Posted by on September 23, 2022 4:43 pm
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Intelligence community resumes damage assessment on Mar-a-Lago documents

Former President Donald Trump speaks at a rally in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Intelligence community resumes damage assessment on Mar-a-Lago documents

Jerry Dunleavy September 23, 04:31 PMSeptember 23, 04:38 PM Video Embed

The U.S. spy community says it will restart its intelligence assessment and damage review related to records with classified markings seized from former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home.

The assessment, led by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, had been paused by the intelligence community following a district court ruling that the special master appointed in the case would have the ability to review the allegedly classified records.

But that ruling was overturned by an appeals court this week at the insistence of the Justice Department.

“In consultation with the Department of Justice, ODNI is resuming the classification review of relevant materials and assessment of the potential risk to national security that would result from the disclosure of the relevant documents,” a spokesperson for ODNI told the Washington Examiner.

An appeals court granted a DOJ request for a partial stay of a lower court order on Wednesday, which allowed the department to continue its investigation.

DOJ CAN RESUME CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION ON CLASSIFIED MAR-A-LAGO DOCS

Judge Aileen Cannon, a district court judge in Florida, had appointed Judge Raymond Dearie to be the special master earlier this month and temporarily ruled that the government could not investigate the documents pending the special master’s review.

She had stressed that her ruling “shall not impede the classification review and/or intelligence assessment by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence” related to the records seized in the raid.

But despite Cannon’s insistence, an ODNI spokesperson told the Washington Examiner earlier this month that it had “paused” the classification review following consultation with federal prosecutors.

The Justice Department, which quickly appealed the order to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, had claimed that pausing the FBI’s criminal investigation while separately continuing the intelligence community’s damage assessment was a nearly impossible task and that a pause could hurt national security.

Trump’s team had pushed back by saying that the Justice Department “now has the temerity to argue that any involvement by a Special Master will ‘interfere’ with the now ongoing Intelligence Community review of the materials” and that “never has an argument against ‘interference’ better underscored the need for judicial involvement.”

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The three-judge appeals panel’s decision this week, handed down by one Obama appointee and two Trump appointees, was a win for the Justice Department, with the appeals court also reversing Cannon’s determination that the DOJ would have to provide roughly 100 documents with classified markings on them to a special master to review.

Dearie had cast doubt on the former president’s declassification claims during a court hearing on Tuesday. The special master put together a tight schedule for arguments between the Trump team and the Justice Department about the thousands of other records seized by the bureau that were not marked as classified.

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