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Tipsheet

Biden DOJ’s Motion to Regain Access to Trump Docs Hits Iceberg in the First Sentence

AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

The Biden Department of Justice isn’t giving up on its quest to restore access to the documents they seized after the ransacking of Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home on August 8. They're appealing to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals to regain access to the Trump files. Judge Aileen Cannon, a Trump appointee, issued an injunction barring federal officials from further reviewing the documents until a special master had analyzed the records; the latter was a request from the Trump legal team. Cannon has since been attacked for her ruling, despite being confirmed with bipartisan support. The Justice Department is locked in on this ‘threat to national security’ narrative if they don’t continue their investigation. 

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The FBI alleged nuclear secrets were among the records they seized, which might be partially true—they’re not about our capabilities but other nations. They also permitted Trump to keep these supposed top-secret records that could imperil national security at Mar-a-Lago for 18 months before raiding the property. Does this sound hilariously incompetent? The FBI has a public relations nightmare on its hands. They were executing a political hit job, or they're grossly inept. It’s five and six and pick them. 

The crusade to ensnare Trump on the charge of mishandling classified documents is evidence of how the Justice Department is run by people who simply don’t know the law. Mike Davis, whose legal commentaries have often been featured here since the raid, noted the flawed legal logic in the first sentence of the government’s appeal. 

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The president can declassify whatever he wants, which is what Trump did. Trump kept copies of the declassified records, handled by his federally funded staff with security clearances. And the Secret Service protects the property. It’s a secure location, and the Presidential Records Act isn’t a criminal statute. The years-long campaign to indict Trump by the Democratic Party and the Justice Department members has become beyond quixotic. The fallout is that half the country sees their government’s institutions as irreparably broken and, worse, being weaponized against them based on political bias. 

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