The US justice department on Friday asked a federal appeals court to let it resume reviewing classified materials seized in an FBI search of former President Donald Trump’s Florida estate.
In the filing before the US Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, the justice department said the circuit court should halt part of the lower court decision that prevents prosecutors from relying on the classified documents in their criminal investigation into the retention of government records at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence in Palm Beach after his presidency ended.
The department also asked that a third party appointed to examine all the records taken in the federal raid at Trump’s part, senior US judge Raymond Dearie, not be permitted to review the classified materials.
The government asked the appeals court to rule on the request “as soon as practicable”.
Trump’s attorneys did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In the unprecedented search of the former President’s property, the justice department has said it is investigating the retention of government records — some marked as highly classified, including “top secret” — as well as obstruction of a federal probe.
The justice department must now convince the Atlanta-based appeals court, with a conservative majority, to take its side in litigation over the records probe. Trump appointees make up six of the 11 active judges on the 11th Circuit.
The government’s motion comes after US district judge Aileen Cannon on Thursday rejected the same requests from the justice department.
Cannon, whom Trump appointed to the bench in 2020, had said she would tell Dearie, who is filling the role of a “special master” in the case, to prioritise the classified records in his review, which she set a November 30 deadline to complete.
There were roughly 100 classified documents among the 11,000 records gathered in the FBI’s court-approved August 8 search at the former President’s Mar-a-Lago resort.
If Cannon’s ruling stands, experts said, it would likely stall the justice department investigation involving the government records.
Japan’s unmatched typhoon
The Japan Meteorological Agency issued a special typhoon warning on Saturday for Kagoshima prefecture on Kyushu, the southernmost of Japan’s main islands, as the region braces for a powerful and potentially destructive super typhoon.
The warning came after the weather agency earlier in the day urged residents to evacuate parts of the Kyushu, ahead of the typhoon Nanmadol, expected to bring up to half a metre of rain when it makes landfall on Sunday.
Nanmadol, classified as a super typhoon by the US Navy’s Joint Typhoon Warning Centre, has the potential to be the most destructive tropical storm to strike Japan in decades. Winds at the centre of the storm were blowing at 198kmph and gusting up to 270kmph, according to the JMA.
“Unprecedented” storms and rainfall could strike the area, JMA official Ryuta Kurora said at a televised news conference, urging residents there to evacuate before it gets dark. Southern Kyushu could receive 500mm of rain on Sunday, while the central Tokai region could see 300mm, the agency forecast.