Justice Department asks appeals court to revive its criminal probe into classified Mar-a-Lago docs

In its request with the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals, the Justice Department stated that the lower court’s move to prevent the criminal investigation from reviewing seized documents marked as classified would cause irreparable harm, writing that “criminal investigation The effort of the government itself is essential to identify and mitigate potential national-security risks.”

The Justice Department wrote, “hamstringing the court’s order that the investigation and placing the FBI and the Department of Justice (DOJ) under threat of contempt, the court should subsequently disagree that the investigators had taken their previously unified How to separate criminal-investigation and national-security activities.” ,

The Justice Department is also asking the appeals court to exclude documents marked as classified from the so-called Special Master Review Cannon. Noting that Canon’s order would require those documents to be provided to Trump’s lawyers, prosecutors said there was “no basis for disclosing such sensitive information,” and that the order required them to be “a special master and The plaintiffs were required to disclose highly sensitive material “to attorneys—including witnesses to potentially relevant events—in the midst of an investigation where no charges have been filed.”

The Justice Department on Friday asked the 11th Circuit to act “as quickly as possible.”

The new filing with the 11th Circuit fast-tracks the dispute over the Mar-a-Lago discovery to the Court of Appeals and raises the possibility that the US Supreme Court will also be asked to weigh in in the coming weeks.

The Justice Department originally sought a warrant to search Mar-a-Lago after months of talks with Trump’s team, who were brought from his White House to a Florida resort after he left office. The FBI is investigating at least three possible crimes in its investigation: Espionage Act violations, illegal handling of government records, and obstruction of justice.

Read: Justice Department filing federal appeals court in Mar-a-Lago case

In his Thursday night order dismissing the Justice Department’s bid to restart its criminal investigation, Cannon expressed doubts that 100 or more of the documents in question were in fact classified, it concluded. That the question was in dispute and was best reviewed by an independent party.

He also rejected the Justice Department’s argument that the suspension of his criminal investigation was endangering national security. This approach is generally at odds with courts showing government claims about classification and national security.

In their request to the 11th Circuit, prosecutors said the trial court had disregarded evidence they had put forward about the risks posed by the way government records were stored.

The record, he said Friday, “makes it clear that the material was stored in an unsafe manner over a long period of time, and the court’s injunction itself prevents the government from taking the necessary steps to determine whether the improper disclosure would have occurred.” Or still could happen. Happen.”

Prosecutors said the ban on criminal investigations was “undermining the ability of the intelligence community to assess the damage caused by the disclosure of seized records.”

“The court’s injunction prohibits the FBI—which has the responsibility of investigating such cases in the United States—from using confiscated records in its criminal-investigation tools to assess whether a record is in fact disclosed.” was done, for whom, and under what circumstances,” the Justice Department told the appeals court.

Cannon also concluded that the classification designations were in doubt, the Trump team not putting forward the type of evidence – such as the declarations – that would suggest that the material was not, in fact, classified. Trump has claimed in a media appearance that he declassified documents taken at Mar-a-Lago, but his lawyers have not yet claimed this in court filings.

Cannon has repeatedly acknowledged in court decisions that his argument is based on Trump’s position as former president, writing Thursday that “principles of equity” require him to consider “the specific context of the issue.” , and this idea is naturally influenced.” The post was earlier with the plaintiff.”

In its appeal to the 11th Circuit, the Justice Department wrote that none of the 100 documents marked as classified could possibly be Trump’s personal records — a type of claim he is trying to keep some documents out of evidence. are.

“None of those arguments apply to records containing classification markings: the markings are established on the face of documents that they are not [Trump]of personal property,” writes the department.

The case now faces a circuit court where six of the 11 active justices are Trump-appointed judges. It will go to a panel of three judges randomly selected from the court. A panel that includes some appellate judges chosen by the former president may still be sympathetic to the Justice Department, given that the government is usually given when national security is at risk.

Outside legal observers are also skeptical about Cannon’s decision to intervene in the first place, given that a separate magistrate judge in Florida has approved a search warrant and the investigation itself is being carried out by a grand jury in D.C. Is.

Cannon – then-President Trump’s 2020 appointment – was randomly assigned to the lawsuit Trump filed two weeks after the FBI executed a search warrant.

Documents Marked as Classified Not Trump’s Property, DOJ Says

The Justice Department argued that Trump’s efforts to claim privileges are weak — if he created them at all.

Trump Claims He Declassified Mar-a-Lago Docs, But His Lawyers Avoid Making That Claim

“nor [Trump] Nor has the court suggested that they may be subject to attorney-client privilege. [Trump] has never attempted to make or substantiate any claim of executive privilege. Even if they did, any such claim could not justify a review of the Executive Branch and restrict the use of these records for a number of independent reasons.”

The Justice Department also takes issue with both Trump going to court to prevent investigators from being able to access classified records confiscated from Mar-a-Lago, and with Cannon stepping in.

The DOJ writes, Trump “does not stand out as a discrete set of records with classification markings in the least because those records are government property over which the executive branch has exclusive control and in which the plaintiffs have no property interest.”

Public prosecutors state that courts can only engage in exceptional circumstances, such as when a search violates constitutional rights or when a search subject has a special need to keep the confiscated material, and that “May not extend to these records.”

“The District Court argued that the other material in which the plaintiff [Trump] May have a cognizable interest, not easily distinguished from those in which he does not. But this argument is unsuitable for records with classification markings, which are easily identifiable and already distinct from other confiscated material,” the department writes.

This story has been updated with additional details.

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