DOJ to appeal Trump special-master order that has halted national-security risk assessment

By | September 8, 2022

Bloomberg reports:

The US Justice Department will appeal a federal judge’s order for a special master to review documents the FBI seized from former President Donald Trump’s Florida home, saying the ruling has thwarted a review of the potential national-security impact.

The department also is seeking emergency approval to continue using the classified materials — including some with highest top-secret rating — that were removed from Mar-a-Lago as part of its ongoing criminal investigation into whether Trump or anyone else improperly mishandled government records.

Federal prosecutors filed a notice of appeal with the US District Court in the Southern District of Florida on Thursday. A risk assessment being done by intelligence agencies of the classified material also has been put on hold because of confusion and inconsistencies in the ruling, the department said in a 21-page filing for an emergency stay.

“The government and the public would suffer irreparable harm absent a stay,” the department wrote. “The classified records do not contain personal information or communications protected by a personal attorney-client privilege, and any delay poses significant concerns in the context of an investigation into the mishandling of classified records.” [Continue reading…]

The Associated Press adds:

Already, the department said, the intelligence community has paused its separate risk assessment that the judge had permitted to continue because of “uncertainty regarding the bounds of the Court’s order.”

The department gave the judge until next Thursday to stay her original order, saying it would otherwise file its appeal. Though such an appeal will almost certainly result in further delays to its underlying investigation, the department made clear throughout its motion its belief that it would be “injured” beyond repair if the judge’s order was permitted to stand. [Continue reading…]

Politico adds:

The move by the Justice Department appeared aimed at streamlining its legal case in case it has to seek emergency relief from the 11th Circuit, which leans heavily in favor of Republican appointees. Six of the court’s 11 active judges were appointed by Trump.

Focusing the dispute on national security secrets could sideline thornier arguments over the outer bounds of executive privilege for former presidents, as conservative judges who favor broad executive power in the military sphere could be reluctant to intrude on the current president’s authority in that arena.

Prosecutors indicated that if Cannon doesn’t act by Sept. 15 to grant the requested stay to allow use of the documents marked as classified, the government plans to ask the appeals court to do so. [Continue reading…]

Andrew Weissman on DOJ notice to appeal:

 

Daily Beast columnist Wajahat Ali speculates that the as-yet unidentified nation whose nuclear secrets were contained in one of the classified documents seized by the FBI, is Israel, underlining the extraordinary value such information would have if provided to Saudi Arabia:

 

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