Former President Donald Trump sued federal officials Monday in a bid to block the release of records related to the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
The lawsuit targets the House special committee investigating the attack and the National Archives, accusing them of engaging in an “illegal fishing expedition.”
The suit filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia claims Mr. Trump is acting in his capacity as the 45th president, claiming executive privilege over the documents sought by the Democratic-dominated panel.
“Today, President Donald J. 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,” a spokesperson for Mr. Trump said in a statement Monday. “The fact is America is under assault by Pelosi’s Communist-style attempt to silence and destroy America First patriots through this hyper-partisan and illegitimate investigation.”
Rep. Bennie G. Thompson, Mississippi Democrat and the committee chairman, is named individually as a defendant in the case along with National Archivist David S. Ferriero. The full select committee and National Archives and Records Administration are also named as defendants.
The complaint stems from a sweeping request for Executive Branch records filed by the committee in late August across several departments under their probe into attempts to place “politically loyal personnel” in senior government positions after the Nov. 3 election, overturn the results of the election or “impede the peaceful transfer of power.”
The committee’s request for records includes “communications within and among the White House and Executive Branch agencies during the lead to January 6th and on that day.”
Mr. Trump’s legal team claims that the House committee has “no legitimate legislative purpose” for their request. The legal team also continues to press their claim that, as a former president, Mr. Trump enjoys “inherent Constitutional rights of privilege.”
The select committee did not immediately respond to The Washington Times’ request for comment.
White House has rejected Mr. Trump’s claims of executive privilege as unjustified and “not in the best interest of the United States.”
The committee has issued several subpoenas targeting former Trump administration officials, including former White House strategist Steve Bannon, who has refused to cooperate with the committee’s demands over questions of executive privilege.
Mr. Bannon’s lawyer, Robert Costello, sent a letter to the House panel last week indicating that his client would not participate in a scheduled deposition, citing the former president’s assertion of privilege, which he said had yet to be ironed out by the committee.
The Democrat-dominated committee is expected to vote Tuesday to hold Mr. Bannon in contempt skipping the deposition.
“Mr. Bannon has declined to cooperate with the Select Committee and is instead hiding behind the former President’s insufficient, blanket, and vague statements regarding privileges he has purported to invoke,” Mr. Thompson said in a statement Thursday. “We reject his position entirely.”
President Biden urged Congress to prosecute those who defy the committee’s subpoenas. The comments sparked a curt response from the Department of Justice.
“The Department of Justice will make its own independent decisions in all prosecutions based solely on the facts and the law. Period. Full stop,” said Justice Department spokesperson Anthony Coley.