In a new filing from the dispute over the selection of a so-called special master for the handling of materials seized in an early August raid of the southern Florida Trump property known as Mar-a-Lago, the Justice Department noted Trump isn’t actually claiming — in court — that he declassified the docs recovered in the search, which still bore physical classification markings.
“Instead, Plaintiff principally seeks to raise questions about the classification status of the records and their categorization under the Presidential Records Act (“PRA”),” a new Justice Department filing says. “But Plaintiff does not actually assert—much less provide any evidence—that any of the seized records bearing classification markings have been declassified. More importantly, the issues Plaintiff attempts to raise are ultimately irrelevant. Even if Plaintiff had declassified these records, and even if he somehow had categorized them as his “personal” records for purposes of the PRA—neither of which has been shown—nothing in the PRA or any other source of law establishes a plausible claim of privilege or any other justification for an injunction restricting the government’s review and use of records at the center of an ongoing criminal and national security investigation.”
The government contends federal law doesn’t let Trump invoke privilege in a manner that would essentially compromise a criminal or national security investigation. Besides the criminal probe underlying the Mar-a-Lago raid that deals with the handling of various records from the Trump admin, federal authorities also started an investigation into the potential national security ramifications of the disclosure of various materials recovered from the former president by officials. A recent report asserted info concerning another country’s nuclear capabilities was among what agents picked up at the Trump property, and separately, authorities themselves let it be known that info related to gathering intel from covert human sources — whose lives could be in danger if such details were released — was also recovered from the ex-president. An affidavit used in the process of the Justice Department obtaining a search warrant specifies that the evidence didn’t indicate Mar-a-Lago was approved for the storage of anything classified — including nuclear info.
A later portion of the new filing, which comes amid a court-ordered pause on the usage by the Justice Department of seized materials for investigative purposes that authorities want partially altered, gets into additional detail about what Trump isn’t doing. “Plaintiff’s attempts to change the subject by holding out the possibility that he could have declassified some of the seized records and/or that he could have designated them as “personal” records… fare no better,” authorities said. “As already noted, Plaintiff has now filed multiple lengthy submissions with the Court that stop short of asserting that he in fact took any of these actions with respect to any of the seized records, including those at issue in the stay motion. In light of the classification markings, official cover sheets, and other indicia of classification attendant to these materials… such possibilities should not be given weight absent Plaintiff’s putting forward competent evidence.” “Plaintiff” is Trump.
JUST IN: In another filing urging Judge Cannon to stay a portion of her ruling, DOJ emphasizes that Trump has not (in court) actually claimed to have declassified the Mar-a-Lago docs or declared them personal records. https://t.co/AfIiKN6lSa
— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) September 13, 2022