Donald Trump: "I took them, so they're mine."
I read the new DOJ filing with the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals so you don't have to
Merrick Garland appointed a special counsel, Jack Smith, to take over the two criminal investigations of Donald Trump that are already underway. Smith is a former head of the Department of Justice’s public integrity division, and has been the chief prosecutor in The Hague at the International Criminal Court prosecuting war crimes in Kosovo since 2018.
The appointment of Smith as special counsel comes on the day after the DOJ filed its reply brief with the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in the matter of Trump’s lawsuit that sought the order to appoint a special master to review all of the materials seized at Mar a Lago for protection under attorney-client or executive privilege. Judge Eileen Cannon had ordered that all the documents seized by the FBI could not be used by the DOJ in its criminal investigation of Trump until the special master review process was completed.
The DOJ appealed the order concerning the classified documents to the 11th Circuit, which quickly ordered that the DOJ be allowed to use the 103 folders of classified documents the FBI found in its search of Trump’s office and personal residence in its investigation and prosecution of Trump. The DOJ filed a second appeal asking that the 11th Circuit order that the department can use all of the documents recovered from Mar a Lago in its prosecution. Trump opposed the motion, and yesterday’s DOJ filing responded to Trump’s answer to the DOJ’s appeal.
The position Trump is taking with the 11th Circuit is astounding. Essentially, Trump is telling the court that because the government documents were removed from the White House while he was still president, in late January of 2021, they are his personal property. It’s his “I took them, so they’re mine” defense. The assertion flies in the face of the Presidential Records Act, which states that any document shown to the president or used by him in the execution of his official duties is a presidential record and is therefore the property of the federal government and belongs in the National Archives along with all other records of his administration.
The DOJ in its filing called Trump’s position “novel and erroneous.” Not only did Trump never assert in his initial lawsuit before Judge Cannon that the documents at Mar a Lago were his “personal” records, he failed to raise his “novel and erroneous” argument in the previous action before the 11th Circuit.
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