Trump asks Supreme Court to intervene in Mar-A-Lago secret document dispute

October 6, 2022

On Tuesday, October 4, former President Donald Trump asked the Supreme Court to block documents seized by the FBI from his Mar-a-Lago home and office on August 8, reports HuffPost.

The former president—who fomented a coup to remain in power after losing reelection—is appealing a three-judge decision from a federal appeals court in Atlanta, which last month overturned a ruling from U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon.

The unanimous decision by the federal appeal court allowed the Department of Justice to go forward with its review of classified documents seized at the Palm Beach, Florida, private club.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit ruled that Cannon erred when she stopped the Department of Justice from continuing its analysis of 103 documents, which were among 11,000 taken from the White House at the end of Trump’s presidency.

In a 276-page filing with the Supreme Court, Trump’s new lawyer, Christopher Kise, challenged the circuit court’s ruling.

“The government has attempted to criminalize a document management dispute and now vehemently objects to a transparent process that provides much-needed oversight,” Kise argued.

His primary argument is that 11th Circuit lacks the jurisdiction to overrule the particulars of Cannon’s order approving a special master and telling the DOJ to halt its criminal investigation until that review is finished.

But Kise couched it in terms that suggest the DOJ is acting out of malice or politics.

“The unprecedented circumstances presented by this case―an investigation of the Forty-Fifth President of the United States by the administration of his political rival and successor―compelled the District Court to acknowledge the significant need for enhanced vigilance and to order the appointment of a Special Master to ensure fairness, transparency, and maintenance of the public trust,” Kise wrote.

In a lengthy footnote, Kise added that the federal government is treating Trump dramatically differently than previous presidents, with whom the National Archives made agreements for document storage and cataloging.

“The government feigned concern about purported classified records to justify commencement of a criminal investigation (not even contemplated under the Presidential Records Act) and then raided President Trump’s personal residence (a secure compound protected by U.S. Secret Service agents and used during the Trump presidency to conduct the official business of the United States),” Kise wrote.

Kise, however, does not mention that Trump was the only president who has removed documents marked at the highest levels of classification, which, if disclosed, could compromise the lives of intelligence assets in other countries, as Trump is accused of doing in a DOJ filing.

It is unclear when and how the high court might act, although Justice Clarence Thomas on Tuesday evening set a 5 p.m., October 11, deadline for the Department of Justice to file its response.

Research contact: @HuffPost