Trump asks judge to stop DOJ from seeing classified records seized from Mar-a-Lago

WASHINGTON — Lawyers for former President Donald Trump asked a judge Monday to continue blocking The Justice Department reviews classified documents seized at Trump’s residence in Mar-a-Lago.

US District Judge Aileen Cannon last week temporarily blocked the DOJ will use the records seized on August 8 when the FBI searched Trump’s home until a special master can review them. The Justice Department challenged his order later in the week.

in a court presentation Calling the Justice Department’s investigation into the former president Monday “unprecedented and misguided,” Trump’s lawyers said “there is still disagreement about the classification status of the documents” that had classified markings. While Trump and his associates have claimed in the media that Trump, while president, declassified various documents, his attorneys did not make that claim explicitly.

The legal battle is over the government’s investigation into how hundreds of pages of classified government records continued to be held at Mar-a-Lago, even after a Trump attorney certified in June that there were no more classified records at the property. Cannon, a Trump appointee, awarded Trump request for a special teacher on September 5 and temporarily blocked the government from using the classified files as part of its investigation.

Cannon said a national security review of the records could go ahead, but the Justice Department said that was complicated because the FBI is part of the intelligence community and “classification review and evaluation are closely interconnected, and they cannot be easily separated from the areas. of inquiry in the ongoing criminal investigation by the Department of Justice and the FBI.

Legal experts have called Cannon’s ruling deeply flawedand the Justice Department argued that prohibiting the executive branch from examining classified records belonging to the executive branch would cause “serious and immediate harm to the government and the public.”

The Justice Department notified the court last week that it would appeal its ruling and I ask Cannon to uphold part of his decision regarding the classified documents, meaning the government could move forward with acting on the classified records before a special master intervened.

But Trump’s lawyers said such a suspension “would be the outcome, at least as far as what he considers ‘classified records’ is concerned,” writing that “there is no indication that any alleged ‘classified records’ have been disclosed to anyone.” . The filing also said that under the Presidential Records Act, the former president “has an unlimited right of access to his presidential records, even though he may not ‘own’ them.” They noted the dispute over Trump’s retention of at least 11,000 pages from government documents to a “civil matter” governed by the law of records.

The administration, the Trump 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 this Court correctly observed, a criminal investigation of this importance, 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 the maintenance of trust. public”, said the presentation signed by a lawyer Christopher Kise read. “Given the importance of this investigation, the Court recognizes, as does President Trump, that it must be conducted in public view.”

Both the Justice Department and the Trump team have each proposed two candidates to serve as a special teacher. Trump’s team said in a separate filing Monday that he opposed both Justice Department candidates but did not want to explain the reasons for his opposition on the public record.

The Justice Department on Monday urged the court to select one of two proposed candidates: retired Justices Barbara S. Jones or Thomas B. Griffith, or US District Court Judge Raymond J. Dearie. for the Eastern District of New York, a candidate proposed by Trump’s legal team.

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

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

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

“Trump cannot have the records and keep them. He could get copies. But he can’t keep them from the Archives. That’s settled,” Yoo said in an interview at the National Conference of Conservatism. “It’s not about whether Trump broke the law. He did. It’s not about whether the government had a legal basis for the search warrant. It does. The question is really whether he could be charged.”

“The real issue, and I think both people on both sides should recognize this, is whether it’s a good use of the prosecutor’s discretion, of the trial, to charge him.” Yoo said. “So my view has been that if you’re going to go after a president for the first time in the history of the United States for breaking a law, I think it should be for something much more important than this. Like, say, being involved with the Conspiracy of January 6”.

Trump’s most recent presentation for the first time refers to what has been called “Clinton’s sock drawer” a 2012 ruling on 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 were, according to a 2007 CBS report, stored at one point in a sock drawer. Judge Amy Berman Jackson, appointed by President Barack Obama, ruled that Clinton did not have to hand them over because they were personal records.

Yet unmentioned by Trump supporters who started bringing up the sock drawer box issue last month is that the Jackson ruling explicitly states that the Presidential Records Act distinguishes presidential records from “personal records,” defined as documents that are “purely private or nonpublic in character.”

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