The Justice Department late Tuesday evening told the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals that former President Trump failed to show he declassified documents seized from Mar-a-Lago.
The DOJ’s filing in the 11th Circuit Court was a response to Trump’s lawyers and sought to resume its review of the documents seized by the FBI in August.
In a filing earlier Tuesday, Trump’s lawyers argued that the DOJ has never actually proven the documents it claims are classified are actually classified.
“The District Court denied the Government’s stay request, noting it was not inclined to hastily adopt the Government’s contention that the approximately 100 purportedly “classified” documents were, in fact, classified, and that President Trump could not possibly have a possessory interest in any of them.” Trump’s lawyers wrote in the 40-page filing.
Federal prosecutors made the argument late Tuesday after Special Master Raymond Dearie blasted Trump’s lawyers in a preliminary conference in Brooklyn.
On Tuesday morning Judge Dearie repeatedly asked Trump’s lawyers to prove the former president declassified the documents stored at Mar-a-Lago, “You can’t have your cake and eat it,” the judge said according to Politico.
The DOJ’s filing in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit swung back at Trump’s lawyers, who earlier Tuesday asked the court to preserve a ruling from a lower federal judge that blocked the government from examining the seized documents.
Trump “again implies that he could have declassified the records before leaving office,” federal prosecutors wrote.
“As before, however, Plaintiff conspicuously fails to represent, much less show, that he actually took that step,” they wrote, referring to Trump.
The DOJ lawyers added that Trump “is now resisting” a request by a court-appointed special master for him to provide evidence that he declassified records that were seized.
“In any event, Plaintiff’s effort to raise questions about classification status is a red herring,” the prosecutors argued. “Even if Plaintiff could show that he declassified the records at issue, there would still be no justification for restricting the government’s use of evidence at the center of an ongoing criminal investigation.”
President Trump last month described the declassification process in a statement to John Solomon of Just The News.
“He had a standing order that documents removed from the Oval Office and taken into the residence were deemed to be declassified,” Trump’s office said in a statement to Just The News. “The power to classify and declassify documents rests solely with the President of the United States. The idea that some paper-pushing bureaucrat, with classification authority delegated BY THE PRESIDENT, needs to approve of declassification is absurd.”
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