Trump's team also requests that the court have the Archives identify all Trump White House documents, and then allow Trumps lawyers to fully review them before sharing them to Congress. This process could take many years.
This lawsuit launches a complicated, high-stakes legal battle over executive privilege and congressional investigations. The Nixon era saw the Supreme Court acknowledge that former presidents might have an interest in keeping documents secret from the public. This is not the first dispute between a president and his predecessor about executive privilege.
Trump's claims are two-fold. First, Trump claims that the Jan. 6, committee's request to obtain documents is so broad it is unconstitutional. The suit also claims that the committee does not have a legitimate legislative purpose for seeking the documents. These arguments were part of a lawsuit Trump filed in 2019 against Mazars USA to get his financial records.
The Supreme Court ruled in the Mazars case that there were limits to congressional investigations into sitting presidents, not former ones. It also highlighted Congress' broad authority to request information about its legislative efforts.
Trump's team claims that Jan. 6 panel has no valid legislative purpose to seek White House records. They are relying on a requirement that congressional investigators prove they seek materials to assist in their legislative work.
Trump's team claims that the Committee has reviewed its charter "to investigate and report upon facts, circumstances and causes relating the events of January 6, 2021 at the United States Capitol".
The select committee previously dismissed claims that it is investigating without a legislative purpose. The committee was established by a resolution that identified several policy areas it could legislate on, including domestic extremists' use of social media and the intelligence agencies' handling of threat information. This will also affect the Capitol's security posture.
Trump's suit also focuses on the Presidential Records Act which governs access to White House documents. Trump's lawyers claim that the Act allows a sitting president overrule an ex-president on privilege and is therefore unconstitutional. This question has not been resolved in full in court.
According to the complaint, the court should also prohibit the Archives from sharing material that Trump considers confidential. Experts in legal theory believe that executive privilege can only be claimed by the president in office. However, a court has not ruled on whether or how far executive privilege can be extended after the president leaves office.
The suit asks for the court to delay the sharing of documents with Congress. Trump's lawyers claim that they need to take more time to review the documents that are responsive. They also argue that they shouldn't have to make decisions about executive privilege without looking at all of the records.
The Archives can take years to organize White House records. A judge could block the release of documents until the archivist has reviewed all of them. This could lead to Congress being forced to delay the acquisition of the material.
President Donald J. Trump has filed a lawsuit to defend the Constitution, the Office of the President and the future of the nation. Taylor Budowich, a Trump spokesperson, told POLITICO that the lawsuit was in support of the Constitution, the President's Office, and the Constitution. Pelosis Communist-style attempts to silence and destroy America First patriots by this hyper-partisan, illegitimate investigation are making America under siege.
Jesse Binnall filed the suit on Trump's behalf. Binnall was an attorney who previously worked with Sidney Powell in overturning Michael Flynn’s guilty plea. Binnall also helped Trump to file complaints of election fraud in Nevada.
Trump's executive privilege suit was months in the making. In August, the Jan. 6 select committee requested extensive records from the National Archives regarding communications between Trump's administration on the day of his attack. It requested documents back to April 1, 2020 that related to Trump's presidential campaign plans, including documents related to polling, and documents related to Trump's prediction of losing his re-election bid.
The standard procedure was that the archive head sent hundreds of pages of records to Trump and his legal team to be reviewed. This was only the first batch. The archivist continues to review reams and documents to determine if they are responsive to the request. Trump is currently reviewing those records on a regular basis.
Trump and his team found that at least 3 dozen records from the first batch were protected by executive privilege, meaning that Trump was entitled to keep them secret. On Oct. 8, Trump wrote a letter to his archivist, which POLITICO read. He stated his position and asked the archivist for the documents to be withheld.
The Biden White House however has a different opinion on whether these records can be released. On Oct. 8, Dana Remus, the White House counsel for Biden, informed the archivist that the president requested the records be provided to the Hill.
This lawsuit will likely support several other witnesses who are facing subpoenas by the Jan. 6 committee. It includes two anti-Trump Republicans. Steve Bannon, a former Trump aide, and long-standing political ally, invoked Trump's executive privilege claim to refuse to share documents with the panel. On Tuesday, the committee will indict Bannon for criminal contempt of Congress.
Biden faces a risk in this legal battle. A court ruling that reduces executive privilege could allow congressional Republicans to target records of his administration after he leaves office. Jen Psaki, White House press secretary, spoke out about the possibility of that happening.
She assured reporters that she could assure her that the President does not intend to incite an uprising on the Capitol of our country.
Presidents of the United States have used executive privilege long before Trump's election to prevent their allies answering questions from investigators. Sometimes federal judges have dismissed their arguments. The federal judge ruled against Bill Clinton's attempts to use executive privilege to prevent White House staffers from answering questions related to the Monica Lewinsky investigation. A federal judge ordered that the Obama administration turn over documents relating to the ATF's Fast and Furious Guns operation years later, in violation of executive privilege.
Many Trump associates used executive privilege during his presidency to avoid congressional inquiries. This included the House Intelligence Committees Russia probe, and the first Trump impeachment.
Trump is signaling that he will run for president again in 2024, and as he encourages fellow Republicans to believe the false conspiracy theory of his 2020 victory.