Judge hands Trump victory in documents investigation | Policy

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The Justice Department cannot resume its investigation into classified documents recovered from former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence, a U.S. District Court judge ruled Thursday night – a controversial decision that delays the criminal investigation into the former president and could pose national security risks.

“The Court does not find it appropriate to accept the government’s conclusions on these important and contested issues without further review by a neutral third party in a speedy and orderly manner,” Federal Judge Aileen Cannon wrote in a 10-page ruling that rebutted ministry officials. central argument that sensitive files contain highly classified defense information that could compromise national security.

Additionally, Cannon named Senior District Judge Raymond Dearie — one of the people proposed by Trump’s legal team — as a special master to review records seized by the FBI last month. Dearie, a candidate for former President Ronald Reagan who has served as a federal judge in New York since the 1980s, retired in 2011 and is now a senior circuit judge. Trump rejected the nominees presented by the Justice Department.

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The Justice Department had requested that approximately 100 documents marked as classified be excluded from the special main examination process, pointing out that highly sensitive material seized when the FBI executed a search warrant at Trump’s Palm Beach home on 8 August – retrieving some 11,000 documents in total – had not been properly secured since Trump took them when he left the White House in 2021.

“There has been no real suggestion by the government of any identifiable emergency or impending disclosure of classified information resulting from the claimant’s allegedly unlawful retention of seized property,” Cannon wrote in defiance of the request. . “Instead, and sadly, the unwarranted disclosures floating in the background were leaks to the media after the underlying seizure.”

The Justice Department had also asked Cannon to rule on those issues by Thursday or he would appeal his decision appointing a special master to the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit.

Cannon’s ruling urged Dearie to complete the review by Nov. 30 — well after the Nov. 6 midterm elections, which are expected to remove some of the politically advantageous wind from the Democrats’ sails — though she told him asked to prioritize its review of the most sensitive documents, meaning the Justice Department could presumably continue its investigation once those records are erased.

The judge also ordered Trump to pay for Dearie’s exam and urged the Justice Department to continue its investigation by other means during the master’s special examination, including by “questioning witnesses and obtaining other information on the movement and storage of seized materials, including documents marked as classified, without discussion of their contents.

The decision is a win for Trump and comes as the walls appear to be closing in on the former president, who is also under investigation by the Justice Department and a House select committee for attempting to annulling the 2020 presidential election and for his involvement in the January 6, 2021, insurrection on the U.S. Capitol.

Trump has appeared emboldened in recent days by the Justice Department’s efforts to continue his investigation unhindered, sharing memes of the QAnon conspiracy theory group on social media and holding a meeting at his Virginia golf course with his son. , Eric Trump, and other close aides – this is only the second time he has visited the Washington, D.C. area since leaving the White House in January 2021.

Following Cannon’s decision, Trump released at least half a dozen fundraising emails and downplayed the nature of the confiscated records, saying the Justice Department took his medical and tax records, among other personal documents.

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