Feds Seek to Fast-Track Appeal in Trump Mar-a-Lago Documents Fight
The Justice Department moved to quickly dismantle the independent review of documents seized from Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, contending that the review — ordered by U.S. District Court Judge Aileen Cannon — is impeding its criminal investigation.
“The government is … unable to examine records that were commingled with materials bearing classification markings, including records that may shed light on, for example, how the materials bearing classification markings were transferred to Plaintiff’s residence, how they were stored, and who may have accessed them,” DOJ officials, including counterintelligence chief Jay Bratt, wrote in the filing with the Atlanta-based 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. “The records not marked as classified may also constitute evidence of potential [obstruction] and [concealment or removal of government records].”
“Based on the district court’s orders thus far, the government is barred from accessing all of the materials except those with classification markings recovered in August pursuant to a lawful search warrant — and it may continue to be barred from doing so until mid-December or later,” the officials wrote as they asked the appeals court to weigh in promptly on the legal issues, including Trump’s claims of executive privilege.
The Justice Department wrote: “Absent such resolution by this Court, the special master proceedings could result in prolonged litigation, including through seriatim appeals to the district court from reports and recommendations and other rulings issued by the special master.”
The filing comes after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit sided with the Department of Justice in ruling that U.S. District Court Judge Aileen Cannon made a mistake by failing to remove classified documents from the special master so that the DOJ could continue its review.
The DOJ argues in the filing to the federal appeals court that expediting the appeal of the entire appointment of a special master will serve “judicial efficiency” because a ruling in the government’s favor could render further proceedings before the special master unnecessary.
The department also argues that expediting its appeal would serve the interests of justice because the special master appointment restricts the government’s ability to “vindicate the strong public interest” in moving quickly with its criminal and national security investigation.
The filing also attacked Cannon’s recent rulings against Dearie.
Cannon ruled Thursday that Trump could ignore Dearie’s demand that his legal team either prove Trump’s apparently baseless claim that the FBI “planted” records at Mar-a-Lago, or drop the claim.