Comparing January 6 to a terrorist attack, former lawmakers – including Republicans – say Congress must investigate Trump’s role
Charles Davis – October 29, 2021
- The legal brief, filed in federal court in Washington, DC, is signed by 22 Republicans.
- It argues Congress has a right to see Trump’s presidential records related to January 6.
- The documents are being sought by the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol.
Former President Donald Trump’s campaign to undermine confidence in the 2020 election unfolded “like a fever dream in James Madison’s restless imagination,” testing American democracy like no other previous US president, argues a legal brief filed this week by a bipartisan group of 66 retired members of Congress.
The filing, first reported by The Washington Post, comes as part of a lawsuit initiated by Trump that seeks to block congressional investigators from obtaining White House documents that could expose the former president’s role in the January 6 insurrection. Trump’s lawyers have argued such documents are protected by “executive privilege” and outside of Congress’ legislative mandate.
But the former lawmakers, including 22 Republicans, say that argument does not hold up – and that the extraordinary nature of the US Capitol riot, not a request for presidential records, is the actual threat to the US Constitution and the separation of powers.
“The once unimaginable problem here, of course, is that a sitting president and his aides personally orchestrated a multifaceted assault on the peaceful transition of presidential power,” the brief states, “and neither Congress nor the public more broadly yet knows the full range of means deployed or considered and discarded.”
What is publicly known, however, is that “Trump played an outsized – and likely central – role in orchestrating the events that led to the January 6th attack,” the lawmakers argue, likening it to a thwarted terrorist plot.
“If traitors bent on disrupting and damaging our government were to meticulously plan and nearly succeed in flying a jumbo jet into the White House, we would not expect Congress to implement stronger safeguards without the opportunity to investigate the attackers,” the brief states.
Tom Coleman, a former Republican member of Congress from Missouri, told the Post that it was vital that Trump’s lawsuit be defeated. “If Congress fails to win this case,” he said, “then you might as well pack up Congress and let them go home because this is fundamental to our checks and balances and the rule of law in this country.”