In the most recent legal tussle between the former president’s legal team and federal prosecutors, attorneys for former President Donald Trump urged a federal judge on Monday to keep preventing Justice Department investigators from looking at more than 100 sensitive documents seized by the FBI during its search at Mar-a-Lago.
Trump’s attorneys called the federal investigation into his handling of private records “unprecedented and misguided” in a 21-page response to a Justice Department request asking the court to lift a portion of an order prohibiting the use of the documents for investigative purposes.
They also claimed there is “no indication any purported ‘classified records’ were disclosed to anyone.”
Indeed, according to Trump’s legal team, “such ‘classified records’ appear to have been primarily located in storage boxes in a locked room at Mar-a-Lago, a secure, controlled access compound that was regularly used to conduct official U.S. business during the Trump Presidency, and that is still under the surveillance of the United States Secret Service today.”
Additionally, the former president’s attorneys asserted that under the Presidential Records Act, he had “unrestricted access” to presidential records and “wide power” to declassify papers.
They claimed in court that the records’ squabble is a “document storage conflict that has gotten out of hand.”
The 45th President’s holding of his own presidential and personal documents is being unlawfully criminalised, according to Trump’s legal team.
Federal prosecutors informed the South Florida federal court last week of their intention to appeal U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon’s decision to allow the appointment of an impartial third party to analyse the records the FBI seized at Mar-a-Lago during its Aug. 8 search.
The Justice Department must temporarily halt “reviewing and exploiting” the information for investigation reasons while the special master’s review is ongoing. Cannon ruled last week in her decision approving Trump’s request for a special master.
For “purposes of intelligence classification and national security assessments,” she did let the agency continue looking through and utilising the material it had collected.
But the top national security officials and attorneys for the Justice Department urged Cannon to delay part of her decision so that investigators may continue looking at 103 documents with the designations “confidential,” “top secret,” or “secret.”
The classification marks “confirm on the face of the documents that they are government records,” not Trump’s personal records, the federal prosecutors contended in court filings.
They said that if the files were not inspected and utilised in the criminal investigation into the former president’s management of sensitive information, the government and the general public would suffer what they deemed to be “irreparable damage.”
In addition, they warned the court that preventing the Justice Department from temporarily accessing and using the most private documents seized from Mar-a-Lago would “frustrate the government’s ability to conduct an effective national security risk assessment and classification review and could preclude the government from taking necessary remedial steps in light of that review,” endangering American national security and intelligence interests.
The Justice Department also presented the court with two candidates for the position of special master: Barbara Jones, a former member of the U.S. District Court in Manhattan, and Thomas Griffith, a former member of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington. This was in addition to its notice of appeal and request that Cannon modify some of her order.
Raymond Dearie, a former chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, and Paul Huck, a former general counsel to Florida Governor Charlie Crist, were both proposed by Trump’s attorneys as candidates to examine the confiscated documents.
Trump and the Justice Department were required by Cannon’s order to provide a list of potential special masters and a suggested outline of the review’s procedures by Friday.