Trump’s lawyers accuse Biden of ‘doing the bidding’ of Jan. 6 panel
Lawyers for former President Trump on Wednesday accused President Biden of colluding with congressional Democrats in a partisan “fishing expedition” into the previous administration’s handling of the Jan. 6 riot.
Trump’s legal team filed a brief with the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Wednesday. In the brief, they argued that the efforts being made by the House select committee investigating the attack to obtain extensive White House records serve no valid purpose other than to damage the former president.
“There is little doubt President Biden is doing the bidding of a Congress controlled by his party. Appellees’ briefs are rife with political hostility,” Trump’s lawyers wrote. “The Committee is not tasked with a criminal or impeachment investigation of President Trump, nor is it tasked with determining the status or integrity of the 2020 election. Congress and the President are on a fishing expedition to find damaging information on their former and future political opponents.”
The brief will likely be the final submission from either side ahead of oral arguments on Nov. 30 over whether Trump can use executive privilege claims to block the select committee from obtaining hundreds of pages of internal White House records from the National Archives.
Trump appealed earlier this month after a district court judge rejected his lawsuit, ruling that his assertions of executive privilege are outweighed by the fact that both the sitting president and Congress believe that the documents should be released.
The lawsuit will test Trump’s novel claims about the scope of a former president’s authority to invoke executive privilege, and how it is resolved could set the tone for the rest of the select committee’s investigation.
Lawyers for the select committee argued this week that the records are vital for its probe into what led to the attack on the Capitol and that any further delay would damage the lawmakers’ ability to seek answers.
“Delay itself would inflict a serious constitutional injury on the Select Committee by interfering with its legislative duty. The Select Committee needs the documents now because they will shape the direction of the investigation,” the committee’s attorneys wrote in a filing. “For example, the documents could inform which witnesses to depose and what questions to ask them, as well as whether further subpoenas should be issued to others.”
Trump’s lawyers argued on Wednesday that the Democrats’ alleged political aims undermine their legal basis for seeking the documents, claiming that if the documents are turned over it would damage the executive branch’s institutional standing.
“Here, the incumbent President’s personal political interests are aligned with the congressional majority, and his political objective will do grave damage to the integrity of our Republic’s constitutional structure if it is achieved,” Trump’s lawyers wrote. “The political animus shown by President Biden and his allies in Congress weighs against the unfettered deference towards the incumbent President sought by Appellees.”