DOJ to appeal special master ruling, arguing classified documents aren’t Trump’s ‘personal records’

WASHINGTON — The hundreds of pages of classified government records seized from Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago property last month are not “personal records” of the former president, and he has no authority to keep them, the Justice Department told a court in a court filing. filed on Thursday as it said the government would appeal against a judge’s decision on the matter.

According to the notification filed Thursday, the Justice Department will appeal U.S. District Judge Eileen Cannon’s decision for a special master to look at documents seized during a search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home. The Justice Department said it would file its appeal in the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit.

The department also called for a partial stay of Cannon’s decision, while pending appeals, adding that “the government and the public are irreparably injured when criminal investigations into cases at risk to national security.”

Cannon gave Trump until 10 a.m. Monday to respond to the DOJ’s motion for a partial postponement of his order granting a special master request.

Parts of Canon’s rule—particularly those preventing the government from doing anything with confiscated classified records—would “cause the most immediate and serious harm to the government and the public.” The government also wrote, in an eyebrow-raising line, that the injunction “could hinder efforts to identify the existence of any additional classified records that are not being stored properly.”

The Justice Department wrote, “Classified records are government property over which the executive branch has control and in which the plaintiff has no cognizable property interest.”

Trump’s cannon, 41, confirmed in the Southern District of Florida at the tail-end of the Trump administration, acceded to Trump’s request for a special master on Monday. His decision was widely panned by the legal community, in particular given the unprecedented decision to grant him an exclusive master power not only over documents protected by attorney-client privilege but over Trump’s alleged claims of executive privilege.

The Justice Department said there was no doubt that the confidential documents the FBI recovered from Mar-a-Lago belonged to the US government.

“Classification marks establish on the face of the documents that they are government records, not personal records of plaintiffs,” Sarkar wrote. “The government’s review of those records does not raise any plausible attorney-client privilege claims because such classified records do not imply communication between the plaintiff and his personal attorneys. And for a number of reasons, any potential claim of executive privilege.” The executive branch cannot justify restricting the review and use of classified records at issue here.”

Trump “cannot and cannot claim that he owns or has any ownership in classified records; that he has any right to return those government records; or that he grants such attorney-client privilege.” records that would prevent the government from reviewing or using them,” the DOJ wrote.

Former President Donald Trump at a rally in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., on September 3, 2022.
Former President Donald Trump at a rally in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., on Sept. 3.Spencer Platt / Getty Images

When the FBI executed a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago a month ago, the Justice Department says it found more than 11,000 pages of government documents that — under the Presidential Records Act — were in the custody of the National Archives. They also found hundreds of pages on documents bearing classified markings, despite the fact that a Trump attorney testified that the former president did not have classified records after turning over 38 classified documents in response to a grand jury summons in June. Earlier in the year, Trump turned over boxes of documents to the National Archives containing more than 700 pages of classified records.

The government argued that there is evidence that the Trump team “hidden and removed” additional classified documents that were stored at Mar-a-Lago prior to the FBI’s August search.

A federal magistrate judge found probable cause that evidence of the crimes would be found at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate and signed an FBI warrant to search the property. In fact, the FBI found more than 100 classified records that did not belong to Trump, the DOJ said in a court filing last week, along with more than 11,000 government documents that were properly in the National Archives.

The Justice Department wrote Thursday, there is nothing in the law to suggest that “a former president can successfully claim executive privilege to prevent the executive branch from reviewing and using his or her own records.”

“A stay bus would allow the government to continue to review and use the same records – which, again, indisputably belong to the government, not the plaintiffs – as well as in ongoing criminal investigations,” the department said. Told.

Daniel Barnes, and Dilnian And Dereh Gregorian contribution,

Source link