By Matthew Chapman
Attorney General Merrick Garland delivers remarks during a Medal of Valor ceremony, Monday, May 16, 2022, in the East Room of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz)
On Friday, POLITICO’s Kyle Cheney reported that the Justice Department is moving to appeal Trump-appointed Judge Aileen Cannon’s order for a special master to review the documents obtained in the search of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago country club in Palm Beach, Florida.
The DOJ already appealed to the Eleventh Circuit for, and won, a narrow carveout of the 100 documents officially marked classified from Cannon’s order, exempting those documents from the special master review. However, they argue in a new filing, the broader special master review still hampers a major criminal investigation.
“An expedited appeal would serve the interests of justice,” said the filing. “Base on the district court’s orders thus far, the government is barred from accessing all of the materials except those with classification markings recovered in August pursuant to a lawful search warrant — and it may continue to be barred from doing so until mid-December or later.”
This order, the DOJ argued, means that “the government is … unable to examine records that were commingled with materials bearing classification markings, including records that may shed light on, for example, how the materials bearing classification markings were transferred to Plaintiff’s residence, how they were stored, and who may have accessed them.” These documents, the filing added, may also reveal evidence of crimes unrelated to classified information, like obstruction and removal of government records.
According to Cheney, prosecutors discussed this appeal with Trump attorney Christopher M. Kise, who has said the former president opposes the relief sought by the DOJ.
Cannon has come under fire for a series of highly partisan decisions, including one that puts on hold a request by the special master, Senior Judge Raymond Dearie of Brooklyn, for Trump’s legal team to certify that the FBI’s inventory of property seized pursuant to the search warrant is accurate.