Archives and archivist David Ferriero. The National Archives are where the records are stored.
Trump’s lawsuit begins by arguing that the January 6th Committee has decided to harass the former President and senior members of his administration by sending “an illegal, unfounded, and overbroad records request to the Archivist of the United 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 lawsuit states. “The request also seeks records with no reasonable connection to the events of that day.”
Trump says President Joe Biden has refused to assert executive privilege over the documents in a “political ploy to accommodate his partisan allies,” saying the January 6th Committee’s request “amounts to nothing less than a vexatious, illegal fishing expedition openly endorsed by Biden and designed to unconstitutionally investigate” Trump and his administration.
Committee Chairman Thompson and his Vice Chair Liz Cheney (R-WY) issued a statement following the filing of the Trump lawsuit, saying that the former President’s actions were nothing more than an attempt to delay and obstruct their probe.
“Precedent and law are on our side. Executive privilege is not absolute and President Biden has so far declined to invoke that privilege,” Thompson and Cheney asserted. “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.”
The two went on to say that the House Select Committee’s authority to seek these records is clear in their minds.
“We’ll fight the former President’s attempt to obstruct our investigation while we continue to push ahead successfully with our probe on a number of other fronts,” Thompson and Cheney said in their statement.
Trump’s lawsuit is challenging the Congressional authority Thompson and Cheney claim, arguing that they are ignoring the constitutional limits on Congress’s power to investigate.
“Article I of the Constitution does not contain an ‘Investigations Clause’ or an ‘Oversight Clause.’ It gives Congress the power to enact certain legislation,” Trump’s suit says. “Accordingly, investigations are permissible only insofar as they further some legitimate legislative purpose. As the Supreme Court recognized in shooting down another congressional fishing expedition directed at President Trump’s records, such legitimate legislative purposes do not include ‘law enforcement’ powers ‘assigned under our Constitution to the Executive and the Judiciary,’ inquiry into private affairs, or ‘to expose for the sake of exposure.'”
The lawsuit goes further, noting that there is nothing in the overwhelming majority of the records the Committee is wanting that could “reasonably be justified as a means of facilitating the legislative task of enacting, amending, or repealing laws.”
You can read the full lawsuit filed by former President Trump below.