Obama DOJ official outlines three 'fundamental problems' with Trump's Capitol riot lawsuit
A top official from the Obama-era Justice Department cited multiple weaknesses with former President Donald Trump's lawsuit against the Capitol riot committee and the National Archives.
Neal Katyal, acting solicitor general of the United States between 2010 and 2011, outlined three "fundamental problems" with the complaint filed in federal court on Monday that seeks to block the release of documents to the Jan. 6 panel and challenge President Joe Biden's decision to waive executive privilege .
"One, Donald Trump is no longer the president, and the Supreme Court has said, really, the privilege is held by the incumbent. And Trump literally filed this lawsuit. He said — quote — 'In his capacity as the 45th president of the United States.' That's a title with about as much legal significance as, you know, also-ran in the 2005 Emmy Awards or something. Zero significance," Katyal said on MSNBC's The Beat with Ari Melber .
Second, he said, was the scope.
"When Congress created executive privilege to protect what they call the deliberative process, I don't think the deliberation they had in mind was trying to overthrow democracy. So I just don't think that privilege applies to this kind of stuff," Katyal said.
"And then, thirdly," he added, "the claims themselves in the lawsuit. Like, literally, the lawsuit says that Congress is acting — quote — 'vexatious' in an 'illegal fishing operation,' which is kind of rich coming from a guy who wanted the Justice Department to investigate whether Italians beamed in Biden pallets from space and stuff."
Katyal also alluded to the House Jan. 6 select committee announcing it would move forward with holding former Trump White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, who was not in office around the time of the Capitol riot, in criminal contempt for failing to show up for a deposition after Trump urged his former advisers to resist the subpoenas.
The Jan. 6 committee has scheduled a 7:30 p.m. vote Tuesday to recommend criminal contempt for Bannon. If passed, it will go to the full House for consideration. If the Justice Department prosecutes Bannon and he is convicted, he could face fines up to $100,000 and up to a year in prison.
"I mean, it's just absurd, start to finish. And that's why I do think, if you're Bannon or if you're Trump, you got to worry about the vote tomorrow on contempt. This has a lot of gravity behind it on a really serious investigation," Katyal said.
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