(CBrief) – Former President Donald Trump has struck back at the Department of Justice in a blistering 21 page court filing.
The filing came on Monday as the former president dismissed the FBI seizing documents from his Mar-a-Lago residence as a “misguided storage dispute,” The Daily Mail reported.
The former president’s attorneys praised US District Judge Aileen Cannon’s decision to pause the review of his documents as they await the appointment of a special master as a “sensible preliminary step towards restoring order from chaos.”
“In what at its core is a document storage dispute that has spiraled out of control, the Government wrongfully seeks to criminalize the possession by the 45th President of his own Presidential and personal records,” the filing said.
“What is clear regarding all of the seized materials is that they belong with either President Trump (as his personal property to be returned pursuant to Rule 41(g)) or with NARA, but not with the Department of Justice,” it said.
The government took issue with Cannon’s stay on reviewing the documents and the Trump team hit back.
“The Government’s stance assumes that if a document has a classification marking, it remains classified irrespective of any actions taken during President Trump’s term in office,” it said.
The ex-president’s lawyers have appeared hesitant to make that claim in court despite Trump insisting in multiple public interviews and statements that he had not taken classified documents because he had waived their secrecy as commander-in-chief.
However in their court filing, Trump’s lawyers directly contradict him by stating the Biden administration has ‘not proven these records remain classified,’ adding that it’s a topic ‘to be determined later.’
Despite ordering the FBI to temporarily halt its probe, Cannon did let allow a separate review of the documents by the intelligence community to move forward.
Federal prosecutors argued Thursday that allowing one without the other is unworkable, ‘given that the same senior DOJ and FBI officials are ultimately responsible for supervising the criminal investigation and for ensuring that DOJ and FBI are coordinating appropriately with the [Intelligence Community]’ on its own review.
The Department of Justice wants the former president to pay for the special master in the case, but Trump has said that they should split the cost, Mediaite reported.
“Plaintiff proposes to split evenly the professional fees and expenses of the Special Master and any professionals, support staff, and expert consultants engaged at the Master’s request,” it said in the filing.
“The Government’s position is that, as the party requesting the special master, Plaintiff should bear the additional expense of the Special Master’s work,” it said.
Both parties also submitted their candidates for special master.
Government’s Proposed Candidates
The Honorable Barbara S. Jones (ret.) – retired judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, partner in Bracewell LLP, and special master in In re: in the Matter of Search Warrants Executed on April 28, 2021 and In the Matter of Search Warrants Executed on April 9, 2018.
The Honorable Thomas B. Griffith (ret.) – retired Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, special counsel in Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP, and Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School.
Plaintiff’s Proposed Candidates
The Honorable Raymond J. Dearie (ret.) – former Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, served on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, formerly the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.
Paul Huck, Jr.—founder, The Huck Law Firm, former Jones Day partner, former General Counsel to the Governor, former Deputy Attorney General for the State of Florida.
The Department of Justice has decided to appeal the decision of the judge who appointed a special master to oversee the documents seized from former President Donald Trump’s private residence.
It also asked that asked Judge Aileen Cannon pause her order that blocked the Department of Justice from continuing to review the documents, NBC News reported.
The moves came three days after Cannon approved Trump’s request for a special master to sift through the seized materials to identify personal items and records that are protected by attorney-client privilege or executive privilege.
The DOJ had opposed that request, saying a team of agency officials had already completed a privilege review of the documents, and that a special master could harm the government’s national security interests.
In another court filing Thursday, the DOJ asked Cannon to make public a notice on the status of that team’s filter review process, which had been filed under seal on Aug. 30.