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DOJ Seeks Expedited Appeal In Trump’s Mar-A-Lago Documents Case


The Department of Justice is asking for an expedited appeal concerning its criminal investigation into White House records seized by the FBI at Mar-a-Lago.

DOJ officials are arguing that they should have access to unclassified material confiscated at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence and resort by the FBI earlier this month to higher assess the classified — including top secret — files they’re examining. Additionally they need to look at all of the records for possible clues as to how the documents can have been transported and accessed, officials said.

Unclassified material is currently off limits to the Justice Department because the files are first alleged to be examined by former U.S. Judge Raymond Dearie, who was named special master — at Trump’s request — by U.S. District Court Judge Aileen Cannon, who was appointed by Trump.

Cannon had initially blocked Department of Justice access to all records seized at Mar-a-Lago. But in a blow to Trump, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the eleventh Circuit ruled last week that the Justice Department can resume reviewing the seized classified records, blocking a portion of a stay issued earlier by Cannon. The appeals court also prohibited Dearie from vetting the documents marked classified.

Yet Department of Justice officials argued in a motion filed Friday that the appointment of the special master continues to be hindering its investigation into what could have dire consequences for national security.

On Thursday, Cannon moved the deadline for Dearie’s accomplished review from mid-November to mid-December, which might serve Republican interests to postpone damaging information until after the midterm elections. The DOJ is pushing to maneuver up the appeal process to mid-November.

Dearie is alleged to be examining the unclassified documents to find out if any are protected by attorney-client — or executive — privilege.

Meanwhile, the “government is … unable to look at [unclassified] records that were commingled with materials bearing classification markings, including records that will make clear … how the materials bearing classification markings were transferred to Plaintiff’s residence, how they were stored, and who can have accessed them,” said the DOJ filing with the eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

“The records not marked as classified can also constitute evidence of potential [obstruction] and [concealment or removal of government records],” noted the motion, which was first reported by Politico.

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.

Yet Cannon’s ruling appeared to contradict her own earlier ruling giving Dearie power over his review.

Several legal experts have sharply criticized the logic behind Cannon’s decisions. Former federal prosecutor Andrew Weissmann said on MSNBC Thursday that she must be faraway from the bench. “She’s unfit to serve,” he said.

He identified that Cannon has reversed her own ruling granted Dearie power as a special master.

That is from Judge Cannon’s Order initially appointing Judge Dearie, clearly giving him discretion to confirm the inventory. And he or she cited cases authorizing courts to interact in all needed fact finding, which she now takes away from Dearie to assist Trump. pic.twitter.com/l1r1A07wNp

— Andrew Weissmann 🌻 (@AWeissmann_) September 30, 2022

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