Trump papers paused in Jan 6 riot probe

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A US appeals court has put off allowing congressional investigators access to former president Donald Trump's White House records relating to the January 6 attack on the Capitol.

The court has instead scheduled a hearing on the matter for November 30.

Trump's lawyers had asked the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to put Tuesday's lower court ruling to allow access to the papers on hold pending an appeal, which they said could be fast-tracked.

The three judges on the appeals panel randomly assigned to the case were all appointed to the judiciary by either President Joe Biden or former president Barack Obama, both Democrats.

The National Archives, a federal agency that holds Trump's White House records, had been scheduled to give Congress hundreds of pages of documents on Friday.

District Judge Tanya Chutkan's decision on Tuesday allowed the House of Representatives committee investigating the attack to access telephone records, visitor logs and other White House documents that Trump wants blocked.

The committee has said it needs the requested materials to understand the role Trump may have played in fomenting the riot in which his supporters aimed to block the certification of Biden's November election win.

The former president had argued the materials requested by the committee were covered by executive privilege, which protects the confidentiality of some White House communications.

But Chutkan rejected that argument in a clear win for congressional oversight powers.

Meanwhile, Trump's former White House chief of staff has been threatened with a criminal contempt referral if he does not appear before the panel and hand over required documents by Friday morning.

The House of Representatives Select Committee will view Mark Meadows' actions as wilful non-compliance, the panel's Democratic chairman Bennie Thompson said in a letter to Meadows' lawyer.

The committee announced in September that it had subpoenaed Meadows, citing reports the former House member had communicated with state and federal officials - including members of Congress - as part of an effort to overturn Trump's defeat in the 2020 presidential election.

Thompson said Meadows has not produced a single document.

"Although you previously indicated that your firm was searching records that Mr. Meadows provided to you, more than enough time has passed for you to complete your review", the letter to Meadows' attorney George Terwilliger said.

Terwilliger did not immediately respond to a request for comment. He had issued a statement earlier on Thursday suggesting Meadows would not co-operate with the committee until all legal disputes were resolved.

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