In this Jan. 6, 2021, file photo, President Donald Trump speaks during a rally protesting the electoral college certification of Joe Biden as President in Washington.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Former President Donald Trump on Monday sought to block the release of documents related to the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection to a congressional committee investigating the attack, challenging President Joe Biden's initial decision to waive executive privilege.
In a federal lawsuit, Trump said the committee's request was "almost limitless in scope," and sought records with no reasonable connection to that day. He called it a "vexatious, illegal fishing expedition" that was "untethered from any legitimate legislative purpose," according to the papers filed in federal court in the District of Columbia.
Trump's lawsuit was expected, as he had said he would challenge the investigation and at least one ally has defied a subpoena. But the legal challenge went beyond the initial 125 pages of records that Biden recently cleared for release to the committee. The suit, which names the committee as well as the National Archives, seeks to invalidate the entirety of the congressional request, calling it overly broad, unduly burdensome and a challenge to separation of powers. It requests a court injunction to bar the archivist from producing the documents.
The Biden administration, in clearing the documents for release, said the violent siege of the Capitol was such an extraordinary circumstance that it merited waiving the privilege that usually protects White House communications.
Lawmakers want the documents as part of their investigation into how a mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol building on Jan. 6 in a violent effort to halt the certification of Biden's election win. The committee demanded a broad range of executive branch papers related to intelligence gathered before the attack, security preparations during and before the siege, the pro-Trump rallies held that day and Trump's false claims that he won the election, among other matters.
Trump's lawsuit says the "boundless requests included over fifty individual requests for documents and information, and mentioned more than thirty individuals, including those working inside and outside government."
The files must be withheld, the lawsuit says, because they could include "conversations with (or about) foreign leaders, attorney work product, the most sensitive of national security secrets, along with any and all privileged communications among a pool of potentially hundreds of people."
The suit also challenges the legality of the Presidential Records Act, arguing that allowing an incumbent president to waive executive privilege of a predecessor just months after they left office is inherently unconstitutional. Biden has said he would go through each request separately to determine whether that privilege should be waived.
While not spelled out in the Constitution, executive privilege has developed to protect a president's ability to obtain candid counsel from his advisers without fear of immediate public disclosure and to protect his confidential communications relating to official responsibilities.
But that privilege has its limitations in extraordinary situations, as exemplified during the Watergate scandal, when the Supreme Court ruled it could not be used to shield the release of secret Oval Office tapes sought in a criminal inquiry, and following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Monday's lawsuit was filed by Jesse Binnall, an attorney based in Alexandria, Virginia, who represented Trump in an unsuccessful lawsuit late last year seeking to overturn Biden's victory in Nevada. Trump and his allies have continued to make baseless claims about voter fraud in the 2020 election.
Trump's suit quotes from the U.S. Supreme Court's 2020 ruling in a case by House committees seeking the then-sitting president's tax returns and other financial records. But that case involved courts enforcing a congressional subpoena. The high court in that case directed lower courts to apply a balancing test to determine whether to turn over the records — it's still pending.
The lawsuit came the day before the Jan. 6 committee was scheduled to vote on whether to recommend criminal contempt charges against former White House adviser Steve Bannon after he defied a subpoena.
While Bannon has said he needs a court order before complying with his subpoena, former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and former White House and Pentagon aide Kashyap Patel are negotiating with the committee. It is unclear whether a fourth former White House aide, Dan Scavino, will comply.
The committee has also subpoenaed more than a dozen people who helped plan Trump rallies ahead of the siege, and some of them have already said they would turn over documents and give testimony.
Photos show scenes of Jan. 6 Capitol attacks on police
This still frame from Metropolitan Police Department body-worn camera video shows Thomas Webster, in red jacket, charging at a police officer with a flagpole at a barricade line at on the west front of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. Webster, a Marine Corps veteran and retired New York City Police Department Officer, is accused of assaulting an MPD officer with a flagpole. A number of law enforcement officers were assaulted while attempting to prevent rioters from entering the U.S. Capitol.
This still frame from Metropolitan Police Department body-worn camera video shows Thomas Webster, in red jacket, at a barricade line at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. Webster, a Marine Corps veteran and retired New York City Police Department Officer, is accused of assaulting an MPD officer with a flagpole.
This still frame from Metropolitan Police Department body-worn camera video shows Thomas Webster, in red jacket, at a barricade line on the west front of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington.
This still frame from Metropolitan Police Department body worn camera video shows Thomas Webster, in red jacket, at a barricade line at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington.
This still frame from Metropolitan Police Department body camera video shows Thomas Webster, in red jacket, at a barricade line at the west front of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington.
Photos: Donald Trump through the years
1999: Possible Reform Party candidate for president Donald Trump, left, talks with Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura about being self-made men and not from the "lucky sperm club" meaning other candidates were born into wealth.
