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Monday, December 09, 2019

By Jan Wolfe

(Reuters) - The congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol on Thursday urged the Supreme Court to deny a request by former President Donald Trump to shield some of his White House records.

In a written brief, the committee asked the high court to leave in place a lower court ruling that cleared the way for investigators to see telephone records, visitor logs and other documents for the closing weeks of Trump's presidency.

"Although the facts are unprecedented, this case is not a difficult one," lawyers for the House of Representatives committee said in their brief.

The committee has said it needs the requested materials to understand the role Trump may have played in fomenting the riot.

More than 100 police officers were injured during the multi-hour onslaught by Trump supporters, and four officers have since taken their own lives.

U.S. President Joe Biden had previously determined that the records, which belong to the executive branch, should not be subject to executive privilege, which protects the confidentially of some internal White House communications, and that turning them over to Congress was in the country's best interests.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled this month that Trump had no basis to challenge Biden's decision to allow the documents to be handed over. That decision will remain on hold until the Supreme Court acts.

On Dec. 23, Trump asked the Supreme Court to block the release of White House records, arguing the committee's request is "exceedingly broad" and an "unprecedented encroachment on executive privilege."

The documents are with the National Archives, the U.S. government's official body for preserving government records.

The Select Committee's lawyers said in Thursday's brief that each passing day without the documents handicaps a committee whose authorization expires on Jan. 3, 2023.

(Reporting by Jan Wolfe; Editing by Howard Goller)

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