Former President Donald Trump is suing the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attacks in an attempt to block the disclosure of White House documents, describing the panel's demand as a "vexatious, illegal fishing expedition."
"This self-described 'sweeping' request is almost limitless in scope
and effectively seeks every presidential record and communication that could
tenuously relate to events that occurred on January 6, 2021," the lawsuit states.
Trump's legal action comes after President Joe Biden declined to assert executive privilege sought by the former president to sidestep the committee's demand.
The lawsuit was brought on Trump's behalf by Jesse Binnall, a self-described "MAGA lawyer" from Virginia who was involved in failed voter fraud challenges following the 2020 election.
"Our laws do not permit such an impulsive, egregious action against a former President and his close advisors," the lawsuit states.
The committee has issued subpoenas for documents and testimony against a number of former Trump aides, including former strategist Steve Bannon, who has refused to comply.
The Jan. 6 committee is set to vote Tuesday to advance a contempt citation against Bannon.
Attorneys criticized the harsh tone of the lawsuit.
Bradley P. Moss, a national security lawyer, called it "a third-rate legal document unworthy of the first-rate constitutional questions it purports to address."
"These are serious legal matters and this lawsuit is little more than a political screed designed for fundraising purposes," Moss said.
Barbara McQuade, law professor at the University of Michigan and a former federal prosecutor, called the lawsuit "a stall tactic" that will only delay the inevitable.
"He may get a judge to consider his overbreadth argument and require the committee to narrow its request, but Congress has the power to subpoena these records," McQuade said.
McQuade added that "Trump’s executive privilege fails because the sitting president may waive it when a compelling national interest outweighs the privilege, as President Biden has done here."
Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., has denounced Trump's executive privilege claims as "insufficient, blanket, and vague."
Trump also names David Ferriero, the archivist of the United States, as a defendant in the civil lawsuit.
The Trump team claimed that "former Presidents have inherent constitutional rights of privilege," and that the National Archives "has not even had the time to compile and organize the documents being requested by Congress."
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Trump sues Jan 6. panel to block document disclosure