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Trump wants to classify data on the storming of the Capitol: the case came to court

Trump is suing White House records, claiming executive privileges. reports CNN

Photo: Shutterstock

On Monday, 45th US President Donald Trump filed a lawsuit in the District of Columbia court against a special committee of the House of Representatives investigating the January 6 uprising and the National Archives to keep the records of his presidency secret, demanding executive privileges.

Trump's lawsuit is an attempt to block the work of a House committee that is investigating his actions before and during the siege of the Capitol. The trial also marks his latest attempt in a long and thorny battle against subpoenas from the Democratic-controlled US House of Representatives.

The Biden administration has refused to assert executive authority over the first tranche of Trump-era records, and Trump is currently opposed to publishing some 40 documents.

The lawsuit alleges that House requests for documents from the executive branch are "unprecedented in their breadth and scope and are not linked to any legitimate purpose."

It also claims that President Joe Biden's refusal to protect certain documents was "a political ploy to appease his guerrilla allies."

A Trump spokesman backed this argument in a statement announcing a lawsuit in which Democrats were accused of trying to change the political narrative with their January 6 investigation.

“Poll shows Biden's approval is falling and 2022 is spiraling out of Democratic control - no wonder Democrats and the media want to distract America from: capitulation in Afghanistan, skyrocketing inflation, border crisis, weakening COVID mandates and a stalled legislative agenda day. “- said Taylor Budovich, spokesman for Trump and his political organization.

Committee Chairman Benny Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat, and Vice Chairman Liz Cheney, a Republican from Wyoming, responded in a joint statement Monday night that “the clear goal of the former president is to prevent the Special Committee from getting to the facts about January 6 and his lawsuit. This is nothing more than an attempt to delay and obstruct our investigation. Precedents and the law on our side We will fight the former president's attempt to obstruct our investigation, while we continue to successfully advance our investigation in a number of other areas. ”

For its part, the White House has insisted on its decision not to assert the privilege over the documents requested by the committee, arguing in a statement Monday that Trump "abused the president's office and tried to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power."

“Trump's actions represent a unique - and existential - threat to our democracy that cannot be hidden. As President Biden has defined, constitutional guarantees of executive power should not be used to protect information that reflects a blatant and obvious attempt to undermine the Constitution itself, ”White House spokesman Mike Gwynne said in a statement.

Among several legal arguments he makes in court, Trump argues that the House committee did not clarify the legislative reasons why he needs the records of Trump's presidency, and that he should have some opportunity to keep his discussions private as president.

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He also argues that the Presidential Archives Law is unconstitutional if it is "read so broadly that it gives the incumbent president unrestricted power to relinquish the executive powers of the previous president just months after the change of administration."

The National Archives is due to turn over the requested documents to Congress by early next month, which will shorten the timeframe for Trump's prosecution if he wants to block the transmission of information to the House of Representatives.

Trump turns to tax filing case for help

In the suit, Trump claims that a House committee is involved in a politically motivated "fishing expedition."

His lawyers say the House committee has no real legislative goal - and that the Supreme Court in 2020 said Congress should have such a goal when requesting information about the president.

The House Election Commission "apparently believes it has been given free access to request a full set of documents and records," Trump's lawyers wrote on Monday.

Some of Trump's arguments in Monday's lawsuit point to a Supreme Court ruling on a 2019 House subpoena to file Trump's tax returns from Mazars USA.

In this case, the Supreme Court sent the subpoena back to the lower court to ensure that separation of powers was not affected and that Congress has a strong legislative basis for obtaining information about the president.

Photo: Shutterstock

The circumstances of this case were different from the lawsuit that Trump is now filing. In this case, Congress was looking for Trump's personal financial materials, and this case concerns "documents prepared by the president," said Greg Lipper, a criminal and constitutional lawyer based in Washington DC.

And even in the Mazars case - as Jeffrey Robbins, a former Senate lawyer now in private practice, told CNN - the Supreme Court "did not rule that the subpoena was invalid or that Congress could not get one."

“The Supreme Court has repeatedly stated that Congress should be given great respect in investigating and determining what is within its own mandate,” Robbins said.

However, Trump's lawsuit against Mazar's subpoena prevented the House of Representatives from obtaining the records until he left office, and the records are still not in the hands of the House Oversight Committee.

The lawsuit against the Archives could also delay House prosecution of White House documents related to January 6 after the next congressional elections, especially if the fight escalates into an appeal process that outlasts Democratic control of the House of Representatives.

“Trump has demonstrated the ability to put pressure on a deferral point,” said Paul Rosenzweig, professor of law at George Washington University School of Law and founder of Red Branch Consulting. "He's always been good at using litigation as a weapon, and this is another of them."

Archives for document disclosure

In the meantime, Trump has only a few weeks to convince the court to intervene.
Trump has been told by the National Archives that he will turn over documents he wants to keep secret to Congress on November 12 - unless the court intervenes, following the former president's lawsuit against the transfer of these documents.

The archives said they consulted with the Justice Department and the White House and decided that the committee should receive the requested documents, even though Trump opposed the publication of some of the records from his presidency, according to a letter from archivist David Ferriero last week.

A copy of this letter is included in Trump's lawsuit on Monday.

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According to the letter, Ferriero notified Trump that the archivist would disclose to a House committee all "relevant" records that President Trump believed were subject to executive privilege on November 12, "in the absence of any court order."

The recently announced schedule for the transfer of archives lends particular urgency to Trump's lawsuit and may prompt Trump to ask the court to intervene immediately to pre-empt the deadline.

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Miscellaneous In the U.S. Donald Trump Biden administration siege of the Capitol Mazars USA David Ferriero
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