Investigation of Trump documents: the United States is ready to appeal the decision of the judge | Policy

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department is preparing to appeal a judge’s decision granting the appointment of an independent arbitrator to examine records seized as part of an FBI-led criminal investigation at former President Donald Trump’s Florida home.

Citing national security concerns and other factors, the department also asked U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon to suspend her directive barring her from using seized classified records for investigative purposes while he challenges her decision.

“Without a stay, the government and the public will also suffer irreparable harm from the undue delay of the criminal investigation,” department attorneys said in a motion Thursday in which they announced their intention to appeal the order to the 11th US Circuit Court in Atlanta. calls.

The 21-page file from the Ministry of Justice lays bare the government’s concern about the impact it believes will be caused by the judge’s order, which temporarily halted key aspects of its criminal investigation, and its continuing objections to the planned appointment of a “special master” to conduct an independent review of records taken from Mar-a-Lago. Already, the department said, the intelligence community has suspended its separate risk assessment that the judge had authorized to proceed due to “uncertainty regarding the limits of the court order.”

The department gave the judge until next Thursday to suspend his initial order, saying he would otherwise ask the federal appeals court to do so. While such an appeal will almost certainly result in further delays to its underlying investigation, the department has made it clear throughout its motion that it would be irreparably “harmed” if the judge’s order were upheld.

The judge gave the Trump team until Monday morning to respond to the Justice Department’s request.

The FBI was investigation for months what he says was the illegal withholding of national defense information at Mar-a-Lago as well as efforts to obstruct the investigation. It’s unclear whether Trump or anyone else will face charges.

Reacting to Thursday’s motion, Trump renewed his attacks on the entire investigation.

“So now the FBI and Biden Department of Justice leakers are going to spend millions of dollars, and vast amounts of time and energy, appealing the hoax order on the “Raid” document. of Mar-a-Lago,'” he wrote. on its Truth Social platform.

The FBI seized 33 boxes and containers containing more than 100 documents bearing classified marks, including some designated top secret, during a search of the property on August 8. Those files were separated from the thousands of unclassified documents that were seized, the department said.

Trump’s legal team had asked the judge, a person appointed by Trump, to appoint a special master — in many cases, a lawyer or retired judge — to review the seized documents to ensure that the documents personnel are returned to him and that any privileged file is weeded. the rest of the investigation.

In a procedural victory for the ex-president, Cannon acceded to that request, agreeing to appoint an arbitrator to inspect the records and filter out those that might be protected by claims not only of solicitor-client privilege, but also of executive privilege. She also ordered the FBI to temporarily cease using these documents in its investigation until a special master’s report or “further court order.”

While it allowed the intelligence community to pursue an assessment of the security risk posed by improper retention of classified secrets, this work was halted in consultation with the Department of Justice. FBI counterintelligence official Alan E. Kohler Jr. said in a statement accompanying the court filing that the classification review and national security risk assessment were “inextricably linked to the criminal investigation” and that it didn’t make sense to “separate” the FBI officials into these two companies.

On Thursday, the Justice Department again lambasted the idea that any of the classified documents could be shielded from such allegations, or that Trump could be entitled to the return of any government documents since he is no longer president. He also asked the judge to lift his directive that highly classified records should be shared with a special handler.

“The classification marks establish on the face of the records that they are government records, not the plaintiff’s personal records. Government review of these records raises no plausible claims of solicitor-client privilege, as these classified records do not contain communications between the plaintiff and his private attorneys,” the motion states.

It adds that “no potential assertion of executive privilege could justify restricting executive review and use of the classified documents at issue here.”

The judge’s decision risks significantly delaying the criminal investigation, although it seems unlikely to have any significant long-term effects that would divert the investigation from its course. The department, for example, said it does not interpret the order as a ban on interviewing witnesses about how records were transferred from the White House to Mar-a-Lago or how they were stored – suggesting that at least this investigative work would continue. Nor did he think the department was prohibited from briefing members of Congress.

“Even so,” the department’s attorneys wrote, “the ban on the review and use of classified records is particularly damaging here, where the criminal investigation concerns the retention and processing of those same records, with the problems national security issues raised by this conduct.”

Both parties have been asked to submit proposed names of a special master by Friday.

The department said it plans to “provide its views” before that deadline, and its Friday filing would confirm its intention to make available to the Trump team copies of all unclassified documents taken during the investigation. the search and return the personal files that have not been mixed up. with classified materials.

Earlier in the week, the department said the records seized included “medical documents, tax-related correspondence and accounting information.”

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