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Trump sues to block Jan. 6 committee subpoena for his documents, testimony

Former President Donald Trump does a little dance as he bids farewell to supporters at the "Save America" rally at Arnold Palmer Regional Airport in Latrobe, Pennsylvania on Nov. 5. Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI
Former President Donald Trump does a little dance as he bids farewell to supporters at the "Save America" rally at Arnold Palmer Regional Airport in Latrobe, Pennsylvania on Nov. 5. Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 11 (UPI) -- Former President Donald Trump on Friday filed a lawsuit against the House select committee investigating the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, to block a subpoena seeking his testimony and documents.

Trump said in the suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, that he is seeking declaratory and injunctive relief while arguing that he is exempt from the subpoena because of executive privilege, even though he left office nearly two years ago.

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"While other Presidents and former Presidents have voluntarily agreed to testify or turn over documents in response to a congressional subpoena, no President or former President has ever been compelled to do so," lawyers for Trump argued in the court documents.

"To the contrary, for a half-century, the Department of Justice has consistently opined that Presidents and former Presidents have absolute immunity from compelled Congressional testimony."

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Last week, the committee extended the deadline for Trump to comply with their request for his documents after initially setting a deadline of Nov. 4 and the latest move appears to be an attempt to run out that clock before Republicans potentially take control of the House after Tuesday's midterms.

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"We have informed the former President's counsel that he must begin producing records no later than next week and he remains under subpoena for deposition testimony starting on Nov. 14," the committee's chairman Bennie Thompson and vice chair Liz Cheney said in a joint statement.

Trump's lawyers argued that the "separation of powers" between the legislative branch and the executive branch "do not expire" when a president leaves office.

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"The only possible exception to this absolute testimonial immunity -- an exception which is itself hotly contested in academic circles -- is for testimony in connection with the House of Representatives' impeachment jurisdiction," the lawsuit reads.

"But the Subpoena issued by the Committee to 'President Donald J. Trump' does not arise from an impeachment inquiry. For the reasons explained below, the Committee lacks authority to issue the Subpoena and, in any event, President Trump is not required to comply."

Trump's lawyers argued that the former president "attempted to resolve this dispute" with the committee but that the lawmakers insisted that Trump must yield to their demands.

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