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Trump asks US Supreme Court to intervene over Mar-a-Lago docs

The investigation seeks to determine who accessed classified materials, whether they were compromised and if any remain unaccounted for. At issue in the 11th Circuit ruling were documents bearing classified markings of confidential, secret or top secret.

Cannon, presiding over Trump’s lawsuit seeking to restrict Justice Department access to the seized documents, barred review of all of the materials and named Dearie to review the records, impeding the investigation.

Former president Donald Trump speaks at a rally in Pennsylvania in September.

Former president Donald Trump speaks at a rally in Pennsylvania in September.Credit:AP

On September 15, Cannon, who was appointed to the bench by Trump, rejected the Justice Department’s request that she partially lift her order on the classified materials as it impeded the government’s effort to mitigate potential national security risks from their possible unauthorised disclosure.

The three-judge 11th Circuit panel included two judges appointed by Trump and one by former president Barack Obama.

Noting that classified records belong to the US government, the 11th Circuit doubted Trump has any “individual interest” in them and that he “has not even attempted to show that he has a need to know the information contained in the classified documents.”

The 11th Circuit also rejected any suggestion that Trump had declassified the documents – as the former president has claimed – saying there was “no evidence” of such action and that the argument was a “red herring because declassifying an official document would not change its content or render it personal.”

In Tuesday’s filing, Trump’s attorneys said he had “broad authority governing classification of, and access to, classified documents”. In an interview on Fox News last month, Trump again asserted without evidence that he declassified the documents and claimed he had the power to do it “even by thinking about it”.

The three statutes underpinning the search warrant used by the FBI at Mar-a-Lago make it a crime to mishandle government records, regardless of their classification status.

Cannon had tasked Dearie to review all of the seized materials, including classified ones, to identify anything subject to attorney-client confidentiality or executive privilege – a legal doctrine that shields some White House communications from disclosure.

The document investigation is one of several legal woes Trump is facing as he considers whether to run again for president in 2024. New York state’s attorney general last month filed a lawsuit accusing Trump and three of his adult children of fraud and misrepresentation in preparing financial statements from the family real estate company. The Trump Organisation also is set to go on trial on October 24 on New York state criminal tax fraud charges.


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