US court allows investigators to continue reviewing classified files in Trump investigation According to Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Former U.S. President Donald Trump attends a rally in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, U.S., September 3, 2022. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly/File Photo

By Sarah N. Lynch

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Justice Department may continue to review classified files seized by the FBI from former President Donald Trump’s Florida home pending appeal, a federal court has ruled. decision on Wednesday, prompting a criminal investigation into whether the records were mishandled or compromised.

The Atlanta-based 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has asked federal prosecutors to block the stay of US District Judge Aileen Cannon, barring them from using classified documents in the investigation. until an independent arbitrator, known as a special master, reviews the documents to rule out anything that might be considered privileged and prohibited to investigators.

The appeals court also said it would agree to partially reverse a lower court order requiring the government to hand over classified records for special master’s review.

“We conclude that the United States would be irreparably harmed by the district court’s restrictions on its access to a limited set of – and potentially important – documents as well as the court request that the United States submit classified records to special owners for review,” the three-judge panel wrote.

The panel added that the decision was “limited in nature”, as the Justice Department asked only a portion of the appeal to remain pending and the panel was unable to decide on its own on the merits of the case.

The panel said: “We decide only on traditional equity considerations, including whether the United States has demonstrated the ability to exert significant predominance, and the harm each party may incur in stay and where is the public interest”.

The three judges making the decision were Robin Rosenbaum, an appointee of former Democratic President Barack Obama, and Britt Grant and Andrew Brasher, both Trump appointees.

Trump’s lawyers are likely to ask the US Supreme Court, which has a 6-3 conservative majority consisting of three judges appointed by him, to intervene in the matter.

A spokesman for the Justice Department was not immediately available for comment. Attorneys for Trump could not be immediately reached for comment.

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

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

Cannon, a Trump appointee, appointed US Judge Raymond Dearie as special director in the case at Trump’s request. The Ministry of Justice objected to the appointment of a special master.

Cannon tasked Dearie with reviewing all documents, including classified ones, so that he could separate anything that might be under attorney-client privilege or executive privilege. legal – a legal doctrine that protects certain White House communications from disclosure.

As one of his defenses, Trump claimed in social media posts that there was no evidence that he had declassified the records.

However, his attorneys did not make such a claim in any of their legal filings, and during a hearing before Dearie on Tuesday, they denied his request to provide evidence that Trump has declassified any records.

Although the appeals court emphasized its narrow scope, it nevertheless appeared to strongly rebut Cannon’s ruling from top to bottom.

“[Trump]The judges wrote.

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