The Justice Department has filed a notice of appeal of the decision of U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon to have a special master review the records seized by the FBI during a raid at President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home.
Cannon ruled that the special master would review the seized property for personal items and documents and potentially privileged material subject to claims of attorney-client and/or executive privilege. She enjoined the FBI from going through the material in the meantime, although she did permit the Director of National Intelligence’s intelligence assessment review to continue. Her decision also noted the involvement of Joe Biden in the process, “providing the FBI access to the records in question, as requested by the incumbent President, beginning as early as May 12, 2022.”
Having the special master was the correct decision to protect Trump’s rights, especially when it was clear that things were seized that shouldn’t have been seized, although having the DNI, who is a Biden appointee and John Brennan protege isn’t much of a protection. The two sides are supposed to provide their proposals for names on Friday to the Court.
But the DOJ is also moving for a “partial stay” pending their appeal as to the documents the government is claiming are classified. They claimed this pertained to “a discrete set of just over 100 documents.” They’re claiming first, that Trump doesn’t have any right to protection over those documents.
“The government respectfully requests that the Court rule on this motion promptly,” the DOJ filing states. “If the Court does not grant a stay by Thursday, September 15, the government intends to seek relief from the Eleventh Circuit.”
“A stay as to that limited set of records is warranted for three reasons,” the DOJ wrote. “First, the government is likely to succeed in its appeal of the Order as it applies to classified records,” the DOJ states, adding that Trump “does not and could not assert that he owns or has any possessory interest in classified records; that he has any right to have those government records returned to him; or that he can advance any plausible claims of attorney-client privilege as to such records that would bar the government from reviewing or using them.”
The DOJ cited Supreme Court precedent, saying it “makes clear that any assertion of privilege” that Trump may attempt to make over classified records “would be overcome by the government’s ‘demonstrated, specific need’ for that evidence.”
Second, they’re claiming there could be irreparable harm if they didn’t continue to have access to the material to assess the national security interests that might be involved. They’re also claiming there could be harm by sharing it with a special master.
Third, they argue granting a stay on analyzing those select records wouldn’t harm Trump.
The DOJ’s claim presumes that the records are classified while the Trump team has alleged that at least some of the material that had been classified had been declassified. This also trips over the potential question of the Presidential Records Act and the president’s right over those records. Plus, since the Court did allow the DNI to review the records, it accounts for the review of what national security issues there might be.
They truly don’t want to be stopped from going through the records or have the special master see the records in question. It sounds like they do not want transparency on this matter at all.
But even as they’re claiming this, they’re leaking like sieves. As I previously wrote, someone leaked a claim to the Washington Post that among the records was a document about a foreign country’s nuclear capacity. They claim this is about national security and then then they leak something like that? If it were true — and at this point, they’re not a trustworthy entity — they would be in trouble themselves for leaking this information. Hard to claim irreparable harm when it’s them leaking the material.
Cannon’s ruling also revealed how they seized all kinds of things including Trump’s medical records, accounting information, and taxes. That ultimately could raise further legal issues about the overbroad nature of the warrant and the search. Doubtless, they’ve already rooted through a lot of the material that shouldn’t have been taken to begin with. A source told Fox seized 40 years of Trump’s medical records. The fact that they’re already leaking other things shows why there was such a need for the special master.