Capitol Riot: Appeals court says Trump cannot hide key files

A US appeals court has rejected a case brought forward by former President Donald Trump to block access to his White House files from Capitol riot investigators. Mr Trump has argued the files must come under the executive privilege that means presidential files can be hidden from public view. However, the current president, Joe Biden, has waived this privilege on the documents needed.

The lawmakers currently investigating the riot are trying to find out if Mr Trump had foreknowledge of the event which took place on 6 January. Trump supporters stormed the Capitol building just as Congress was meeting to certify Joe Biden’s winning result. Mr Trump had earlier claimed, without evidence, there was mass voter fraud leading to the result, and still refuses to acknowledge losing to Mr Biden, issues that have led to critics accusing Mr Trump of “whipping up unrest” in his supporters.

As the three judges from the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit gave their result, they said there had been “no basis” provided to overturn Mr Biden’s waiver. They confirmed that there was a unique legislative need for the records as agreed by both branches of the government.

The inquiry is being conducted by a committee set up by the House of Representatives, which is dominated by President Biden’s 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.

Mr Trump’s lawyers had said in an earlier 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”. To date, more than 670 people have been arrested for the invasion of the Capitol building, with jail sentences being handed out to some for their part in the Capitol Riot.

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Written by

Claire Gordon