The Department of Justice delivered a stinging rebuke to Trump-appointed District Court Judge Aileen Cannon in a motion filed with the 11th U.S. Court of Appeals on Friday. DOJ prosecutors filed the motion to appeal for a partial stay of Cannon’s order granting a special master to review documents retrieved from the search at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate – an order that put the brakes on the federal agency’s criminal investigation of the former president.
Critical of the inexperienced judge’s willful disregard for precedent, the DOJ wrote:
“The district court has entered an unprecedented order enjoining the Executive Branch’s use of its own highly classified records in a criminal investigation with direct implications for national security.”
The 11th Circuit gave the former President until noon on Tuesday, September 20th to respond.
JUST IN: Appeals court sets a Tuesday deadline for Trump to respond to DOJ’s motion for partial stay of Judge Cannon’s order pic.twitter.com/iD7oUKh3VT
— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) September 17, 2022
“The government is likely to succeed on the merits.”
Justice Department prosecutors have asked the appeals court to exclude materials marked classified from the special master’s purview due to the sensitive nature of the materials. Both sides in the case have agreed on former federal judge Raymond Dearie to be the special master. Dearie spent seven years on the super secret FISA court, working cases involving espionage and obstruction during his long career as a conservative federal judge.
Dearie is also the judge who authorized the wiretapping of former Trump campaign aide Carter Page during the Trump-Russia investigation.
Judge Cannon dismissed the federal government’s concerns over potential national security risks if the criminal probe is halted, despite the seriousness of the allegations which include obstruction of justice, violations of the Espionage Act, and the mishandling of classified materials.
As prosecutors criticized the judge’s order, their filing stated that the record:
“makes clear that the materials were stored in an insecure manner over a prolonged period, and the court’s injunction itself prevents the government from even beginning to take necessary steps to determine whether improper disclosures might have occurred or may still occur.”
“Plaintiff has no claim for the return of those records.”
According to Friday’s filing, the Counterintelligence Division of the FBI gave a sworn declaration that “the criminal investigation is itself essential to the government’s effort to identify and mitigate national security risks.”
The 152-page motion details the federal government’s year-and-a-half quest to have documents returned – giving Trump and his team ample opportunity to return the missing materials. When that failed – even after the custodian of records for Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s attorney Christina Bobb, falsely swore that all classified records had been returned to the National Archives.
The DOJ maintains – backed up by law – that the former President has no claims of Executive privilege since he is no longer president, and therefore the records he took are not his to claim.
Judge Cannon has proven to be another Trump-appointed Federalist Society hack who has compromised her oath and the bench.
Now, the 11 Circuit Court of Appeals has the opportunity to right that wrong.
As the Justice Department wrote in its filing, “an award of injunctive relief in these circumstances supports the ‘strong public interest’ in the integrity of the judicial system.”
Read the DOJ motion here.
Original reporting by Tierney Sneed and Katelyn Polantz at CNN.