CNN

Trump asks judge to reject DOJ’s request to continue to review documents seized from Mar-a-Lago

Sep 12, 2022, 11:00 AM
Trump property Mar-a-lago is pictured...
This is an aerial view of former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Fla., Wednesday Aug. 31, 2022. The Justice Department says classified documents were "likely concealed and removed" from former President Donald Trump's Florida estate as part of an effort to obstruct the federal investigation into the discovery of the government records. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
(AP Photo/Steve Helber)

(CNN) — Lawyers for former President Donald Trump on Monday urged a federal judge to reject the Justice Department’s attempt to continue to review classified documents seized from Mar-a-Lago as part of its criminal investigation, saying that the materials may not be classified and that his Florida resort is secure.

Trump argues that he has broad authority as President to declassify records, and that a former President should have “absolute right of access” to presidential records — whether they are classified or not.

The filing is the latest attempt from Trump to muddy the perception of the investigation into the mishandling of national security documents after he left the presidency. The DOJ has continued to emphasize the stakes of their findings so far, calling for the need for a swift and private intelligence community review and flagging risks to national security.

Trump’s team continues to characterize the situation as a spat over presidential records.

“In what at its core is a document storage dispute that has spiraled out of control, the Government wrongfully seeks to criminalize the possession by the 45th President of his own Presidential and personal records,” Trump’s legal team writes.

Trump’s filing called 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,” and that the documents were kept in a locked room.

“The Government generally points to the alleged urgent need to conduct a risk assessment of possible unauthorized disclosure of purported ‘classified records.’ But there is no indication any purported ‘classified records’ were disclosed to anyone,” Trump’s filing states.

According to court documents, investigators previously asked Trump in June to secure any classified documents in a locked room at Mar-a-Lago.

When FBI agents arrived in August, they seized 11 sets of classified documents from Mar-a-Lago, including some marked as “top secret/SCI” — one of the highest levels of classification, according to court documents. Prosecutors have also said that dozens of empty folders marked with “classified banners” were found in the search.

The “likelihood that improperly stored classified information may have been accessed by others and compromised” is a “core aspect of the FBI’s criminal investigation,” prosecutors have said.

The Justice Department has said in court that it treats documents marked as classified as such, until they can be fully reviewed. But Trump’s team uses the fact that documents haven’t been fully reviewed yet to argue that he and a special master should be able to access the records marked as classified.

“There still remains a disagreement as to the classification status of the documents. The Government’s position therefore assumes a fact not yet established,” Trump’s team wrote.

The Justice Department submitted its request for a stay last week.

US District Judge Aileen Cannon, when she ordered a special master be brought in to review documents obtained during the search, halted any use of the seized materials for the DOJ’s criminal investigation. She said, however, that the intelligence community’s assessment could continue. The Justice Department argues the criminal probe could not be decoupled from the intelligence community’s review, and that the intelligence review has been paused.

The DOJ has also said it will appeal to a higher court if Cannon doesn’t allow the intelligence work in the probe on the classified records to continue.

A special master has not yet been appointed, but Trump’s team makes clear Monday they believe that third-party appointee could work with them in a review of seized classified records. “President Trump (and, by extension, a requested special master) cannot be denied access to those documents,” his lawyers wrote Monday.

Trump’s team also wrote that a “President enjoys absolute authority under the Executive Order to declassify any information. There is no legitimate contention that the Chief Executive’s declassification of documents requires approval of bureaucratic components of the executive branch. Yet, the Government apparently contends that President Trump, who had full authority to declassify documents, ‘willfully’ retained classified information in violation of the law. Moreover, the Government seeks to preclude any opportunity for consideration of this issue.”

This story has been updated with additional details.

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

CNN

Tyre Nichols Protests...
Nouran Salahieh, Jamiel Lynch, Chuck Johnston, Shawn Nottingham, Andy Rose and Phil Gast, CNN

More protests today after release of video depicting the deadly police beating of Tyre Nichols

Protesters across the US heldmarches & rallies on Saturday, one day after the release of video showing the police beating of Tyre Nichols in Memphis.
1 day ago
Temperatures dropping weather worsens...
Allison Chinchar, CNN Meteorologist

‘Dangerous’ arctic air returns this weekend after a month-long hiatus

What has been a mild start to 2023 will come to a halt this weekend as winter makes a roaring comeback across the Northern Plains and Upper Midwest.
1 day ago
Video footage of a traffic stop that led to the deadly beating of Tyre Nichols shows "acts that def...
Travis Caldwell, Jay Croft, Eric Bradner and Alisha Ebrahimji, CNN

Memphis releases video showing police stop that led to Tyre Nichols’ death

Editor’s note: This article contains graphic descriptions of violence. (CNN) — The city of Memphis has released police body camera and surveillance video showing the January 7 traffic stop and violent police confrontation that led to the death of 29-year-old Tyre Nichols. During the initial encounter between Nichols and Memphis police, an officer can be seen […]
2 days ago
File**People walk past the entrance to a Bed Bath & Beyond retail store along Sixth Avenue in N...
Paul R. La Monica and Nathaniel Meyersohn, CNN

Bed Bath & Beyond says it can no longer pay its debts

The end could be near for struggling retailer Bed Bath & Beyond, as it warned in a regulatory filing Thursday that it received a notice of default from its lender, JPMorgan Chase.
2 days ago
Five former Memphis police officers who were fired for their actions during the arrest of Tyre Nich...
Travis Caldwell and Jay Croft, CNN

‘You’re going to see acts that defy humanity,’ police chief says of Tyre Nichols video

Police also have not been able to find anything that's substantiated the probable cause for reckless driving by Nichols before his fatal encounter with police, she said.
2 days ago
Havasu Falls spills into the water pools below in Supai, Arizona, in October of 2016. Photo credit:...
Forrest Brown, CNN

Grand Canyon’s Havasu Falls to reopen to visitors after 3-year closure

 (CNN) — Havasu Falls, one of the most intriguing features of the Grand Canyon system, will be reopening to visitors after a three-year closure caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. But it’s with a catch. The reopening is scheduled for February 1; however, access will be limited initially to a certain, small group. People whose previous […]
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer, the tests that can warn women about potential cancer, and the importance of vaccination.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...
Macey's

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...
Macey's

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The Best Tools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Workplace Success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
Trump asks judge to reject DOJ’s request to continue to review documents seized from Mar-a-Lago