Donald Trump files lawsuit to block release of White House records on Capitol riot

Former President Donald Trump filed a lawsuit in a United States court on Monday in an attempt to block the US Congress from obtaining White House records on the deadly January 6 Capitol insurrection.

Trump is challenging a decision by President Joe Biden and the US National Archives to turn over his presidential records to the House of Representatives Select Committee on January 6, which has demanded them.

In the lawsuit, Trump claims the House committee’s request “is almost limitless in scope”, and seeks records with no reasonable connection to that day.

Thousands of pro-Trump supporters gathered in Washington on January 6, 2021 for a “stop the steal” rally to prevent Congress from certifying Biden’s win in the 2020 election. Many stormed into the US Capitol, searching for members of Congress and vandalizing the premises. More than 600 have been charged related to the rioting.

President Biden declined to assert “executive privilege” on behalf of his predecessor and has instead supported the House investigation.

“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,” Trump’s court filing said.

Executive privilege is a controversial legal doctrine that some presidents, including Trump, have sought to use to shield their White House activities from public view. US courts have historically interpreted presidential claims of executive privilege narrowly.

The January 6 committee is seeking the documents as part of its investigation into how a mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol building on January 6 in an effort to halt the certification of Biden’s win.

Trump is asking the court to declare the committee’s request for documents invalid and unenforceable.