Trump asks judge to block DOJ from viewing classified documents seized at Mar-a-Lago

WASHINGTON — Lawyers for former President Donald Trump on Monday asked a judge to continue blockage the Department of Justice to review classified documents seized from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence.

US District Judge Aileen Cannon last week temporarily blocked the DOJ to use records seized Aug. 8 when the FBI searched Trump’s home until a special master was able to examine them. The DOJ challenged its order later in the week.

In a court deposit On Monday, who called the Justice Department’s investigation into the former president “unprecedented and flawed,” Trump’s lawyers said “there still remains disagreement as to the classification status of the documents” that bore classified marks. While Trump and his associates have claimed to the media that Trump, while president, declassified various documents, his attorneys have not made this claim explicitly.

The legal battle centers on the government’s investigation into how hundreds of pages of classified government documents continued to be stored at Mar-a-Lago, even after a Trump lawyer certified in June that he there were no more classified documents in the area. Cannon, a Trump appointee, granted Trump request for a special master on September 5 and temporarily blocked the government from using the classified files in its investigation.

Cannon said a national security review of the records could proceed, but the Justice Department said it was complicated because the FBI is part of the intelligence community and “the review and classification assessment are intertwined with – and cannot be easily separated from – DOJ investigative areas and the FBI’s ongoing criminal investigation.”

Legal experts called Cannon’s decision deeply flawedand the Justice Department argued that barring the executive from reviewing classified records belonging to the executive would cause “immediate and serious harm to the government and the public.”

Last week, the Department of Justice informed the court that it would appeal its decision and asked Cannon to suspend part of its decision on classified documents, which means the government could move forward with action on classified documents before a special master intervenes.

But Trump’s lawyers said such a stay “would presuppose the outcome, at least with respect to what he considers ‘classified documents,'” and wrote that “there is no indication that alleged “classified documents” have been leaked to anyone. The filing also says that under the Presidential Records Act, the former president “has absolute right of access to his presidential records even if he does not ‘own’ them.” They referred to the dispute over Trump’s retention of at least 11,000 pages from government records to a “civil case” governed by the Archives Act.

The government, Trump’s team argued, was trying to block a “reasonable first step toward restoring order from chaos and increasing public confidence in the integrity of the process.” He said that unlike most criminal investigations, this investigation required public transparency at every step.

“As the Court rightly observed, a criminal investigation of this magnitude – an investigation of a former President of the United States by the administration of his political rival – requires heightened vigilance to ensure fairness, transparency and maintaining public trust,” said the filing signed by attorney Christopher Kiss Lily. “Given the importance of this investigation, the Court agrees with President Trump that it must be conducted in public view.”

The Justice Department and the Trump team have each proposed two candidates to serve as a special master. The Trump team said in a separate filing on Monday that it opposes both Justice Department nominees but would not state the reasons for its opposition on the public record.

The Justice Department on Monday urged the court to select one of its two proposed nominees — retired Justices Barbara S. Jones or Thomas B. Griffith — or District U.S. District Court Judge Raymond J. Dearie. eastern New York, a nominee proposed by Trump’s legal team.

“Justices Jones, Griffith and Dearie each have substantial judicial experience, during which they have presided over federal criminal and civil cases, including federal cases involving issues of national security and privilege,” the attorney wrote. American Juan Antonio Gonzalez. Gonzalez said the Justice Department objected to Trump’s attorney’s recommendation regarding Paul Huck Jr., arguing that he “doesn’t appear to have a similar experience.”

Many legal experts agree there is a very strong case to be made against Trumpalthough they say the question of whether to actually indict the former president is a difficult one.

John Yoo, a former Justice Department employee from the George W. Bush era who helped write the “torture memos” on interrogation techniques after the 9/11 attacks, and whose Executive branch view held that the president could order the culling of a village, said Trump’s actions were clearly against the law.

“Trump is not allowed to have the archives and keep them. He could get copies of them. But he can’t keep them out of the Archives. That’s settled,” Yoo said during a interview at the National Conference on Conservatism. “It’s not whether Trump broke the law. He did. It’s not whether the government had legal grounds for the search warrant. It did. The question really is whether s ‘He could be charged.

“The real issue, and I think both people on both sides should recognize this, is it a good use of the prosecutor’s discretion – of judgment – to charge him?” Yo said. “So my view is that if you’re going to prosecute a president for the first time in American history for breaking a law, I think it should be for something much bigger than that. Like, for example , being involved in the January 6 Plot.”

Trump’s latest dossier for the first time refers to what has been called “the Clinton sock case”, a 2012 ruling regarding the power of a former president – ​​in this case, Bill Clinton – to unilaterally decide what is a private record and what is a Presidential Records Act document in his post-presidency.

The case was brought by the conservative group Judicial Watch – which sought to force Clinton to hand over the tapes recorded during his presidency and which were, according to a 2007 CBS report, stored at one time in a sock drawer. Judge Amy Berman Jackson, appointed by President Barack Obama, ruled that Clinton did not have to turn them over because they were personal records.

However, not mentioned by Trump defenders who started raising the issue of the sock drawer affair last month is that Jackson’s decision explicitly states that the Presidential Records Act distinguishes presidential records from “personal records,” defined as documents of a “purely private or non-public character.”

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