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Trump Sounds Pretty Panicked About Congress Finding Out Exactly What He Was Up to on January 6


As you’ve no doubt heard by now, Donald Trump is extremely unhappy about the work being performed by the House committee investigating the January 6 attack on the Capitol, presumably because he knows that what they find will make him look even worse than he already does, which is saying a lot given he already looks like a guy who tried to overthrow the government because his parents never hugged him as a child. Unfortunately for Trump, Joe Biden thinks it’s actually very important for Congress to have access to the information it has requested concerning the days surrounding the insurrection, and earlier this month rejected his predecessor’s claim of executive privilege over the documents in question. So now, instead of letting the investigation unfold like an innocent person with nothing to hide would, Trump has instead sicced his lawyers on the government.

Per The New York Times:

Former President Donald J. Trump sued Congress and the National Archives on Monday, seeking to block the disclosure of White House files related to his actions and communications surrounding the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

In a 26-page complaint, a lawyer for Mr. Trump argued that the materials must remain secret as a matter of executive privilege. He said the Constitution gives the former president the right to demand their confidentiality even though he is no longer in office—and even though President Biden has refused to assert executive privilege over them.

The lawsuit touches off what is likely to be a major legal battle between Mr. Trump and the House committee investigating the attack, in which a mob of his supporters stormed the Capitol seeking to disrupt Congress’s counting of electoral votes to formalize Mr. Biden’s victory. Its outcome will carry consequences for how much the panel can uncover about Mr. Trump’s role in the riot, pose thorny questions for the Biden administration and potentially forge new precedents about presidential prerogatives and the separation of powers.

In what is now basically boilerplate language for Trump and his allies, his lawyer Jesse Binnall claimed in the complaint that Biden is simply sucking up to liberal Democrats who want to see Trump, a noted saint who’s never done anything wrong in his life, held accountable. “In a political ploy to accommodate his partisan allies, President Biden has refused to assert executive privilege over numerous clearly privileged documents requested by the committee,” Binnall wrote. In response, committee leaders Bennie Thompson and Liz Cheney called Trump’s suit “nothing more than an attempt to delay and obstruct our probe,” adding: “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.” Trump’s suit names Thompson and David Ferriero, the head of the National Archives, as defendants.

In explaining why “executive privilege” does not extend to a guy who tried to have the results of a free and fair election overturned, White House attorney Dana Remus told the National Archives, “The constitutional protections of executive privilege should not be used to shield, from Congress or the public, information that reflects a clear and apparent effort to subvert the Constitution itself.” While Trump and his lawyer have claimed that allowing Congress to access supposedly privileged information about what he was up to on January 6 would “destroy the very fabric of our constitutional separation of powers,” Remus has said Biden believes that, given the extenuating circumstances of having POTUS try to gain a second term by force, Congress needs “full accounting” of the “unprecedented effort to obstruct the peaceful transfer of power” to “ensure nothing similar ever happens again.”

Among the documents Congress has requested are schedules, calendars, and movement logs about virtual or in-person meetings or events Trump attended and who was present; communications between the White House and some Trump allies who pushed to overturn the election, including Rudy Giuliani, Mike Flynn, Roger Stone, and Stephen Bannon; White House communications with Mike Lindell, a.k.a. MyPillow guy, who has spent the last year spreading baseless conspiracy theories about election fraud; and records on militias and extremist groups that were at the Capitol on the day of the attack, including the Proud Boys, QAnon, and the Oath Keepers. As the Times notes, Trump urged his followers to descend on Washington for his “Stop the Steal” rally, and at the gathering near the White House, instructed them to “fight much harder” against “bad people” and “show strength” at the Capitol. And that’s just what he said in public. (In private, he reportedly did everything he could to get Mike Pence to block the certification of Biden’s win, and “engaged in an intensive effort to use the Justice Department to invalidate the election results.”)



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