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Trump asks judge to help keep blocking FBI from dealing with seized classified files

Politics

The 21-page filing played down the criminal inquiry as a “storage dispute” and insinuated that officials could have leaked information regarding the contents of the files.

Former President Donald Trump speaks at a rally in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., Sept. 3, 2022. Hannah Beier/The NY Times

By Alan Feuer and Charlie Savage, NY Times Service

Lawyers for former President Donald Trump asked a federal judge on Monday to deny the Justice Departments request to immediately restart an integral of section of its criminal investigation into his hoarding of sensitive government documents at his residence in Florida.

Renewing their obtain an expansive independent overview of records seized from Trump, the former presidents legal team argued that seized records marked as classified should remain off limits to the FBI and prosecutors. They asked the judge, Aileen M. Cannon, to keep her order barring agents from using the materials extracted from his estate, Mar-a-Lago, until a so-called special master has vetted every one of them.

The 21-page filing was an aggressive rebuke of the Justice Departments broader inquiry into whether Trump or his aides illegally kept national security secrets at the house or obstructed the governments repeated attempts to retrieve the materials. It played down the criminal inquiry as a storage dispute and insinuated that officials could have leaked information regarding the contents of the files.

This investigation of the 45th president of america is both unprecedented and misguided, the filing said. In what at its core is really a document storage dispute which has spiraled uncontrollable, the federal government wrongfully seeks to criminalize the possession by the 45th president of their own presidential and personal records.

The filing on Monday was the most recent salvo in what threatens to become protracted court fight over a particular master and the types of powers see your face must have in filtering the trove of seized documents. Another dispute is if the special masters review should extend to blocking investigators from using any records potentially protected by executive privilege.

The brand new filing, which came as Trump returned to the Washington area, underscored how he’s got succeeded for the present time in using what amounts to a procedural sideshow to stall the criminal investigation, even with his representatives falsely said in June that his office had returned any documents marked as classified in his possession.

Prosecutors had asked Cannon the other day to let investigators resume dealing with about 100 documents marked as classified that formed a little part of the nearly 13,000 items the FBI seized throughout a court-authorized search of Mar-a-Lago on Aug. 8.

They said the prohibition on using those materials was hindering the intelligence communitys overview of the potential harm due to the insecure storage of national security secrets and a classification overview of the materials, arguing those efforts were inextricably intertwined with the criminal investigation.

But on Monday, Trumps lawyers dismissed the governments claims, saying that those assertions were exaggerated and that just a brief pause will be necessary for the special masters review to be completed. (Trumps lawyers said on Friday they expected the review to take 90 days.)

This convenient, and belated, claim by the federal government in accordance with enjoining the criminal teams usage of these documents only arises as the FBI concedes the intelligence community review is in fact just another element of its criminal investigation, they argued.

Still, the dispute on the special master has recently delayed a briefing on the seized materials to top leaders in Congress and leaders of congressional intelligence committees, an individual familiar with the problem said.

The clash traces back again to an order issued early the other day by Cannon, a Trump appointee, where she said she’d appoint a particular master with broad authority to examine all of the seized materials. In her order, Cannon said they may be scrutinized not merely for just about any potentially included in attorney-client privilege, a comparatively common measure, also for executive privilege, which may be unprecedented in a federal criminal inquiry.

Within her order, Cannon told the Justice Department that it could need to wait before special masters work was done to utilize the records in its investigation. However the judge conceded that the intelligence community might use the materials in another assessment of the way the former presidents hoarding of the records may have affected national security.

On Thursday, the Justice Department shot back, telling Cannon in yet another filing that the intelligence assessment and the criminal inquiry were inextricably linked. Prosecutors asked her to lift her ban on utilizing the seized materials and requested she restrict the scope of the special masters review to unclassified documents, excluding about 100 seized files bearing classification labels.

Moreover, prosecutors informed her that when she didn’t grant by Thursday their request to remain the part of her ruling that’s keeping investigators from dealing with the documents marked as classified, they might ask the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in Atlanta, to intervene and block it.

The Justice Department and Trumps lawyers also have sparred on the question of who ought to be appointed to the post of special master. The other day, each side submitted two candidates to Cannon, who’ll ultimately decide who gets the work.

Both sides said in a joint filing late Friday they would tell her by Monday what they considered each others proposals.

The Justice Department has proposed two retired federal judges: Barbara S. Jones, who formerly sat on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of NY, and Thomas B. Griffith, who formerly sat on the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

The Trump legal team has countered with a former federal judge, Raymond J. Dearie, who formerly sat on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of NY, and Paul Huck Jr., a former deputy attorney general in Florida.

This short article originally appeared in THE BRAND NEW York Times.

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