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Trump attorneys to ask federal judge to keep records from Jan. 6 investigators

Sgt. Aquilino Gonell of the U.S. Capitol Police wipes away tears Tuesday as he testifies before members of the Select Committee investigating the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Pool Photo by Jim Lo Scalzo/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 4 (UPI) -- For the first time, a federal judge on Thursday will hear arguments from attorneys of former President Donald Trump that will ask the court to block the release of numerous records from his administration to the congressional Jan. 6 investigative committee.

Trump's lawyers will try to persuade the judge to issue an injunction to keep the National Archives and Records Administration from giving the documents to House investigators as part of the broad inquiry into the attack on the U.S. Capitol by radical Trump supporters.

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The attorneys' main claim in seeking the restraining order is executive privilege, which allows presidents and former presidents under certain circumstances to keep records confidential and shields them from some congressional and judicial subpoenas.

The privilege, however, is based in the notion that revealing certain information or records would pose a threat to national security or impair the operations of the federal government.

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It wasn't clear how Trump's attorneys plan to make such an argument relating to the items sought by House investigators, which include call records, visitor logs and unseen files from Trump's senior aides.

U.S. District Judge for the District of Columbia Tanya Chutkan will hear the arguments.

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The Jan. 6 committee is trying to determine whether Trump actively instigated the Capitol assault, which killed several people and injured dozens, and to thwart potential future attacks.

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Federal judge Beryl Howell, chief of the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., has been advising targets of the committee to cooperate with the House investigation, saying that their actions in the case amounted to more minor infractions.

"The rioters attacking the Capitol on Jan. 6 were not mere trespassers engaging in protected First Amendment conduct or protests," Howell said in one sentencing, according to Politico. "Countless videos show the mob that attacked the Capitol was violent."

"Everyone participating in the mob contributed to that violence," he added. "The damage to the reputation of our democracy, which is usually held up around the world but that reputation suffered because of Jan. 6."

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Trump's attorneys are expected to appeal the issue all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, if necessary.

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