Trump appointees among judges extending DOJ access to classified documents

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Former President Donald Trump is pictured at a rally in Youngstown, Ohio, on Sept. 17, 2022. Two judges appointed by Trump were part of a panel of three judges unanimously voted Wednesday to release classified documents seized on March , to allow. a-Lago to be used in a criminal investigation.
Jeff Swensen/Getty Images

Two judges appointed by former President Donald Trump have agreed to overturn a decision barring the Department of Justice (DOJ) from using documents seized during the Mar-a-Lago raid in a criminal justice research.

U.S. District Court Judge Aileen Cannon, also a Trump appointee, previously issued a ruling appointing a special captain to review documents taken during the raid and temporarily prevent documents marked “classified” from entering the investigation of the DOJ.

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On Wednesday, a panel of three judges on the appeals court voted unanimously to overturn elements of Cannon’s decision, removing the classified documents out of the special master’s view and allowing the documents to be used again by the DOJ.

The decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit was made by Circuit Judges Andrew Brasher and Britt Grant, both of whom were appointed by Trump. The third judge on the panel, Circuit Judge Robin Rosenbaum, was appointed by former President Barack Obama.

In the ruling, the judges agreed that it was “obvious” that “the public has a strong interest” in allowing authorities to determine whether Trump endangered national security by potentially illegally transferring the documents. keep.

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Trump has claimed that he released all the documents before returning them to his South Florida home following his departure in January 2021, although no credible evidence has been provided to verify the claim.

The judges found the former president’s claim inconclusive in their ruling on Wednesday, while also detailing the issue of whether the documents had been released as a “red herring.”

“The record contains no evidence that any of these records have been released,” the judges wrote. “In any case, at least for these purposes, the declassification argument is a red herring, because releasing an official document wouldn’t change the content or make it personal.”

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“So even if we assumed that [Trump] has released some or all of the documents, that would not explain why he has a personal interest in it,” they continued.

The ruling came the same day New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a $250 million civil lawsuit against Trump, three of his children and two former Trump Organization executives. The DOJ’s investigation is unrelated.

Although the special captain appointed to review the documents, Judge Raymond Dearie, no longer has jurisdiction over the documents marked as classified, he will continue to review approximately 11,000 additional documents.

Trump’s legal team requested that Dearie be appointed as the special master, a move multiple legal experts have since suggested has backfired on the former president.

Dearie chided Trump’s legal team in a court hearing on Tuesday, telling them they “shouldn’t have your cake and eat it too,” while opposing his demands to support the former president’s claim.

News week has contacted Trump’s office for comment.

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