As Donald Trump continues to push back against the DOJ’s claims that he was somehow “hiding” allegedly “classified” documents at his home in Florida, a judge in the case has issued him a rather significant blow.
In the weeks after the FBI raided Mar-a-Lago, Donald Trump’s legal team was successful in pausing the DOJ’s ability to review the documents via a court order. The FBI had already finished reviewing the documents, however, leading many to wonder just how effective that order was.
Now, another judge has ruled in favor of the Department of Justice, and the DOJ can now begin scouring the evidence once again.
In a stark repudiation of Donald Trump’s legal arguments, a federal appeals court on Wednesday permitted the Justice Department to resume its use of classified records seized from the former president’s Florida estate as part of its ongoing criminal investigation.
The ruling from a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit amounts to an overwhelming victory for the Justice Department, clearing the way for investigators to continue scrutinizing the documents as they consider whether to bring criminal charges over the storage of of top-secret records at Mar-a-Lago after Trump left the White House. In lifting a hold on a core aspect of the department’s probe, the court removed an obstacle that could have delayed the investigation by weeks.
The issue of the documents’ classification was once again paramount.
The appeals court also pointedly noted that Trump had presented no evidence that he had declassified the sensitive records, as he maintained as recently as Wednesday, and rejected the possibility that Trump could have an “individual interest in or need for” the roughly 100 documents with classification markings that were seized by the FBI in its Aug. 8 search of the Palm Beach property.
During a Wednesday night appearance on Sean Hannity’s television program, Trump again reiterated his claim that the documents were declassified by him, suggesting that the President’s power to do so is absolute.