Trump plans to sue to keep White House records on Capitol attack secret
Donald Trump is preparing to sue to block the release of White House records from his administration to the House select committee scrutinizing the 6 January attack on the Capitol by claiming executive privilege, potentially touching off an extended legal battle over disclosure.
The former president also expects top aides – former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, deputy chief of staff Dan Scavino, strategist Steve Bannon and defense department aide Kash Patel – to defy select committee subpoenas for records and testimony.
Trump’s moves to try to resist the select committee, informed by a source familiar with his planning, are likely to lead to constitutional clashes in court that would test the power of Congress’s oversight authority over the executive branch.
The sharpening contours of Trump’s intention to stonewall the select committee mark a new turning point as he seeks to keep a grip on the rapidly escalating investigation into the events of 6 January that left five dead and about 140 others injured.
Democrats are on the verge of a make-or-break moment – one that will determine the fate of Joe Biden’s ambitious economic agenda – as they rush to bridge the internal divisions threatening to derail passage of the sweeping social policy package and a smaller infrastructure bill.
Failure would be disastrous for the president and his party’s political prospects next year, but success was far from certain with less than 48 hours left before a consequential vote in the House on Thursday.
In a sign of the stakes, Biden canceled a scheduled trip to Illinois to remain in Washington and “continue working on advancing these two pieces of legislation”, according to a White House official.
“This is a big week for the American people. It’s a big week for President Biden. It’s a big week for House and Senate Democrats,” the New York congressman Hakeem Jeffries, a member of House leadership, told reporters.
“We’re not running away from that. We’re leaning into it. We embrace it. We understand that we’ve been given the opportunity to govern for the people, to build back better, that’s exactly what we are committed to doing.”