Former President Donald Trump is suing the House committee investigating the January 6 attack on the US Capitol to avoid cooperating with a subpoena ordering him to testify.
The lawsuit, filed Friday night, alleges that while past presidents have voluntarily agreed to provide evidence or documents in response to past subpoenas from Congress, “no president or past president has ever been compelled to do so.”
“Longstanding precedent and practice maintains that the separation of powers prohibits Congress from compelling a president to testify before him,” Trump attorney David A. Warrington said in a statement announcing Mr Trump’s intentions.
Mr Warrington said Mr Trump made “good faith efforts with the committee to resolve these concerns consistent with executive prerogatives and the separation of powers,” but said the panel “insists on pursuing a political path and leaves President.” Trump has no choice but to involve the third branch, the judiciary, in this executive-legislature dispute.”
The committee declined to comment on the filing, which comes days ahead of the deadline set by the committee for Mr Trump to begin working together.
However, the lawsuit is likely to derail the prospect of Mr Trump ever having to testify, as the committee is expected to disband at the end of the legislative session in January.
It also comes just days before Mr Trump is expected to officially launch a third presidential campaign at his Mar Lago club.
The committee voted to subpoena Mr Trump during its last televised hearing before the midterm elections, and did so officially last month, requiring evidence from the former president either in the Capitol or via videoconference through mid-November and lasting several days if necessary.
The letter also outlined a wide-ranging request for documents, including personal communications, between Mr Trump and members of Congress and extremist groups.
Mr Trump’s response to that request was due last week, but the nine-member panel extended its deadline until this week.
In his lawsuit, Mr. Trump’s attorneys attack the subpoena as being too broad and a violation of his First Amendment rights.
They also argue that sources other than Mr Trump could provide the same information the committee wants from him.
The panel, made up of seven Democrats and two Republicans, issued a statement last week saying it was in contact with Mr Trump’s attorneys.
The committee’s decision to subpoena Mr Trump in late October was a major escalation of its investigation, a move politicians felt was necessary because members allege the former president was the “central player” in a multi-part effort the probe’s findings to overturn election 2020.
“I think he’s legally required to testify, but that doesn’t always carry weight with Donald Trump,” Liz Cheney, the committee’s vice chair, said during an event last week.
In addition to demanding that Mr. Trump testify, the committee issued 19 requests for documents and communications, including any messages Mr. Trump sent via the encrypted messaging app Signal or “otherwise” to members of Congress and others about the drug had broadcast events of the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol.
The scope of the committee’s inquiry was wide-ranging, tracing documents from September 1, 2020, two months before the election, to the present day of the President’s communications with groups such as the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys, while the panel seeks to provide a historical record of it create the preparation for the attack on the Capitol, the event itself and the aftermath.
Mr. Trump’s lawsuit was filed in the Southern District of Florida, where other Trump attorneys successfully sued to secure a special foreman tasked with conducting an independent review of the investigations carried out by the FBI during a March 8 search of Mar-a-Lago. Records confiscated in August.
https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/world-news/donald-trump-sues-house-committee-investigating-capitol-attack-42138598.html Donald Trump sues House committee investigating Capitol attack