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Justice Department Warns Against Further Delays in Trump Documents Investigation

The Justice Department on Tuesday criticized efforts by former President Donald Trump’s lawyers to delay their investigation of classified documents seized at his Florida resort, while a coroner revealed previously redacted information related to the search for Trump’s club. by the FBI.

“Demanding [Trump] has characterized the government’s criminal investigation as a ‘document storage dispute’ or an ‘expired library book scenario’. In doing so, Plaintiff has failed to address potential harms that could result from the mishandling of classified information or the stringent requirements imposed by law for the handling of such materials,” the Justice Department said in a court filing urging the judge in U.S. District Attorney Aileen Cannon to allow her criminal investigation to proceed — for now — into the more than 100 classified documents the department says it took from Trump’s home in Palm Beach, Florida.

The filing noted that the documents bore “marks meaning their unauthorized disclosure ‘could reasonably be expected to result in harm to national security,’ including ‘exceptionally serious harm,'” and said any delay causes “irreparable harm” to the government. and the public

Cannon issued an order this month to temporarily halt parts of the criminal investigation until a special master can review evidence seized in the August search on executive and attorney-client privilege issues. Cannon said the national security damage assessment could continue, but the administration said the two investigations are interrelated and the review cannot proceed without the help of the FBI. The Justice Department is asking the judge to stay her ruling while she appeals so it can investigate how the documents were handled.

Trump’s lawyers have suggested in court papers that the documents were declassified and that they are his personal records and belong to him, arguments that the Justice Department ridiculed in its new filing.

“As for the records marked as classified, Plaintiff asserts that the government has not ‘proved’ their classified status. But even if Plaintiff had declassified any of these records while he was president, a proposition Plaintiff does not specifically assert in None of his submissions in these proceedings, in an affidavit, or through any evidence: Any record bearing classification marks was necessarily created by the government and is therefore not the personal property of the plaintiff,” the filing reads.

Further, the government argued: “Even if Claimant had declassified these records, and even if he had somehow categorized them as his ‘personal’ records for PRA purposes [Presidential Records Act] — none of which have been proven — nothing in the PRA or any other source of law establishes a plausible claim of privilege or any other justification for a court order restricting government review and use of records at the center of an ongoing criminal and national security investigation.”

Former President Donald Trump speaks at a rally in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, on September 3.Maria Altaffer / AP file

Separately, Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart, who signed the government search warrant for Trump’s property, released previously redacted information from the affidavit in which the feds made their case for the search.

Newly released sections of the affidavit show that investigators were looking for a wide range of classified documents, including various types of top-secret documents. It also shows that when Trump’s lawyers turned over 38 documents marked top secret, top secret or confidential in June, they told investigators they had all been kept in a storage room at the resort.

Justice Department officials said at the time of their June 3 visit that about 50 boxes remained in the room, as well as a “rack of suit jackets” and “interior decor items such as wall art and picture frames.” . Investigators said Trump’s lawyers did not allow them to look inside the boxes during the visit, according to Justice Department court documents.

On June 22, the Justice Department subpoenaed Trump’s company, the Trump Organization, for surveillance video of the storage room area dating back to January 10, newly released information shows, and the Trump Organization Trump turned over a hard drive to the FBI on July 6.

It is not clear why the FBI selected January 10. Trump turned over 15 boxes of documents to the National Archives and Records Administration on Jan. 18 after repeated requests from the agency. The National Archives said the boxes contained “highly classified documents interspersed with other records.”

Reinhart disclosed the new information in light of court approval from the Justice Department to make much of the same information available for a different filing in the case before Cannon last month.

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