Former US President Donald Trump on Tuesday asked the Supreme Court to intervene in his dispute with the Justice Department over classified documents seized from his Florida home as part of an investigation into his handling of government records.
Trump filed an emergency request asking justices to block part of a lower court ruling that prevented an independent arbitrator requested by Trump from examining more than 100 documents marked classified that were among 11,000 records seized by FBI agents. at the Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach on August 8.
The Atlanta-based US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit rejected on September 21 a decision by District Judge Aileen Cannon that had temporarily barred the department from examining seized classified documents.
Trump’s lawyers in Tuesday’s filing said the Justice Department had “Attempted to criminalize a records management dispute and now vehemently opposes a transparent process that provides much-needed oversight.”
The court-approved Mar-a-Lago search was carried out as part of a federal investigation into whether Trump illegally withheld White House documents when he left office in January 2021 after his unsuccessful bid for re-election in the 2020, and if the former president tried to obstruct the investigation.
The investigation seeks to determine who accessed the classified materials, if they were compromised, and if any are still missing. The 11th Circuit’s ruling addresses documents that bear marks classified as confidential, secret, or top secret.
Cannon, who is presiding over Trump’s lawsuit to restrict the Justice Department’s access to seized documents, has barred review of all seized material and appointed a special master to review the records, hampering the investigation.
On September 15, Cannon, who was appointed by Trump, rejected the Justice Department’s request that she partially lift her order on the classified materials to mitigate the potential national security risks of their potential unauthorized release.
The three-judge panel for the 11th Circuit included two judges appointed by Trump and one by former President Barack Obama.