1999: Donald Trump and his girlfriend Melania Knauss enjoy a moment at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, May 1, during the 125th Kentucky Derby.
'How to Get Rich'
Entrepreneur turned TV star, Donald Trump, is shown at at Barnes and Nobles Lincoln Square in New York, where he signed copies of his new book "How To Get Rich" on Wednesday, March 24, 2004.
On the course
Developer Donald Trump poses next to a green side bunker on hole 11 at his new golf course, Trump National Golf Club on January 14, 2005 in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. (Mel Melcon/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
Donald Trump shows off his updated golf course by hitting a ceremonial tee shot off the first tee at Trump National Doral, Feb. 6, 2014, in Doral, Fla. (David Walters/Miami Herald/MCT)
Dustin Johnson celebrates with Donald Trump as he holds the Gene Sarazen Cup after winning the WGC-Cadillac Championship on Sunday, March 8, 2015, at Trump National Doral in Doral, Fla. (Patrick Farrell/Miami Herald/TNS)
Donald Trump, chairman of The Trump Organization, and tennis champion Serena Williams attend the grand opening of the Tennis Performance Center at the Trump National Golf Club on April 7, 2015 in Sterling, Va. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump makes a campaign stop aboard the USS Iowa battleship in Los Angeles on Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2015. (Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
Debating Jeb Bush
Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump, left, and Jeb Bush spar early in the GOP debate at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, Calif., on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015. (Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
Las Vegas debate
Presidential candidate Donald Trump walks on stage during the CNN Republican presidential debate at the Venetian in Las Vegas on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015. (Riccardo Savi/Sipa USA/TNS)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump greets the crowd during a rally at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum in Biloxi, Miss., on Saturday, Jan. 2, 2016. (John Fitzhugh/Biloxi Sun Herald/TNS)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally in Walterboro, S.C., on Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2016. (Olivier Douliery/TNS)
Winning South Carolina
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, after winning the South Carolina primary, speaks to supporters at the Spartanburg Marriott in Spartanburg, S.C., on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016. (Olivier Douliery/TNS)
She's with him
Barbara Tomasino of Plano, Texas shows off her dress in support for Trump at the Donald J. Trump for President Rally at the Fort Worth Convention Center on Friday, Feb. 26, 2016, in Fort Worth, Texas. (Ron Jenkins/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS)
A supporter greets GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump as he signs autographs for supporters following his speech at the Cabarrus Arena on Monday, March 7, 2016 in Concord, N.C. (Jeff Siner/Charlotte Observer/TNS)
From left, Republican presidential candidates, Sen. Marco Rubio, Donald Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz, stand for the national anthem prior to the GOP presidential primary debate at the University of Miami's Bank United Center in Coral Gables, Fla., on Thursday, March 10, 2016. (Pedro Portal/El Nuevo Herald/TNS)
Waving to supporters
GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump waves to supporters at Lenoir-Rhyne University on March 14, 2016 in Hickory, N.C. (Jeff Siner/Charlotte Observer/TNS)
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, left, and former Arizona governor Jan Brewer, center, greet Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at a rally at Fountain Park in Fountain Hills, Ariz., on Saturday, March 19, 2016. Arizona holds its presidential primary on Tuesday. (Allen J. Schaben/ Los Angeles Times/TNS)
The Trump family
From right, Ivanka, Donald Jr.and Erik Trump listen as their father, US presidential hopeful Donald Trump, speaks at Turnberry hotel in South Ayrshire, where the Trump Turnberry golf course has been revamped, on June 24, 2016. (Andrew Milligan/PA Wire/Abaca Press/TNS)
At the convention
Republican candidate Donald Trump introduces his wife Melania Trump on the first day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland on Monday, July 18, 2016. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump accepts the party's nomination on the last day of the Republican National Convention on Thursday, July 21, 2016, at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump stands on stage with his family and running mate Mike Pence after accepting the party's nomination on the last day of the Republican National Convention on Thursday, July 21, 2016, at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)
Showing her support
Veronica Butler, 13, wears Trump socks as US Presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to members of the National Association of Home Builders at the Fontainebleau Hotel on Thursday, Aug. 11, 2016 in Miami Beach, Fla. (Al Diaz/Miami Herald/TNS)
President-elect Donald Trump, right, is seen at a joint press conference with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto after their Aug. 31, 2016 meeting in Mexico City, Mexico. (Str/Xinhua/Sipa USA/TNS)
Donald Trump and and Hillary Clinton on stage during the second debate between the Republican and Democratic presidential candidates on Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016 at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo. (Christian Gooden/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/TNS)
Casting his vote
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump casts his ballot on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016 as he votes in New York City, N.Y. (Gary Hershorn/Zuma Press/TNS)
President-elect Donald Trump speaks to supporters at the Election Night Party at the Hilton Midtown Hotel in New York City on Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016. (J. Conrad Williams Jr./Newsday/TNS)
