U.S. appeals court says Trump criminal probe can resume classified records review

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WASHINGTON, Sept. 21 (Reuters) – The U.S. Department of Justice can resume reviewing classified records seized by the FBI from former President Donald Trump’s Florida home pending an appeal, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday, giving a boost to the criminal investigation into Whether these records. It has been poorly handled or has been hacked.

The Atlanta-based Eleventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted a request by federal prosecutors to bar U.S. District Judge Eileen Cannon from using classified documents in their investigation until an independent judge, called a special master, examines the materials for disposal. Anything that could be considered distinctive and hidden from the inquisitors.

The appeals court also said it would agree to reverse part of a lower court order requiring the government to turn over records with hashtags for private review by Mr.

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“We conclude that the United States would suffer irreparable harm from the District Court’s limitations on its access to this narrow — and potentially critical — collection of material, as well as the Court’s requirement that the United States submit confidential records to the Special Master for review,” the constituent committee wrote. of three judges.

The commission wrote that the decision was “limited in nature,” with the Justice Department only requesting a partial stay pending appeal, and that the commission was unable to decide on the merits of the case itself.

The three judges who made the decision are Robin Rosenbaum, appointed by former Democratic President Barack Obama, and Brett Grant and Andrew Brasher, both appointed by Trump.

Trump’s lawyers will likely ask the US Supreme Court, whose conservative 6-3 majority includes three judges appointed by him, to intervene in the matter.

Trump’s lawyers, in filings on Tuesday, urged the court to keep the residence in place and allow them, under the supervision of the special gentleman, US Judge Raymond Deere, to review all of the seized materials, including those marked as classified.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Justice had no immediate comment. Trump’s lawyer could not be reached for comment.

In an interview with Fox News Wednesday night, Trump repeated his claim without evidence that he had declassified the documents and said he had the ability to do so “even by thinking about it.”

The FBI conducted a court-approved search on August 8 at Trump’s home on the Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, seizing more than 11,000 documents including about 100 classified as classified.

The research was part of a federal investigation into whether Trump illegally removed documents from the White House when he left office in January 2021 after his failed 2020 re-election bid and whether Trump attempted to obstruct the investigation.

Cannon, who was self-appointed by Trump, appointed Derry to serve as special chief on the case at Trump’s behest, despite the Justice Department’s objections to the special master.

Cannon has tasked Deere with reviewing all material, including classified material, so that he can separate anything that could be subject to attorney-client privilege or executive privilege — a legal principle that protects certain White House communications from disclosure.

However, Trump’s lawyers have not made such allegations in any of their legal files, and during a hearing before Derry on Tuesday, they resisted his request to provide evidence that Trump declassified any records. Read more

Although the appeals court stressed that the scope of its ruling was narrow, it nonetheless appeared to sharply rebuke Cannon’s top-down ruling and many of Trump’s legal arguments.

“[Trump]He did not even try to show that he needed to know the information contained in the classified documents,” the judges wrote. Nor has it been proven that the current administration has waived this requirement for these documents.”

The Justice Department has also previously raised strong objections to Cannon’s request that Deere review records withheld for documents potentially covered by executive privilege, stating that Trump is a former president and that the records do not belong to him.

While she expressed her disapproval, the Department of Justice did not appeal this part of Cannon’s order. It is not clear whether prosecutors can separately seek to appeal other parts of Cannon’s decision on the special principal appointment.

“We only decide on traditional equitable considerations, including whether the United States has demonstrated a high probability of winning on the merits, the harm each party might suffer from the stay, and where the public interest lies,” the appeals court said.

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(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch) Additional reporting by Eric Beach, Mike Scarcella and Jacqueline Thompson; Editing by Leslie Adler and Shri Navaratnam

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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