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The Republican National Committee filed a lawsuit Wednesday to halt the House of Representatives’ Capitol riot committee from acquiring months of records from email marketing vendor Salesforce.
“The RNC is challenging this unconstitutional overreach so that one of America’s two major political parties may not use the force of government to unlawfully seize the private and sensitive information of the other,” said RNC Chief Counsel Justin Riemer.
The subpoena, first reported by Axios, seeks email data from Election Day 2020 through Jan. 6, 2021, when rioters ransacked the Capitol and disrupted certification of President Biden’s victory in the Electoral College.
An array of Republican groups encouraged supporters of then-President Donald Trump to flock to DC for a “Stop the Steal” rally ahead of the riot. The Republican Attorneys General Association’s Rule of Law Defense Fund, for example, promoted the rally with a robocall.
The subpoena on Salesforce, however, seeks “a staggeringly broad and unduly burdensome set of requests ‘referring or relating to’ RNC documents that have no connection to the attack on January 6, 2021,” the RNC lawsuit says.
“The Salesforce Subpoena is therefore a transparent effort to chill the speech of the Select Committee members’ political opponents,’ the lawsuit says.
The Washington Post reported Tuesday that the Democrat-led committee, which also has as members Reps. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) and Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), is investigating false election claims in political fundraising.
The committee has subpoenaed a broad cross-section of Trump allies and Republican aides, some of whom say they had nothing to do with the events of Jan. 6.
More than 725 people have been arrested and charged with crimes for participating in the riot and the House voted in December to hold in contempt former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows for declining to testify to the committee.
Meadows handed over nearly 9,000 pages of emails and text messages before cutting off contact. Those documents included desperate pleas from journalists, politicians and even Donald Trump Jr. asking Meadows to get Trump to help calm the mob.
Trump’s former White House strategist Steve Bannon was indicted in November by a federal grand jury on two counts of contempt of Congress after he refused to testify before the committee — in the first such prosecution since 1983. Bannon was not a White House employee at the time of the riot.
House Democrats joined by 10 Republicans impeached Trump last January for allegedly inciting the riot. Trump was acquitted by the Senate in a 57-43 vote, with seven Republicans finding him guilty — short of the two-thirds threshold required by the Constitution.