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Court temporarily blocks release of Trump White House records to Capitol riot investigation committee

A US appeals court has temporarily denied a bid by US Capitol riot investigators to access ex-President Donald Trump’s White House records.

The court ruling comes two days after a lower court ordered the documents to be turned over to the congressional committee leading the inquiry into the January 6 Capitol mob riot.

The lawmakers are trying to find out if Trump had prior knowledge of the riot.

Trump supporters stormed the Capitol building on 6 January as Congress was meeting to certify the election result after Trump refused to acknowledge losing the election to President Joe Biden last year, making claims – without evidence – of mass voter fraud.

 

The inquiry is being conducted by a committee set up by the House of Representatives, which is dominated by Democrats.

The panel wants to see phone records, visitor logs and other White House documents that could shed light on events leading up to the attack on Congress.

The US Court of Appeals in Washington has now placed a temporary hold on a lower court’s order to hand over the trove by Friday.

The appeals court said it will schedule a hearing for 30 November. The case will be heard by three judges who were selected at random, according to US media. All three were appointed by Democratic presidents.

 

Trump’s lawyers had said in their emergency filing to the appeals court that their client could “suffer irreparable harm through the effective denial of a constitutional and statutory right to be fully heard on a serious disagreement between the former and incumbent President”.

Trump – a Republican – has argued his White House communications were protected by executive privilege, under which presidential documents can be kept secret. Biden has waived executive privilege on the files.

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