Judge suspends DOJ investigation into Trump, grants special master request

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A federal judge on Monday granted former President Donald Trump’s request to conduct a special master review of items the FBI seized from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence and also the Department’s use. or Justice (DOJ) has discontinued the items for “research purposes”.

U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, a Trump-appointed judge, has ruled that a special master will be appointed to review the seized items to determine whether they are personal items or items subject to claims of attorney-client privilege or executive privilege.

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Cannon also ruled that the DOJ should suspend the use of Trump’s items for “investigative purposes” while the special captain conducts his assessment, but also noted that the office of the director of national intelligence could continue its “classification review and/or intelligence review.”

Cannon wrote that the court was “conscious of the need to maintain at least the appearance of honesty and integrity under the extraordinary circumstances presented” in granting Trump’s request.

She added that there was a risk that the DOJ would leak material that would harm the former president.

“In addition to potentially being withheld from important personal documents, which alone causes real harm, Plaintiff faces unquantifiable potential harm from inappropriate disclosure of sensitive information to the public,” Cannon wrote.

The decision comes after the DOJ objected to Trump’s request for the special master.

The DOJ last week pushed against Trump’s request, arguing it was “unnecessary and would significantly harm important government interests, including national security interests.”

Trump’s attorneys filed a motion for the special master about two weeks after the Mar-a-Lago raid, labeling the raid as political in nature rather than fair.

“Law enforcement is a shield that protects Americans. It cannot be used as a weapon for political purposes,” Trump said. “That’s why we’re seeking legal help in the wake of an unprecedented and unnecessary raid on President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home, in Palm Beach, Florida.”

According to a title deed released shortly after the Mar-a-Lago raid, the seized items included “various top secret documents”, a “leather box of documents” and “several classified/TS/SCI documents”.

The decision to award the special master came as expected after Cannon previously indicated she intended to do so.

The judge also gave both parties until September 9 to nominate candidates for the position of special master.

Media critics claimed Trump’s request for a special master would be “too late”, since the DOJ had the material for weeks. The judge disagreed, though she noted that questions about executive privilege or the Presidential Records Act would have to be filed and litigated in Washington, DC.

Write to Ashley Oliver at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter on @ashliver.