(NewsNation) — The Department of Justice is appealing Florida District Judge Aileen M. Cannon’s decision to appoint a special master to oversee the handling of documents collected by the FBI during a search of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in August.
Three judges in the 11th Federal Circuit Court in Atlanta will hear the DOJ’s appeal to the appointment of a special master.
Cannon’s decision last week to appoint a special master, a third party whot would independently review documents taken by the FBI, was immediately followed by an objection from the DOJ that no outside counsel would be necessary because officials had already completed their review of any documents that could be covered by privilege.
Jay Bratt, the head of the Justice Department’s counterintelligence wing, said in court Trump had no right to possess the documents in the first place, whether they were declassified or not, as Trump claimed they were. Bratt, citing the Presidential Records Act of 1973, argued the documents were the property of the American people.
Cannon, who was appointed by Trump, ultimately disagreed with the DOJ’s case. At one point during the hearing she asked, “what is the harm” in appointing an independent special master?
Trump’s lawyers contended the appointment of a special master would cool the volatile national rhetoric sweeping the nation in wake of the FBI’s search of Trump’s estate, in which hundreds of classified documents were retrieved.
Some of those documents reportedly contained information about another nation’s nuclear weapons programs, information considered to be incredibly sensitive, according to the Washington Post.
The Department of Justice said in a court filing on Aug. 30 it had reason to believe documents at Mar-a-Lago had possibly been moved or hidden from investigators on an earlier visit by officials to Mar-a-Lago, raising the chance obstruction charges could be coming down the pipe for Trump or his lawyer Christina Bobb.
Bobb was managing the documents for Trump and had signed a form for investigators that all documents they were seeking had been turned over to authorities prior to the Aug. 8 search of Mar-a-Lago. She had claimed Trump’s team conducted a “diligent” search for documents and none were found.
The FBI and DOJ appeared to have reason to believe that was not true, and searched Mar-a-Lago on Aug. 8, when they indeed did find hundreds of additional documents not previously reported to them by Bobb or anyone else on Trump’s team.
Trump and his team have yet to provide a concrete reasons as to what those additional documents were doing at Mar-a-Lago, or why they were unreported to authorities, other than making a wide range of claims that include accusing the FBI of planting evidence and claiming the document were declassified so therefore they could remain in Trump’s possession.
Trump’s lawyers filed a countersuit against the DOJ, followed by a stream of attacks by Trump against the DOJ and FBI in which he accused both bodies of being corrupt “vicious monsters” and called the search of his estate an “un-American break-in” and an “attack” on America.