Former President Donald Trump has asked the Supreme Court to intervene in a dispute over material marked classified by the FBI seized from his Mar-a-Lago estate this summer.
His emergency plea to the Supreme Court is the latest example of the former president seeking to involve justices in the investigation that has entangled him at a time when the high court’s legality in politically explosive cases is under scrutiny.
Trump specifically asked the court to ensure that more than 100 documents marked classified were part of the special master review. The request, if granted, could support the former president’s attempt to challenge the search and return the documents to him in court.
Trump’s emergency application to the Supreme Court comes after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit sided with the Justice Department and said it may continue its criminal investigation into documents marked classified. The investigation into the use of the records has been put on hold by a district judge in Florida who granted Trump a request for a third-party review of material obtained in the Mar-a-Lago search.
The appeal brought the political focus back to the Supreme Court.
Earlier this year, he asked a judge to block his White House from releasing documents to congressional U.S. Capitol attack investigators. The High Court rejected the request.
This year has seen a string of controversial rulings (including overturning Roe v. Wade, and could make the Mar-a-Lago search an even bigger issue in the upcoming congressional midterm elections.
Trump appointed three current justices: Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett.
Also, the justice who received the Supreme Court’s emergency request from Florida was conservative Clarence Thomas, although he was all but guaranteed to bring the petition to the full court for consideration.
Thomas’ wife, conservative activist Ginni Thomas, has pushed for efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election and testified before a House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Elie Honig, a senior legal analyst at CNN, said the appeal is aimed at delaying the Justice Department’s investigation of the former president as long as possible.
“It’s part of a delay strategy,” Honig said on CNN’s “The Leadership of Jack Tapper,” noting that Trump lost the appeals court. “So either he accepts the loss and those documents don’t go to the special director, they go straight to the Justice Department, or the only thing he has left is to try and get the Supreme Court to accept it, which is the course he’s taking now.”
Honig said if the court took up the case, it would be a “close call.”
“The Supreme Court usually likes to stay out of chaotic political disputes,” Honig said. “On the other hand, when it comes to unique and novel issues such as constitutions, separation of powers, executive privileges, and classification of documents, that’s why the Supreme Court exists – to adjudicate those high-level disputes between branches involving some core constitutional principle. between.”
Trump has not asked the high court to reinstate the Justice Department investigation by U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, whom he appointed in 2020, to access documents marked classified.
But Trump wants the documents to be included in those reviewed by the special director after an appeals court exempted them from the special director process.
In the new filing, Trump’s lawyers said that “any restrictions on the full and transparent review of material seized during the extraordinary raid on the presidential palace would undermine public confidence in our justice system.”
They also dismissed the Justice Department’s assertion that including the documents in the special review session posed a national security risk.
“The administration argues on appeal that showing Judge Derie purportedly classified documents would harm national security,” Trump’s lawyers said, referring to Senior Judge Raymond Dearie, who has Appointed as a special person in charge of disputes. The Trump team said the position was “irreconcilable” with the Justice Department, saying it may want to show the same documents to a grand jury or witnesses during interviews.
This story is breaking and will be updated.