Washington (AP) — Department of Justice and Donald TrumpThe U.S. legal team on Friday proposed candidates for the role of an independent mediator in an investigation into top-secret documents found at the former president’s Florida home, but the two sides differed in the scope of their duties.
Trump’s lawyers said they believe the so-called special master should review all documents seized by him FBI Filter out anything protected by claims of executive privilege, including records with classification marks, and claims of executive privilege, during your search of Mar-a-Lago last month.
The Justice Department said it does not believe that an arbitrator should be allowed to inspect classified records or take into account potential claims of executive privilege.
US District Judge Eileen Cannon gave both sides until Friday to present potential candidates for the role of a Special Master, as well as propose the scope of the person’s duties and a schedule for his or her work. .
The Justice Department submitted the names of two retired judges — Barbara Jones, who served on the federal bench in Manhattan and played a similar role in prior high-profile investigations, and Thomas Griffith, a former federal appeals court jurist in the District of Columbia.
The Trump team proposed a retired judge, Raymond Deary — the former top federal prosecutor in the Eastern District of New York — and Florida’s leading attorney, Paul Huck Jr.
The Special Master is going back and forth amid an FBI investigation into the retention of several hundred classified documents recovered from Mar-a-Lago within the past year. While the legal wrangling is unlikely to have a major long-term impact on the criminal investigation or significantly shut it down, it will almost certainly delay it and has already given the intelligence community a temporary halt to the national risk assessment.
Over strong objections from the Justice Department, Cannon accepted the Trump team’s request for the Special Master on Monday and directed the department to temporarily halt review of the records for investigative purposes.
She said that person would be responsible for filtering the records recovered during the Aug. 8 search of Mar-a-Lago and filtering any documents potentially covered up by claims of attorney-client or executive privilege.
Roughly 11,000 documents – including more than 100 with classified markings, some at the top-secret level – were recovered during the search. This is on top of classified documents contained in 15 boxes retrieved in January by the National Archives and Records Administration, and retrieved by the Department of Additional Sensitive Government Records during a visit to Mar-a-Lago in June.
The Justice Department objected to the Trump team’s request for a special master, saying it had already completed its review that identified a limited subset of records that likely contained attorney-client privileges. It has said that executive privileges do not apply in this investigation because Trump, who is no longer president, had no right to claim the documents.
The department filed a notice of appeals Thursday indicating it would oppose a judge’s order at the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta. The officials asked the judge to lift his hold on the investigative work pending his appeal, as well as require that the department share the classified records with a special master that were recovered.
It is unclear whether Trump or anyone else will be charged.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.