Trump seeks to block US Capitol riot investigators

Former US president Donald Trump is seeking to block January 6 investigators from seeing hundreds of pages of White House documents that include his handwritten notes as well as phone call logs, the US national archives and records administration told a court late on Friday.

A congressional panel has asked the US national archives the US government’s official body for preserving government records and making them publicly available to release nearly 1,600 pages of documents as part of their investigation into the deadly assault by Trump supporters on the US Capitol.

Trump, however, has demanded that about 760 pages be withheld, the national archives said, in a filing with a US district court.

The former president is arguing that normal rules for the secrecy of White House documents should apply and that the congressional panel, which includes Trump critics from the Democratic and Republican parties, is a “witch hunt”.

But US President Joe Biden has waived the secrecy rules, arguing that it is in America’s interest to understand Trump’s role in the attempt by his supporters to overturn his victory over Trump in the November 2020 presidential election.

Trump urged supporters to attend the January 6 rally, telling them it “will be wild”. Then at the rally he urged them to march on the Capitol and “show strength”.

He also made false claims that he lost the election because of fraud.

Shortly afterward, supporters violently broke into the US Capitol and tried to stop lawmakers from certifying Biden’s victory. Four people died on the day of the violence, one shot dead by police and the other three of natural causes.

The Democrat-controlled House impeached Trump for inciting insurrection. He was later acquitted in the US Senate.

The records Trump wants kept from investigators include “daily presidential diaries, schedules, appointments showing White House visitors, activity logs call logs.”

The records could shed light on “what was occurring at the White House immediately before, during and after the January 6 attack,” according to the filing.

Trump is also seeking to block access to documents from binders kept by former press secretary Kayleigh McEnany.

A November 4 hearing will consider Trump’s claim of executive privilege.

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