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Trump sues to try to stop the release of documents related to the Capitol riot

Former President Donald Trump speaks to supporters during a rally at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines on Oct. 9.
Scott Olson
Getty Images
Former President Donald Trump speaks to supporters during a rally at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines on Oct. 9.

The former president is suing the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack, as well as the National Archives, to prevent the turnover of documents related to the event.

Updated October 18, 2021 at 7:45 PM ET

Former President Donald Trump is suing the Democratic-led House select committee that's investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, as well as the National Archives, to try to stop documents related to the riot from being turned over to the panel.

"The Committee's request amounts to nothing less than a vexatious, illegal fishing expedition openly endorsed by [President] Biden and designed to unconstitutionally investigate President Trump and his administration. Our laws do not permit such an impulsive, egregious action against a former President and his close advisors," the lawsuit, which was filed Monday in the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., says.

Trump had urged former officials in his administration not to comply with subpoenas from the House panel, citing executive privilege. However, that power applies to only the current sitting president, not former ones.

This month, President Biden authorized the National Archives to share a first group of documents requested by the committee, adding that other requests would be considered on a case-by-case basis.

In a statement, White House spokesperson Michael Gwin said that Trump's "actions represented a unique — and existential — threat to our democracy that can't be swept under the rug. 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."

Lawyers for Trump described the Biden administration's waiver of executive privilege as a "myopic, political maneuver."

The Jan. 6 committee and its chair, Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., had no immediate comment on the lawsuit.

Trump spokesperson Taylor Budowich criticized the investigation as "a partisan sham to distract Americans from the Democrats' policies that are killing and robbing Americans."

The committee includes seven Democrats along with two Republicans who have been critical of Trump.

The former president's lawsuit came a day before the committee is set to vote on a criminal contempt report for former Trump adviser Steve Bannon, who failed to show for a requested deposition on Thursday.

Turning to the courts was a maneuver used by Trump throughout his presidency to keep potentially embarrassing documents, such as his tax returns, out of the public eye.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Caitlyn Kim