The filing comes after a judge paused the investigation into thousands of classified documents and other records that were stored by Donald Trump at his Florida home. File Photo via Department of Justice/UPI | License Photo
Sept. 12 (UPI) — Former President Donald Trump on Monday urged a federal judge to affirm an order that prevents the Justice Department from resuming its criminal investigation into classified records that were found at his Mar-a-Lago home in Florida last month.
The filing by Trump’s attorneys is a response to efforts by the department to resume the investigation. The department has argued that pausing the investigation harms national security.
U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon is the one who ordered the pause until a review is done by a special master, a third-party non-government attorney.
“The government now seeks to limit the scope of any review of its investigative conduct and presuppose the outcome, at least as regards to what it deems are ‘classified records.’ However, the court’s order is a sensible preliminary step towards restoring order from chaos,” lawyers for Trump wrote in the filing.
“The government should therefore not be permitted to skip the process and proceed straight to a preordained conclusion.”
Trump’s filing appeared to justify his possession of the classified and unclassified records by claiming that most of the documents are “indisputably governed exclusively by the provisions of the Presidential Records Act,” which gives presidents “extraordinary discretion” in categorizing records as presidential or personal.
“[The documents] were taken from storage boxes in a locked room at Mar-a-Lago, a secure, controlled access compound utilized regularly to conduct the official business of the United States during the Trump presidency, which to this day is monitored by the United States Secret Service,” the filing notes.
Presidential records are bound by federal law to be turned over to the National Archives and Records Administration when a president leaves office.
Before Cannon’s ruling, the Justice Department had finished its privilege review of the documents seized from Mar-a-Lago and flagged some for possible attorney-client privilege issues. That disclosure was made in a filing last month challenging the appointment of the special master.
Earlier this month, Cannon unsealed a more detailed list of what the FBI found at Mar-a-Lago during the search on Aug. 8. It listed more than 10,000 government documents — which were not marked as classified — as well as other documents and folders that were marked top Secret.
Also on the inventory sheet were 40 empty folders that were marked “classified” and various top secret documents that were found in an office and a storage room. Exactly what was in the empty folders is not yet known.
Trump’s attorneys and the Justice Department named their nominees to be the special master. Cannon will ultimately determine the “details and mechanics” of the review.
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