DOJ states again that seized material from Mar-a-Lago 'indisputably belong to the government' in its appeal to the special master ruling
- A judge ruled on Monday that a special master can be appointed to review the records seized from Mar-a-Lago.
- The DOJ filed an appeal on Thursday, arguing that the order interrupts a criminal investigation.
The Justice Department on Thursday reiterated a key point that has been made by federal investigators and the National Archives since the records agency opened an inquiry last year with Donald Trump about missing White House files: The documents that were seized from Mar-a-Lago "indisputably" belong to the government.
In its appeal to a federal judge's Monday ruling, which granted Trump's request for a special master to review thousands of documents taken from the Florida resort, the Justice Department requested a partial stay that could allow for an independent party to review some of the records without further impeding a criminal investigation.
Specifically, the agency hopes to continue sifting through a "discrete set of just over 100 documents" that have classified markings. The DOJ wrote that "those aspects of the Order will cause the most immediate and serious harms to the government and the public."
Prosecutors further stated: "A stay would simply allow the government to continue to review and use the same records — which, again, indisputably belong to the government, not Plaintiff — in its ongoing criminal investigation as well."
Trump and his attorneys have argued that a special master is necessary because some of the documents may contain personal items or documents that could fall under executive privilege. (Legal experts have raised doubts on the ability of a former president to claim such a privilege.)
The DOJ stated in its appeal that the partial stay "would impose no cognizable harm" to Trump and "not disturb the special master's review of any other records, including any personal materials or records potentially subject to attorney-client privilege."
With the ruling, handed by US District Judge Aileen M. Cannon, the Justice Department said that the order has already interrupted an ongoing criminal probe and prevented a review by the intelligence community of potential national security risks.
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