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Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Special master in Trump case would harm national security interests

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WASHINGTON — The Justice Department on Tuesday Night said that appointing a special captain “is unnecessary and would significantly harm important government interests, including national security interests.”

The DOJ tried to bolster its case in court by including an FBI photo with documents and “classified cover sheets recovered from a container” in Trump’s “45th office,” a reference to Trump as the 45th president. The photo shows documents marked “secret” and “top secret” and “SCI” ​​- which stands for highly classified “sensitive compartmentalized information”.

In its overnight trial, the Justice Department said some of the seized documents were so sensitive and classified that FBI agents and DOJ attorneys needed additional security clearances to review them.

Documents seized at Mar-a-Lago recently.US District Court, Southern District of Florida, West Palm Beach Division

The filing came in response to former President Donald Trump’s request on Aug. 22 — two weeks after the Mar-a-Lago search — for a special master to review the documents seized from his Florida estate. .

Justice officials said the appointment of a special captain would hinder the government’s ongoing criminal investigation.

Such an assessment of classified documents “would prevent the intelligence community from conducting its ongoing assessment of the national security risk that improper storage of these highly sensitive materials may have caused, and identifying measures to repair or mitigate any damage caused by improper storage.” limit,” the report said. DOJ document states.

The Justice Department said it could not trust information that came out of Trump’s orbit prior to the Florida search and that a representative of the former president falsely claimed that classified documents had been turned over to the government. The fact that so many documents were found casts “serious doubt” on the Trump team’s claim that documents were “searched diligently” in response to the grand jury subpoena in May.

“That the FBI has recovered twice as many documents with classification markings in hours as the ‘diligent search’ that counsel for the former president and other representatives had for weeks to seriously question the statements in the June 3 certification and raises doubts.” arise about the degree of cooperation in this case,” the Ministry of Justice said in the file.

US District Judge Aileen Cannon, a Trump appointee, indicated over the weekend that she was inclined to grant the former president’s request and appoint a third party to review the documents to make sure they contain information protected by attorney and client privilege. The Justice Department has said a government filtering team separate from the investigation had already identified “a limited set of materials” that may contain privileged information.

In Tuesday night’s filing, the Justice Department argued that a special master’s degree is not necessary because the government’s assessment teams have already completed their work. “It would do little or nothing to protect the plaintiff’s legitimate interests while hindering the government’s ongoing criminal investigation,” the DOJ file says.

Prior to Tuesday night’s filing, the Department of Justice had… early permission to submit a response of up to 40 pages to Trump’s main special request “to adequately address the legal and factual issues raised by Trump’s legal team”.

The FBI search for Mar-a-Lago on Aug. 8 took place after extensive discussions with officials at the National Archives and the Department of Justice over nearly 18 months.

A redacted affidavit outlining the probable cause for the search revealed that the National Archives referred the matter to the FBI after it found “many classified records” in 15 boxes that Trump handed over to the National Archives earlier this year. A subsequent FBI investigation of the boxes in May showed that 14 of the 15 boxes contained documents with classification markings. A total of 184 unique documents with classification markings were found, including 25 marked “TOP SECRET”.

The FBI was authorized to seize all documents with classified markings, along with the containers in which the classified documents were found, along with any government or presidential documents created during Trump’s tenure and any “evidence of knowledge of alteration, destruction or obscuration of any government and/or presidential documents, or documents with classification markings.”

Documents recovered from Mar-a-Lago included Roger Stone’s leniency papers, information about the President of France, and a wealth of confidential and classified documents, along with presidential files. FBI agents seized 26 boxes, as well as a leather-bound box of documents containing top-secret/sensitive compartments, according to the property receipt of recovered items.

in a separate Submit Tuesday, several former federal prosecutors who served during Republican administrations — Donald B. Ayer, Gregory A. Brower, John J. Farmer Jr., Stuart M. Gerson, Peter D. Keisler, William F. Weld and former New Jersey Governor , Christine Todd Whitman – wrote that “regardless of one’s political views, it is clear that there is no legal backing for the assistance requested by the former president.”

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