Donald Trump Fights 'Leftist' 1/6 Committee Request With 'Executive Privilege'

Former President Donald Trump has called the select committee investigating the January 6 Capitol riot a "partisan shame" and suggested he will invoke executive privilege as the committee seeks a trove of documents.

Trump issued a statement on Wednesday slamming the "leftist" committee after it sent its first request for documents relating to the events of January 6. These requests included "communications within and among the White House and Executive Branch agencies."

The committee is chaired by Democratic Representative Bennie Thompson and includes Republican representatives Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, both critics of the former president.

Trump's statement said: "The Leftist 'select committee' has further exposed itself as a partisan sham and waste of taxpayer dollars with a request that's timed to distract Americans from historic and global catastrophes brought on by the failures of Joe Biden and the Democrats."

"Unfortunately, this partisan exercise is being performed at the expense of long-standing legal principles of privilege," the statement went on.

"Executive privilege will be defended, not just on behalf of my Administration and the Patriots who worked beside me but on behalf of the Office of the President of the United States and the future of our Nation. These Democrats only have one tired trick—political theater—and their latest request only reinforces that pathetic reality."

Executive privilege is a doctrine that protects the confidentiality of White House communications and Trump could potentially sue to keep documents from the select committee.

The committee made a series of document requests on Wednesday relating to the run-up to the January 6 Capitol riot. Those requests included documents relating to whether Trump tried to place people loyal to him in government positions following the 2020 election, the administration's planning for and handling of January 6 and whether attempts were made to overturn the outcome of the election.

NEW

President Trump:

"The Leftist “select committee” has further exposed itself as a partisan sham and waste of taxpayer dollars with a request that’s timed to distract Americans from historic and global catastrophes brought on by the failures of Joe Biden and the Democrats. pic.twitter.com/syRSo6GQ8j

— Liz Harrington (@realLizUSA) August 26, 2021

The committee has also requested "documents and communications related to the mental stability of Donald Trump or his fitness for office" and has asked the National Archives for "all documents and communications within the White House" about a number of people, including former first lady Melania Trump, former national security adviser Robert O'Brien and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

Requests have been made to National Archives and Records Administration, the FBI, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the departments of Justice, Defense, Homeland Security and the Interior.

Rep. Thompson, who is chairing the committee, has given the agencies in question two weeks to comply with the requests—a deadline of September 9.

"Our Constitution provides for a peaceful transfer of power, and this investigation seeks to evaluate threats to that process, identify lessons learned and recommend laws, policies, procedures, rules, or regulations necessary to protect our republic in the future," Thompson wrote in a letter to the agencies.

Thompson has previously suggested that Trump could be subpoenaed and if subpoenaed witnesses refuse to co-operate, he would pursue the matter in court.

"The issues of January 6 are one of the most salient challenges we have as a nation, to make sure that this democracy does not fall prey to people who don't really identify with democracy," Thompson said on July 21.

Newsweek has asked Thompson for comment.

Donald Trump Enters  a Rally in Arizona
Former U.S. President Donald Trump makes an entrance at the Rally To Protect Our Elections conference on July 24, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. Trump has suggested he will invoke executive privilege in the face of document requests by the January 6 select committee. Brandon Bell/Getty Images