Mar-A-Lago is seen August 16, 2022 a week after the FBI raided the home of former President Trump, in Palm Beach, Florida, United States.
Nathan Posner | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
The Department of Justice is asking a federal appeals court to temporarily block a Trump-appointed judge’s ruling that prevents it from using thousands of pages of government documents seized from the former president’s Mar-a-Lago home, including hundreds of pages of classified records.
The Justice Department previously argued that any delay in its investigation into Donald Trump’s handling and retention of government records, including classified records, could result in “irreparable harm” to the government and the public.
On Thursday night, U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon denied its request to allow the FBI to continue to use the hundreds of pages of classified records seized from Mar-a-Lago on Aug. 8. She simultaneously appointed senior U.S. District Judge Raymond J. Dearie as a special master, and — in an unprecedented move — gave him authority to make decisions on questions of executive privilege after a request from Trump’s team.
Dearie issued an order Friday summoning the parties to the federal district courthouse in Brooklyn, where he is based, for a preliminary conference Tuesday.
Cannon previously blocked the government from using the documents seized from Mar-a-Lago for “investigative purposes.” The government had asked her to lift her restrictions on a subset of the documents — the hundreds of pages bearing classification markings — because, the Justice Department argued, they “are government property over which the Executive Branch has control and in which Plaintiff has no cognizable property interest.” More broadly, the department argued that a special master “is unnecessary and would significantly harm important governmental interests, including national security interests.”
Dearie was one of two special master candidates proposed by Trump, and the only Trump suggestion that the Justice Department deemed acceptable. Trump’s team rejected both of the department’s candidates, but would not publicly say why they opposed those two former judges.
The Justice Department signaled last week, ahead of Cannon’s order appointing the special master Thursday night, that it would appeal the judge’s ruling broadly.