On Tuesday, the Justice Department asked the Supreme Court to reject former President Donald Trump’s request to allow the special master reviewing documents seized from Mar-a-Lago access to those marked as classified. Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar said in court papers that Trump would suffer “no harm at all” if the documents are temporarily withheld from the special master.
Whatever the court decides will not affect the Justice Department’s access to the same documents in its criminal investigation. The more than 100 classified documents are just a small portion of the 11,000 records seized by federal agents amid concerns that Trump had unlawfully retained official White House records after leaving office. The Supreme Court is reviewing a Sept. 21 decision by the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that barred the special master, Judge Raymond Dearie, from reviewing the documents. Under federal law, official White House records are federal property and must be handed over to the National Archives when the president leaves office. Trump says he did nothing improper and wants Dearie to determine the status of the documents, including those marked as classified. A decision by the Supreme Court is due at any time.
Trump’s lawyers had said the appeal’s court’s decision to block access to the special master “impairs substantially the ongoing, time-sensitive work of the special master …any limit on the comprehensive and transparent review of materials seized in the extraordinary raid of a president’s home erodes public confidence in our system of justice.”
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