Justice Department Appeals Judge’s Decision To Use Special Master In Mar-a-Lago Probe
The Justice Department on Thursday filed an appeal to a Florida federal court’s ruling that allowed the appointment of a special master to review the documents found at former President Donald Trump‘s Mar-a-Lago residence last month.
Judge Aileen Cannon, a Trump appointee, also blocked the use of the seized documents in the Justice Department’s investigation until a third-party official is appointed.
“The application of the injunction to classified records would thus frustrate the government’s ability to conduct an effective national security risk assessment and classification review and could preclude the government from taking necessary remedial steps in light of that review – risking irreparable harm to our national security and intelligence interests,” the Justice Department wrote.
“The injunction against using classified records in the criminal investigation could impede efforts to identify the existence of any additional classified records that are not being properly stored – which itself presents the potential for ongoing risk to national security,” the government added.
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The Justice Department opened an investigation into Trump’s potential mishandling of documents after the National Archives recovered 15 boxes of classified White House materials from Mar-a-Lago at the beginning of the year.
In August, the FBI executed a search warrant over the Palm Beach, Florida, estate, finding more documents, some labeled with the highest level of secrecy.
“The FBI must be able to access the evidence, duplicate it, discern the appropriate [intelligence community] agency…to which it should be provided,” Alan Kohler, who serves as the FBI’s assistant director for counterintelligence, added to the Justice Department’s request.
Trump has denied any wrongdoing, calling the government’s probe a “witch hunt.”
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