Judge will hear Trump’s offer to block the investigation of riots in the US Capitol.

A U.S. judge will hear arguments from Donald Trump’s lawyers Thursday that hundreds of pages of his White House records should be withheld from a House committee investigating the Jan.6 riot on Capitol Hill. by a crowd of his supporters.

US District Judge Tanya Chutkan should consider the former Republican president’s arguments that phone call records, visitor logs and other materials requested by the Democratic-led committee should be kept confidential. The hearing is scheduled to begin at 11 am ET (1500 GMT).

Trump sued the nine-member select committee on Oct. 18, arguing that the requested materials are covered by a legal doctrine known as executive privilege that protects the confidentiality of some White House communications. Trump left office on January 20.

“The Committee’s requests are unprecedented in their breadth and scope and are not tied to any legitimate legislative purpose,” Trump’s attorney Jesse Binnall wrote in the lawsuit.

The committee requested the materials from the US National Archives, which holds the records.

Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson, chair of the committee, and Republican Rep. Liz Cheney, its vice chair, said in a statement after the lawsuit was filed that Trump seeks to “delay and obstruct” the investigation.

“It’s hard to imagine a more compelling public interest than trying to get answers about an attack on our democracy and an attempt to overturn the results of an election,” Cheney and Thompson said.

FORMER US PRESIDENT Donald Trump attends his first post-presidential campaign rally in Wellington, Ohio, in June. (credit: REUTERS / SHANNON STAPLETON)

Trump delivered an incendiary speech before the deadly riots repeating his false claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him through widespread election fraud and urging his supporters to go to Capitol Hill and “fight like hell” to “overcome the Stole”. His supporters stormed the Capitol in a failed attempt to prevent Congress from formally certifying the electoral victory of Democratic President Joe Biden.

The committee has said it needs the requested materials to understand the role Trump may have played in fueling the unrest. He has said that the requests are within his powers and driven by the clear legislative purpose of understanding the facts and causes surrounding the riot and developing legislation to protect against a similar assault in the future.

About 700 people face criminal charges stemming from the riots.

On October 21, the House voted to have former Trump chief strategist Steve Bannon despise Congress for refusing to cooperate with the investigation. Bannon has refused to comply with the committee’s subpoenas for documents and his testimony, citing Trump’s insistence, questioned by some legal experts, that his communications are protected by executive privilege.

The Justice Department must now decide whether to bring criminal charges against Bannon.


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