In the Oval Office
U.S. President Barack Obama meets with President-elect Donald Trump on Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016 in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C. in their first public step toward a transition of power. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)
U.S. President Donald Trump sits at a table with former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney on Nov. 29, 2016 at Jean Georges Restaurant in New York City, N.Y. (John Angelillo/Pool/Sipa USA/TNS)
President-elect Donald Trump and President Barack Obama arrive for Trump's inauguration ceremony at the Capitol on Jan. 20, 2017 in Washington, D.C. (J. Scott Applewhite/Sipa USA/TNS)
President Donald Trump gives a thumb up during the 58th Presidential Inauguration on Jan. 20, 2017 in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)
Taking the oath
Chief Justice of the United States John G. Roberts, Jr. administers the oath of office to President Donald Trump during the 58th Presidential Inauguration on Jan. 20, 2017 in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)
First Lady Melania Trump, from left, President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and Second Lady Karen Pence, wave goodbye to Executive One flying off carrying outgoing President Barack Obama and outgoing First Lady Michelle Obama after President Donald Trump's inauguration as the 45th President of The United States on Jan. 20, 2017 in Washington, D.C. (Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
Armed Forces Ball
President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump dance with Vice President Mike Pence and Karen Pence at the A Salute to Our Armed Services Ball on Jan. 20, 2017 in Washington, D.C. (Kevin Dietsch/Sipa USA/TNS)
President Donald Trump, left, shakes hands with James Comey, then director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, in the Blue Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., on January 22, 2017. Trump on June 16 lashed out at the Justice Department official with authority over the special counsel probe of Russian election-meddling, and acknowledged that his firing of Comey as FBI director is a focus of the investigation. (Andrew Harrer/Pool/Sipa USA/TNS)
Trump to lay out his agenda to Congress
U.S. President Donald J. Trump delivers his first address to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017 at the Capitol in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)
Thanking school children
President Donald Trump thanks fourth-graders Janayah Chatelier and Landon Fritz for the homemade greeting cards they presented during his visit to St. Andrew Catholic School Friday, March 3, 2017, in Orlando, Fla. With the president, from left, is Jared Kushner, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, and Ivanka Trump. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/TNS)
Medal of Honor recipients
U.S. President Donald Trump meets with Medal of Honor recipients in the Oval Office of the White House on March 24, 2017 in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)
Justice Anthony Kennedy swears in Neil Gorsuch
Justice Anthony Kennedy speaks as President Donald trump shakes hands with Neil Gorsuch ibefore a swearing in ceremony at the White House Rose Garden April 10, 2017 in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)
Easter Egg Roll
President Donald Trump makes cards for members of the military at the annual Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House April 17, 2017 in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)
Super Bowl champs
President Donald Trump holds a Patriots Super Bowl jersey next to coach Bill Belichick, left, and owner Robert Kraft, right, as he welcomes the Super Bowl Champions the New England Patriots to the White House on the South Lawn on April 19, 2017 in Washington, D.C. (Molly Riley/Pool/Sipa USA/TNS)
Little Sisters of the Poor
U.S. President Donald Trump greets the Little Sisters of the Poor before signing the Executive Order on Promoting Free Speech and Religious Liberty during a National Day of Prayer Event on Thursday, May 4, 2017 in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)
Russian foreign minister, ambassador
From left, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, U.S. President Donald Trump, and Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergei Kislyak talk during a meeting in the Oval Office at the White House Wednesday, May 10, 2017 in Washington, D.C. (Alexander Shcherbak/TASS/Abaca Press/TNS)
At the Western Wall
U.S. President Donald Trump visits the Western Wall on May 22, 2017 in Jerusalem. President Trump arrived in Israel for a two day visit, as part of his first trip abroad since being elected. (Jini/Xinhua/Zuma Press/TNS)
Meeting the pope
Pope Francis meets with U.S. President Donald Trump and his wife Melania Trump on Wednesday, May 24, 2017 at the Vatican. (Evandro Inetti/Vaticanpool/Hearin/Zuma Press/TNS)
Wreath-laying ceremony in Arlington
President Donald Trump greets people as he walks through Section 60 after participating in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day, May 29, 2017 in Arlington, Va. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)
Clemson Tigers players take selfie with President Donald Trump during a ceremony to honor their 2016 NCAA Football National Champion on the South Lawn of the White House June 12, 2017 in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump shake hands with Dr. Ira Rabin while leaving the MedStar Washington Hospital Center in northeast D.C., after visiting with victims of the Alexandria shooting on Wednesday, June 14, 2017. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)
At the White House
U.S President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence arrive in the East Room to participate in the American Leadership in Emerging Technology Event on Thursday, June 22, 2017 at the White House in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump greet guests at the Congressional Picnic on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, June 22, 2017. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)
