Speed Reads

Fighting the Power

Donald Trump sues Jan. 6 Committee to block subpoena

Former President Donald Trump filed a lawsuit on Friday in an attempt to stop the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack from subpoenaing him, NBC News reported. 

The subpoena was previously ordered by the committee in an effort to compel Trump to testify before them, as well as provide documents related to Jan. 6. However, Trump's lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court in South Florida, seeks to invalidate the subpoena and stop it from being enforced. 

Lawyers for Trump wrote in the lawsuit that the committee had no constitutional authority to subpoena a former president, and claimed he had "absolute testimonial immunity" from Congress. The court must now decide if Congress has the power to compel presidential testimony. 

USA Today reported that there is some historical precedent, noting that former Presidents John Tyler and John Quincy Adams had both been subjected to subpoenas related to a congressional investigation in 1846, and both had cooperated with the order. 

Beyond this subpoena, the fact that Trump refuses to cooperate is unique in American history, USA Today noted, as both sitting and former presidents have voluntarily testified before Congress. This includes former President Abraham Lincoln in 1862, former President Woodrow Wilson in 1919, and former President Gerald Ford in 1974. Former Presidents Ford, Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and Harry Truman additionally all testified after leaving office. 

This is the second subpoena from the committee that the former president has fought, previously battling an effort to seize his administration's documents from the National Archives