Trump Attacks Jan. 6 Panel, Biden in Lawsuit Over Records

Former president tries to keep files from being released to the committee
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 18, 2021 7:50 PM CDT
Trump Attacks Jan. 6 Panel, Biden in Lawsuit Over Records
The National Archives was named in former President Trump's lawsuit filed Monday.   (Getty/Willard)

(Newser) – Accusing the House panel seeking his records related to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol of harassment, former President Trump sued the committee and the National Archives on Monday. Jesse Binnall, a Trump attorney, wrote that the committee is harassing Trump "by sending an illegal, unfounded, and overbroad records request to the Archivist of the United States," ABC reports. President Biden had declined Trump's request to block the release by exerting a claim of executive privilege, and the Trump filing included him in its criticism, calling the decision "a political ploy to accommodate his partisan allies."

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Trump's filing makes arguments concerning:

  • Legality. The broad request is an attempt to unconstitutionally investigate Trump, the lawyer wrote. "Our laws do not permit such an impulsive, egregious action against a former President and his close advisors," the filing says.
  • Relevance. There's no legitimate legislative purpose for the congressional request, the filing says, giving the example of information to be used in writing a bill, per the Washington Post.
  • Time. Trump's team hasn't been given enough time by the committee to review the records it wants, the filing says.
  • Next steps. The district court should toss out the committee's request and enjoin the National Archives from turning over the files, the filing says.

Stephen Gillers, a New York University law professor, called the suit an obvious attempt to stall the committee until the 2022 congressional elections, when Republicans could take control of the House. He wondered how long the courts will allow that before imposing sanctions, per the Post. "The credibility of the federal judiciary is at stake," Gillers said. Laurence Tribe of Harvard said a judge might indeed narrow the request to fewer records. But he found it a “very weak complaint" overall. "The idea that Congress has no legitimate purpose in making this request is almost insane," Tribe said. (Read more Donald Trump stories.)

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