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Trump's Claims Of Declassifying Seized Documents Not Supported By Evidence, DoJ Says

The U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) has asked the court to stay its Sept. 5 ruling in order to allow further review of the classified documents that were seized from former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. This is the latest development in the lawsuit between the DoJ and Trump.

Benzinga · 09/14/2022 07:36

The U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) has asked the court to stay its Sept. 5 ruling in order to allow further review of the classified documents that were seized from former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. This is the latest development in the lawsuit between the DoJ and Trump.

What Happened: The Justice Department’s justification for seeking the stay order was that Trump has not asserted or provided evidence that any of the seized documents bearing classification markings were declassified, filings done by the federal agency on Tuesday said.

The former president has neither shown he had declassified the records nor established that these were categorized as his personal records for the purposes of the “Presidential Records Act,” the DoJ said. Even if Trump had done the latter, nothing in the PRA or any other source of law “establishes a plausible claim of privilege or any other justification” for restricting the government’s review and use of records in an ongoing criminal and national security investigation, it added.

See also: Trump Asked Aides, Even Valet Who Delivered Diet Coke, How To Stay In The White House After 2020 Election Debacle, New Book Says

“The government and the public have a compelling interest in that investigation continuing,” the DoJ said.

“And Plaintiff is not entitled to restrict the government’s investigation pending a review of these records for privilege claims that cannot prevail.”

Why It’s Important: Trump and the DoJ are engaged in a legal fight over the appointment of a special master for the review of the seized documents.

U.S. District Court Judge Aileen Cannon on September 5 granted Trump’s request to appoint a special master and forbade the Justice Department from reviewing the seized records.

The federal agency requested a partial stay from the judge last week and asked for access to a little over 100 classified documents.

Commenting on the filing, Andrew Weissmann, a former DoJ attorney, said this was another “strong brief.”