Former President Donald Trump sued the House Select Committee investigating the investigation on Jan. 6, 2021, to challenge his subpoena for documents and testimony, according to documents filed in federal court in Florida.
Trump both challenges the committee’s legitimacy — which multiple courts have upheld — and claims he should be shielded from testimony about his time as president.
Trump’s lawyers said they communicated with the House over the past week and a half as subpoena deadlines approached, offering to consider answering written questions while expressing “concerns and objections ” concerning the main part of the requests for documents.
“President Trump’s request for a subpoena and documents is an unwarranted intrusion into the institution of the presidency, as there are other sources of the requested information, including the thousands of witnesses the committee has contacted and a million documents the committee has collected,” his attorneys claim in the lawsuit. “The Committee may also obtain many government documents relevant to its investigation. other sources readily available, the subpoena is not valid.”
A spokesperson for the Jan. 6 committee declined to comment.
Trump said the House demands, if met, would violate privilege protections around the executive branch, including revealing conversations he had with Justice Department officials and members of Congress. about the 2020 election and “pending government business”.
He also argued in court that he shouldn’t have to reveal the inner workings of his 2020 presidential campaign, “including his political beliefs, strategy, and fundraising. President Trump has not audited his constitutional rights at the door of the Oval Office.Because the committee’s subpoena to President Trump violates his First Amendment rights, it is invalid.
Trump’s attorney, David Warrington, said in a statement that “precedent and long-standing practice hold that the separation of powers prohibits Congress from compelling a president to testify before it.”
The lawsuit veers the fight against Trump’s subpoena to a likely stalemate for the House Select Committee.
Trump’s back and forth with the House followed by the trial will make it much harder for the committee to enforce the subpoena — and the dispute will be essentially unresolved before the current Congress expires in January.
The lawsuit also raises some protections around the presidency that have never been fully tested by appeals courts, and Trump filed the lawsuit in a court that, unlike DC, did not weigh in on his clashes with the House Democrats over the past few years.
Trump provided the court with recent letters from his team with the committee, which show that the House panel tried to focus last week on obtaining records of his electronic communication on personal phones, text or on other apps starting Jan. 6, 2021. The House also said it was seeking to identify all phones and other communication devices used by Trump from Election Day until he left the presidency, according to the letters.
In a letter dated Nov. 4, the original date of the filing deadline, the House committee accused Trump’s team of trying to delay.
“Given the timing and nature of your letter – without any acknowledgment that Mr. Trump will ultimately comply with the subpoena – your approach on his behalf appears to be a delaying tactic,” Rep. Bennie Thompson wrote. , the Mississippi Democrat who chairs the committee. .
Since Trump’s team responded Nov. 9 that he would not testify and found no records to turn over regarding personal communications, the House has not responded in a substantive way, according to court documents.
But Trump’s legal team responded to the House this week that Trump “voluntarily directed a reasonable search for documents in his possession” that might fit those two categories. The search found nothing, his lawyers said.
This story has been updated with additional details.