Rejecting Donald Trump’s legal arguments, a federal appeals court on Wednesday asked the Justice Department to resume its use of classified records seized from the former president’s Florida property as part of its ongoing criminal investigation. Gave permission.
The decision of the three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals is a victory for the Justice Department, clearing the way for investigators to continue examining documents as they consider the storage of sensitive records in March-A. To make criminal charges or not. – Come on after Trump leaves the White House. While barring a key aspect of the department’s investigation, the court removed an impediment that could have delayed the investigation by weeks, if not months.
The Court of Appeals also explicitly noted that Trump had presented no evidence that he had declassified sensitive records, as he has repeatedly maintained, and ruled out the possibility that Trump could be classified as About 100 documents with markings may contain “personal interest or need”. Those were confiscated by the FBI in an August 8 search of Palm Beach property.
The government argued that its investigation was hampered by an order of US District Judge Eileen Cannon which temporarily barred investigators from continuing to use the documents in the investigation.
Cannon, who appointed Trump, had said the moratorium would remain in place pending a separate review by an independent arbitrator appointed at the request of the Trump team.
The appeals panel agreed with the Justice Department’s concerns.
“It is self-evident that the public has a keen interest in ensuring that the storage of classified records does not result in ‘extraordinarily serious damage to national security’,” he wrote. “Ensuring,” he said, “reviewing documents as necessary, determining who had access to them and when, and determining which (if any) sources or methods were compromised Is.”
An injunction that delayed criminal investigations or “prevented the use of classified materials risks imposing real and significant harm on the United States and the public”, they wrote.
Britt Grant and Andrew Brasher, two of the three judges who issued Wednesday’s ruling, were nominated by Trump. Judge Robin Rosenbaum was nominated by former President Barack Obama.
Trump’s lawyers did not return an email seeking comment about whether they would appeal the decision. The Justice Department had no immediate comment.
The FBI seized nearly 11,000 documents, including about 100 with classification markings, during a court-authorized search of the Palm Beach club last month. It has launched a criminal investigation into whether records were erroneously maintained or compromised. It is unclear whether Trump or anyone else will be charged.
Canon ruled on September 5 that it would name a special master, or independent arbitrator, to conduct an independent review of those records and set aside any material that might be covered by claims of attorney-client privilege or executive privilege. And to determine if there is a material. Trump should be returned. Raymond Deary, a former chief justice of the Brooklyn-based federal court, has been nominated for the role, and on Tuesday he had his first meeting with lawyers for both sides.
The Justice Department had argued that a special master review of classified documents was not necessary. It said Trump, as a former president, could not invoke executive privilege on the documents, nor could they be covered by attorney-client privilege because they did not include communications between Trump and his lawyers.
It also opposed the Cannon order required to grant Dearie and Trump’s lawyers access to classified material. The court sided with the Justice Department on Wednesday, saying, “Courts should order a review of such material only in the most exceptional circumstances. The record does not permit the conclusion that this is such a situation.”
Trump’s lawyers argued that an independent review of the records was necessary given the unprecedented nature of the investigation. Lawyers also said that the department has yet to prove that the seized documents were classified, though they specifically stopped to insist – as Trump has repeatedly done – that the records were previously were unclassified. He has resisted asking Dearie to provide his position on that question, indicating that the issue could be part of his defense in the event of an indictment.
“The plaintiff suggests that he may have made these documents public when he was president. But there is no evidence on record that any of these records were declassified,” he wrote. In the U.S., at least for these purposes, the declassification argument is a red herring because declassifying an official document will not alter its content or render it in person.”