Former President Donald Trump filed a lawsuit on Friday challenging a subpoena from the House committee investigating the 2021 attack on the US Capitol, saying he has “absolute immunity” and will not testify next week.
Trump’s lawyers described the subpoena as “invalid, unlawful and unenforceable,” arguing the former president still enjoys executive privilege nearly 22 months after leaving office, and cannot be compelled by Congress to appear.
The January 6 committee has ordered him to appear for a deposition in person by Monday, which includes providing an extensive list of documents and communications connected to the assault on the Capitol.
The stakes are high – and the clock ticking – for both the congressional committee and 76-year-old Trump, who is expected to announce on Tuesday that he will run again for president in 2024.
He does so even as it remains unclear whether the Republican Party can recapture control of the lower House.
Balloting from last Tuesday’s midterm elections shows the Republicans holding 200 of the 218 seats needed to reclaim the majority, ahead of the Democrats.
But two dozen seats in the 435-member House of Representatives have still not been decided with vote counting underway.
If Republicans take control of the House, they are likely to disband the January 6 committee, which has amassed evidence that it says proves Trump incited the assault in an attempt to deny Joe Biden his electoral victory.
The committee held a series of hearings earlier this year that its chairman, Rep. Bennie Thompson, said “left no doubt – none – that Donald Trump led an effort to upend American democracy” by inciting the assault.
Prosecutors have charged more than 900 people with crimes related to the assault on the Capitol, and the Justice Department said last month that 412 people have pleaded guilty to any of a variety of federal charges.
At least seven people lost their lives in connection with the January 6 attack.
In his lawsuit, filed in federal court in West Palm Beach Florida, Trump said sitting and former US presidents have voluntarily agreed to testify or turn over documents after receiving a congressional subpoena but none “has ever been compelled to do so.”
That is because, the suit argues, Congress is a co-equal branch of government and “lacks authority” to compel such action and “President Trump is not required to comply.”
In the filing, Trump argues the subpoena is broader than reasonably necessary, infringes on executive privilege and his personal rights, and the committee does not have authority.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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