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Thursday, December 08, 2022

Trump sues January 6th committee to avoid summons and hand over evidence

WASHINGTON D.C. — Former President Donald Trump on Friday sued the House committee investigating the January 6 attack on the United States Capitol, requiring him to testify and turn over documents to avoid cooperating with a subpoena. Are.

The lawsuit, filed Friday night, states that while former presidents have voluntarily agreed to provide testimony or documents in response to congressional summonses in the past, “no president or former president was compelled to do so.” “

Trump’s lawyer David A. “Long-standing precedent and practice holds that a separation of powers prevents Congress from forcing the president to testify before him,” Warrington said in a statement announcing Trump’s intentions.

Warrington said Trump was involved with the committee “in a good faith effort to address these concerns in line with the separation of privileges and powers of the executive branch”, but added that the panel “emphasis on following the political path”. That leaves President Trump with the option but to involve a third branch, the judiciary, in this dispute between the executive and legislative branches.

Trump’s lawsuit was filed in the Southern District of Florida, where other Trump lawyers successfully sued to secure a special master that was seized by the FBI during a search at Mar-a-Lago on Aug. The task of conducting an independent review of the recorded records was entrusted.

The committee declined to comment on the filing, which comes days before the committee’s deadline for Trump to begin cooperation. But the suit is likely the only time Trump will ever testify, given that the committee is expected to dissolve at the end of the legislative session in January.

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It comes just days before Trump is expected to formally launch a third presidential campaign at his Mar-Lago club.

The committee voted to subpoena Trump during its final televised hearing before the midterm elections and formally did so last month, which required the former president’s testimony on Capitol Hill or via videoconference in mid-November, And if necessary continue for several days.

January 6 committee blames former president for not doing anything to stop attack on Capitol

The letter also outlined a general request for documents, including personal communications between Trump and members of Congress, as well as extremist groups. Trump’s response to that request was due last week, but the nine-member panel extended its deadline to this week.

In his lawsuit, Trump’s lawyers took a very broad attack on the subpoena and framed it as a violation of his First Amendment rights. They also argue that sources other than Trump can provide the same information the committee wants from them.

The panel, made up of seven Democrats and two Republicans, issued a statement last week saying it was in communication with Trump’s lawyers.

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The January 6 committee released never-before-seen footage of former President Donald Trump videotaping his speech to rioters on Capitol Hill, during which he used to make “off the cuff” remarks while repeating the “Big Lie”. A prepared statement is ignored.

The committee’s decision to summon Trump in late October was a major escalation in its investigation, a move lawmakers said was necessary because members allege the former president was a “central player” in a multiparty effort. ,

“I think he has a legal obligation to testify, but it doesn’t always carry weight with Donald Trump,” the committee’s vice chairman, Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyoming, said during an event last week.

In addition to seeking Trump’s testimony, the committee also made 19 requests for documents and communications, including messages sent by Trump on the encrypted Signal messaging app or “by any other means” to members of Congress and others who were shocked by the attack. sent about the events. Capitol on January 6, 2021.

The scope of the committee’s request was broad: to seek documents from September 1, 2020, two months before the election, to the present on the president’s communications with groups such as the Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys, as the panel seeks to compile a historical record. The lead up to the attack on the Capitol, the event itself, and its aftermath.

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