DOJ asks SCOTUS to reject Trump’s secret documents appeal

Donald Trump

FILE – President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate is seen from the media van in the presidential motorcade in Palm Beach, Fla., March 24, 2018, en route to Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, Fla. The FBI search of Donald Trump’s Florida estate has spawned a parallel special master process that this month slowed down a criminal investigation and exposed simmering tensions between Justice Department prosecutors and lawyers for the former president. The probe into the presence of top-secret information at Mar-a-Lago continues. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

(NewsNation) — The U.S. Department of Justice has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to reject an appeal from former President Donald Trump’s legal team to step into the fight over classified documents seized from his Florida home, Mar-a-Lago. 

Trump’s team filed an emergency appeal asking the court to permit a “special master” to review 100 classified documents seized from his home after an appeals court ruled against him.

In its 34-page response Tuesday, the DOJ argued the former president’s legal team’s claims had no merit, claiming the documents include “extraordinarily sensitive government records.”

“Indeed, because applicant (Trump’s legal team) has no plausible claims of ownership of or privilege in the documents bearing classification markings…he will suffer no harm at all from a temporary stay of the special master’s review of those materials while the government’s appeal proceeds,” the DOJ filing said. 

Last month a panel of federal judges — including two Trump appointees — sided with the DOJ, limiting the special master’s scope of review in this case. The panel agreed with the Justice Department’s argument there was no legal basis for the special master to conduct a separate review of the documents. 

Trump’s legal team told the Supreme Court it was vital for the special master to have access to, “determine whether documents bearing classification markings are in fact classified, and regardless of classification, whether those records are personal records or Presidential records.”

His legal team argues Trump had “absolute authority” over deciding to declassify documents while he was president.

The Justice Department disputed these claims in Tuesday’s filing, saying there was no evidence to support the president has that authority.

In August the FBI seized 11,000 documents total, including 100 with classified markings. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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