Trump is suing for keeping White House records secret and demanding executive privilege

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Trump’s lawsuit is an attempt to block the work of the House Committee as it investigates its actions before and during the siege of the Capitol. The lawsuit is also his latest attempt in a long and delicate battle against subpoenas from the Democratic-controlled US House of Representatives.

The Biden administration has refused to claim executive privilege on an initial tranche of Trump-era records, and Trump is currently opposed to the release of about 40 documents.

The Trump lawsuit alleges President Joe Biden’s refusal to protect some of the documents is “a political ploy to accommodate his partisan allies.” A Trump spokesman relied on this argument in a statement announcing the lawsuit accusing Democrats of attempting to change the political narrative with their Jan. 6 investigation.

“The poll shows that Biden’s approval is crumbling and slipping away from Democrats in 2022 – no wonder the Democrats and the media want to distract America: The surrender in Afghanistan, exploding inflation, a border crisis, crippling COVID mandates and a stalled legislative agenda “Said Taylor Budowich, a spokesman for Trump and his political organization.

The White House maintained its decision not to invoke the privilege of the documents requested by the committee, claiming in a statement Monday that Trump had “abused the presidency and sought to undermine a peaceful transfer of power.”

“The former president’s actions posed a unique – and existential – threat to our democracy that cannot be swept under the carpet. As President Biden noted, the constitutional protection of executive privileges should not be used to shield information that is making a clear and obvious effort to undermine the Constitution itself, “said Mike Gwin, White House spokesman.

Amid several legal arguments he makes in court, Trump claims the House Committee failed to make clear the legislative reasons why he needed records of Trump’s presidency and that he should be able to keep his discussions as president private.

It also claims that the Presidential Records Act is unconstitutional if it is “broad enough to allow an incumbent president to surrender the executive privilege of a previous president just months after a change of administration”.

The National Archives are expected to hand over the requested documents to Congress by early next month – and put Trump’s trial to a short period if he wants to block the publication of the information to the House of Representatives.

Trump points out the case of tax returns for help

In the lawsuit, Trump argues that the House Committee is on a politically motivated “fishing expedition”.

His lawyers say the House Committee has no real legislative purpose – and the Supreme Court said in 2020 that Congress must have one if it wants information on the president.

The selected House of Representatives “apparently believes it has been given a free pass to request a comprehensive set of documents and records,” Trump’s lawyers wrote on Monday.

Several of Trump’s arguments in Monday’s lawsuit point to the Supreme Court ruling on the 2019 House of Representatives subpoena for Trump’s Mazars USA tax records. In that case, the Supreme Court sent the House of Representatives subpoena on documents back to the lower court to ensure that concerns about separation of powers were not violated and that Congress had valid legislative grounds to obtain information about a president.

The circumstances of this case were different from those of the lawsuit that Trump is now pending. In this case, Congress was looking for Trump’s personal financial records, while this case is “Presidency-made documents,” said Greg Lipper, a Washington, DC criminal and constitutional attorney.

“Trump calls on the court not only to determine for themselves that the documents are privileged, but to override the actual, current holder of the office,” said Lipper.

And even in the Mazars case – as Jeffrey Robbins, a former Senate attorney now in private practice, told CNN – the Supreme Court “did not find the subpoena invalid or Congress could not receive it”. . “

“The Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that Congress deserves great respect in conducting an investigation and determining what falls within its jurisdiction,” said Robbins.

Even so, Trump’s lawsuit against Mazars’ subpoena has prevented the House of Representatives from receiving records until he resigned – and the records are still out of the hands of the House Oversight Committee.

The lawsuit against the archives could seek prosecution of White House documents related to Jan.

“Trump has proven he can push the delay point,” said Paul Rosenzweig, law professor at George Washington University Law School and founder of Red Branch Consulting. “He’s always been good at using litigation as a weapon, and this is another one of them.”

Archives are supposed to reveal documents

In the meantime, Trump only has a few weeks to get a court to intervene.

The National Archives told Trump that it would be sent to Congress on Jan.

The archive said it had consulted with the Justice Department and the White House and decided that the committee should receive the documents requested, despite Trump’s opposition to releasing some of his presidency documents last week, according to a letter from archivist David Ferriero. A copy of this letter is included as an annex to Trump’s lawsuit on Monday.

According to the letter, Ferriero told Trump that the archivist would disclose to the House Committee any “reactive” record that President Trump would have on Jan.

The archives’ newly announced schedule makes Trump’s lawsuit particularly urgent and may lead Trump to urge the courts to act quickly to avoid the deadline.

This story was updated with additional reports on Monday.

CNN’s Kaitlan Collins and Zachary Cohen contributed to the coverage.


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