Mar-a-Lago: DOJ can resume criminal probe of classified documents, appeals court


The emergency intervention upends a trial judge’s order over those documents that had blocked federal investigators’ work on the documents, and is a strong rebuke of the Trump team’s attempt to suggest without evidence that materials were somehow declassified. Trump’s options to block the criminal investigation are now dimming with one of his only remaining possibilities being an emergency request to the Supreme Court.

The ruling was issued by a three-judge panel of the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals — two of whom were nominated by Trump.

A special master’s review of that subset of about 100 records, which would’ve allowed Trump’s legal team to see them, is now partially stopped. The special master, Judge Raymond Dearie, is able to continue his work reviewing the rest of the material seized from Mar-a-Lago, to make sure records belonging to Trump or that he may be able to claim are confidential aren’t used by investigators.

Those records — which prosecutors have said contain highly sensitive national security information — are at the heart of the criminal investigation into the mishandling of federal records after the Trump presidency. Concern over them was a major factor that prompted the Justice Department and a court to authorize the unprecedented search of the former President’s home.

Altogether, the 29-page opinion was a major boost to the arguments the Justice Department has made throughout the dispute over the Mar-a-Lago documents, while undermining several claims that Trump had made about the materials the FBI seized.

New York attorney general files civil fraud lawsuit against Trump, some of his children and his business

“It is self-evident that the public has a strong interest in ensuring that the storage of the classified records did not result in ‘exceptionally grave damage to the national security,'” the three-judge panel stated. “Ascertaining that necessarily involves reviewing the documents, determining who had access to them and when, and deciding which (if any) sources or methods are compromised.”

In acknowledging what may be the biggest problem for Trump as the investigation continues, the appeals court noted that even former presidents shouldn’t have classified information without the federal government’s approval.

“For our part, we cannot discern why the Plaintiff would have an individual interest in or need for any of the one hundred documents with classification markings,” the appeals court wrote, noting that classified records are controlled by the current government and only should be shared on a need-to-know basis.

“This requirement pertains equally to former Presidents, unless the current administration, in its discretion, chooses to waive that requirement.”

Court rebukes Trump on declassified claims

Throughout the litigation, Trump’s lawyers have raised vague questions about whether the materials are in fact classified. But they have not straightforwardly asserted in court that the former President declassified them, even as Trump himself has claimed outside of court that he did.

Wednesday night, the appeals court panel called Trump’s legal team out.

“Plaintiff suggests that he may have declassified these documents when he was President,” the court wrote. “But the record contains no evidence that any of these records…



Read More: Mar-a-Lago: DOJ can resume criminal probe of classified documents, appeals court

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More

Live News

Get more stuff like this
in your inbox

Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting stuff and updates to your email inbox.

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.