In a breakthrough for congressional investigators, a federal court decided on Tuesday that a US House of Representatives committee probing the deadly 6 January attack on the US Capitol can access former President Donald Trump’s White House records.
US District Judge Tanya Chutkan in the District of Columbia rejected an argument by Trump’s lawyers that telephone records, visitor logs and other White House documents should be hidden from the committee.
Trump had argued that the materials requested by the House committee were covered by a legal doctrine known as executive privilege that protects the confidentiality of some White House communications.
He requested an injunction blocking the National Archives, a federal agency that holds his White House records, from complying with the committee’s document requests.
The committee has said it needs the requested materials to understand the role Trump may have played in fomenting the riot.
Trump gave an incendiary speech before the assault on the Capitol, repeating his false claims that the November 2020 election was stolen from him through widespread voting fraud and urging his supporters to go to the Capitol and “fight like hell” to “stop the steal.”
His supporters stormed the Capitol in a failed bid to prevent Congress from formally certifying now-President Joe Biden’s election victory. Biden, a Democrat, took office on 20 January.
About 700 people face criminal charges stemming from the riot.