Former President Donald Trump filed a lawsuit Monday against the National Archives to keep his records private, citing executive privilege.
The former president and his team of lawyers argued the partisan Congressional select committee investigating the January 6th riots on Capitol Hill should not have access to the records.
“The Committee’s request amounts to nothing less than a vexatious, illegal fishing expedition openly endorsed by Biden and designed to unconstitutionally investigate President Trump and his administration,” the president’s lawyers wrote in their 26 page lawsuit, calling the investigation an “egregious action” against a former president.
The committee has made broad sweeping requests of President Trump’s records as part of the investigation, in an attempt to get as much detail as possible about his actions leading up to the rally and his response to the violence.
President Joe Biden chose not to defend Trump’s right to secure his records via executive privilege, citing the need to investigate the events of what he described as “one of the darkest days in the history of our nation.”
Trump’s lawsuit also names the Select Committee in the lawsuit.
The lawsuit sets up a legal conflict that could drag out the investigation surrounding Trump’s participation in the “Stop the Steal” rally before his supporters stormed Capitol Hill to protest the certification of the 2020 election in Congress.
Trump and his lawyers issued a memo to reporters after filing the lawsuit.
“An incumbent administration does not have the constitutional authority to unilaterally waive the executive privilege of a previous administration—especially one so recent,” the document read. “If it did, then executive privilege doesn’t exist, including for Joe Biden.”
The former president’s team argued that a future president could use the legal precedent to release Biden’s documents to Congress, including documents related to his son Hunter Biden, his administration’s disastrous exit from Afghanistan, and his administration’s communications surrounding “Big Tech” companies.
Trump argued there was also not enough time for his team to review the documents from his archives, adding that the Congressional committee was “seeking Communist-style political persecution of President Trump.”
“The Committee is motivated by one thing: delivering political wins for the Democrats,” the memo read. “That’s why they’ve set a rapid timetable that steamrolls the Constitution, legal precedent, and established process.”