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Trump Files Lawsuit to Avoid Release of January 6th Documents

— October 19, 2021

California Rep. Adam Schiff says that Trump doesn’t expect to win the lawsuit–and that winning isn’t his game.

Former President Donald Trump has filed a federal lawsuit seeking to block the House of Representatives’ release of documents related to the January 6th riots outside the U.S. Capitol.

According to The Associated Press, Trump claims that the House committee charged with investigating the riots—often referred to as an attempted insurrection—has demanded such a breadth of documents as to be “almost limitless in scope.”

Some of the records the House committee has asked to see, Trump says, are not related to the riots. He has since called the investigation a “vexatious, illegal fishing expedition” that is “untethered from any legitimate legislative purpose.”

The Associated Press notes that Trump’s lawsuit was expected.

However, the legal challenge moves beyond the estimated 125 pages of records that the Biden administration has requested. It names both the House Committee and the National Archives as defendants, and seeks to have the House committee and its investigation dismantled entirely. Additionally, the suit has asked a federal court to issue an injunction preventing the National Archives from producing the documents.

Nevertheless, Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS) and Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) have blasted Trump’s litigation as “nothing more than an attempt to delay and obstruct” the House’s investigation.

People milling around in front of the Capitol building, some carrying signs.
January 6, 2021 storming of the United States Capitol. Photo by Tyler Merbler, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. CC BY 2.0

“Precedent and law are on our side,” Thompson and Cheney said. “We’ll fight the former president’s attempt to obstruct our investigation while we continue to push ahead successfully with our probe on a number of other fronts.”

“There’s a long history of the White House accommodating congressional investigative requests when the public interest outweighs other concerns,” Thompson and Cheney said in a joint statement. “It’s hard to imagine a more compelling public interest than trying to get answers about an attack on our democracy and an attempt to overturn the results of an election.”

The Week reports that Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) recently told late-night host Stephen Colbert that President Trump is trying to weaponize the judiciary, trying “to use the courts to delay, try to prevent the country from learning about his corruption.”

“Donald Trump will lose this litigation, and he knows he’ll lose this litigation,” Rep. Schiff said. “The point isn’t winning, the point is delaying.”

Schiff further said that the investigatory committee wants “this investigation done as soon as possible, but no later than next year.”

The Biden administration, adds The Associated Press, waived executive privilege in clearing the documents for release. A spokesperson for the White House said that the January 6th riots were so unprecedented that they merited a waiver to release official documents that would otherwise be protected.

“As President Biden determined, the constitutional protections of executive privilege should not be used to shield information that reflects a clear and apparent effort to subvert the Constitution itself,” White House spokesman Mike Gwin said.


‘Donald Trump will lose this litigation’: House Jan. 6 committee dismisses lawsuit as delay tactic, obstruction

Trump files lawsuit to keep Jan. 6 documents from Congress

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