Trump documents probe: Court lifts hold on Mar-a-Lago records

WASHINGTON: Totally rejecting Donald trumpetAccording to legal arguments, a federal appeals court on Wednesday allowed the Justice Department to continue using top-secret records seized from the former president’s Florida estate as part of an investigation. Criminal investigation is underway.
The ruling from the three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for 11th Street provided an overwhelming victory for the Justice Department, paving the way for investigators to continue reviewing the documents as they consider whether brought criminal charges for keeping top secret records at Mar-a-Lago after Trump left the White House. In unloading a core aspect of the department’s investigation, the court removed an impediment that could delay the investigation for weeks.
The appeals court also explicitly noted that Trump had not presented evidence that he had declassified sensitive records, as he recently maintained on Wednesday, and dismissed the possibility that Trump may have “an interest in individual or need” about 100 documents with classified markings seized by FBI during the Palm Beach property search on August 8.
The government has argued that its investigation was thwarted and national security concerns set aside, following an order by U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon temporarily barring further investigators from continuing. continue to use the documents in their investigation. Cannon, a Trump appointee, has said the hold will be upheld pending separate review by an independent arbitrator she has appointed at the request of the Trump team to review the record.
The appeals panel agreed with the Department of Justice’s concerns.
“It is clear that the public is very concerned about ensuring that the storage of classified records does not cause ‘particularly serious damage to national security’,” they wrote. “Verifying that,” they added, “necessarily involves looking at the documents, determining who accessed them and when, and deciding which source or method (if any) violated.”
They wrote an order that delays or prevents a criminal investigation “using classified materials that pose a real and substantial risk of harm to the United States and the public.”
Two of the three judges who ruled Wednesday – Britt Grant and Andrew Brasher – were nominated by Trump for the 11th Round. Judge Robin Rosenbaum was nominated by former President Barack Obama.
Trump’s lawyers did not return emails seeking comment on whether they would appeal the ruling. The Justice Department was not immediately available for comment.
Last month, the FBI seized about 11,000 documents, including about 100 with classified markings, during a court-approved search of a Palm Beach club. It has opened a criminal investigation into whether the records were mishandled or compromised, though it is unclear whether Trump or anyone else will be charged.
Cannon ruled on September 5 that she would appoint an independent arbitrator, or special expert, to perform an independent review of those records and isolate anything that may be mentioned in requests for attorney-client or executive privileges and to determine if any materials should be returned to Trump.
Raymond Dearie, a former chief justice of the federal court based in Brooklyn, has been appointed to the role and held his first meeting on Tuesday with attorneys for both sides.
The Justice Department has argued that a special thorough review of classified documents is not necessary. It said Trump had no legitimate basis for claiming executive privilege over the documents, nor could the records be covered by attorney-client privilege because they were unrelated to the information. communication between Trump and his lawyers.
It also objected to Cannon’s order requiring it to provide Dearie and Trump’s attorneys with access to classified material. The court sided with the Justice Department on Wednesday, saying that “courts should order the review of such documents only in the most unusual circumstances. The record does not allow to conclude that this is a case. such a situation.”
Trump has repeatedly asserted that he declassified the document. In a Fox News Channel interview recorded Wednesday before the appeals court ruled, he said, “If you’re the president of the United States, you can declassify it by saying ‘It’s declassified. ‘”
Although his lawyers have said that a president has absolute authority to declassify information, they have repeatedly asserted that the records have been declassified. Trump’s team this week resisted providing Dearie with any information to support the idea that the records may have been declassified, saying the matter could be part of their defense in the case. there is an indictment.
The Justice Department said there was no indication Trump had taken any steps to declassify the documents and even included a photo in a court filing of some of the seized documents with colored cards indicating their graded status. The Court of Appeal made a similar opinion.
“Plaintiff alleges that he may have declassified these documents while he was President. But the file contains no evidence that any of these files have been declassified,” the judges wrote. “In any case, at least for these purposes, the declassification argument is a red herring because declassifying an official document will not change its content or make it personal. ”

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