Go, Cubs, go
U.S President Donald Trump meets with the Chicago Cubs in the Oval Office of the White House Wednesday, June 28, 2017 in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)
Departing the White House
President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump depart the White House in Washington, DC, on July 12, 2017. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)
USS Gerald R. Ford joins the Navy
President Donald Trump, left, acknowledges Captain Richard McCormack, right, during the commissioning ceremony for the USS Gerald R. Ford on Saturday, July 22, 2017, at Naval Station Norfolk, Va. (Aileen Devlin/Newport News Daily Press/TNS)
U.S. President Donald J. Trump, right, points skywards as he prepares to look at the partial eclipse of the sun from the Blue Room Balcony of the White House on Monday, Aug. 21, 2017 in Washington, D.C. First lady Melania Trump is at left. (Ron Sachs/CNP/Sipa USA/TNS)
U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump, joined by White House staff, participate in a moment of silence on the 16th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the United States, at the White House on Sept. 11, 2017 in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)
Trump addresses world leaders at U.N. General Assembly
President Donald Trump addresses world leaders at the UN General Assembly in New York on Sept. 19, 2017. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)
Las Vegas shooting
President Donald Trump makes a statement on the mass shooting at an outdoor concert in Las Vegas in the diplomatic room of the White House in Washington, D.C, Oct. 2, 2017. More than 50 people were killed Sunday night when a gunman opened fire into a country music festival on the Las Vegas Strip. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)
Trump visits Puerto Rico
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania arrive at Muniz Air National Guard Base in Carolina, Puerto Rico on Oct. 3, 2017, almost two weeks after Hurricane Maria hit the island. (Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
Trump meets Kissinger
U.S. President Donald Trump meets with Dr. Henry Kissinger.in the Oval office of the White House Oct. 10, 2017 in Washington D.C.. (Olivier Douliery/ Abaca Press/TNS)
U.S. President Donald Trump welcomes Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to the White House on Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017 in Washington D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)
Medal of Honor
U.S. President Donald Trump presents the Medal of Honor to Vietnam war army medic retired Army Capt. Gary M. Rose of Huntsville, Ala., during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House Oct. 23, 2017 in Washington D.C. (Olivier Douliery/ Abaca Press/TS)
U.S President Donald Trump welcomes kids dressed for Halloween in the Oval Office of the White House, on Oct. 27, 2017 in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)
National Christmas Tree Lighting
U.S President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrive on stage after they lit the National Christmas Tree at the National Christmas Tree Lightening Ceremony on Nov. 30, 2017 in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)
Celebrating GOP tax plan
President Donald Trump shakes hands with House Speaker Paul Ryan as they celebrate the tax bill's passage with members of the House and Senate on Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2017 during an event on the South Portico of the White House in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)
March for Life
U.S. President Donald Trump kisses a March for Life Participant in the Rose Garden of the White House Jan. 19, 2018 in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)
State of the Union
President Donald Trump delivers his first State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS
President Donald Trump meets with students, parents and teachers affected by mass shootings in Parkland, Fla., Newtown, Conn., and Columbine, Colo., to search for policies to keep America's schools safe in the State Dining Room of the White House on Wednesday, February 21, 2018 in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump welcome Brigitte Macron and French President Emmanuel Macron during a state dinner arrival ceremony at the White House on Tuesday, April 24, 2018, in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)
2018 Snowborder gold medalist Red Gerard reacts during a celebration for Team USA following the 2018 Winter Olympics on the North Portico of the White House Friday, April 27, 2018 in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)
Greeting a guest
U.S. President Donald Trump greets guests as he walks toward Marine One while departing from the White House, on May 4, 2018 in Washington, DC. President Trump is traveling to Dallas, TX where he will participate in the National Rifle Association Leadership Forum. (Olivier Douliery/ ABACA PRESS/TNS)
U.S. President Donald Trump greets the three Americans freed from North Korea upon their arrival at Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington early Thursday morning, May 10, 2018 in Maryland. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)
Top leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) Kim Jong Un, left, shakes hands with U.S. President Donald Trump in Singapore before the first-ever DPRK-U.S. summit in June 12, 2018. (The Straits Times/Xinhua/Zuma Press/TNS)
With Kim Kardashian West
Kim Kardashian West, who is among the celebrities who have advocated for criminal justice reform, speaks during an event on second chance hiring and criminal justice reform with President Donald Trump in the East Room of the White House, Thursday, June 13, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
President Donald Trump walks from the White House through Lafayette Park to visit St. John's Church Monday, June 1, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Trump North Carolina
Former President Donald Trump speaks at the North Carolina Republican Convention Saturday, June 5, 2021, in Greenville, N.C. (AP Photo/Chris Seward)