“The government … approached them,” DOJ officials, including counterintelligence chief Jay Pratt, said in a filing with the Atlanta-based 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. “Records not marked as classified may also be evidence of potential [obstruction] And [concealment or removal of government records].”
The Justice Department is seeking expedited review of the appeal of Cannon’s order establishing special prima facie review. Although legal briefs on the appeal are scheduled to take place in December or later, the DOJ’s proposed expedited schedule would end that process in mid-November, with oral arguments set for shortly thereafter.
The filing also points to prosecutors’ irritation with Cannon, who was appointed by Trump just days after losing the 2020 election. The Justice Department noted that he has repeatedly overruled decisions made by senior U.S. District Court Judge Raymond Deary, a special master he appointed at Trump’s recommendation. Prosecutors indicated that those rulings could significantly delay Deary’s review.
“Based on the district court’s orders so far, the government is barred from accessing all materials except the classification codes recovered in August pursuant to a legal search warrant — and may be barred from doing so until mid-December. Then,” the officials wrote as they asked the appeals court to immediately weigh legal issues, including Trump’s executive privilege claims.
“Absent such a determination by this court, special master proceedings would result in protracted litigation, including serial appeals to district court from reports and recommendations issued by the special master and other rulings,” the attorneys wrote.
The Justice Department’s motion seeks to take advantage of an 11th Circuit panel ruling earlier this month. It unanimously accepted the government’s request to exclude about 100 documents with classification marks From the Special Master Review. Advocates say the decision could set a precedent that undermines Canon’s basic rationale for review.
Despite press reports that attorney Christopher Kiss, a member of Trump’s legal team, has withdrawn from the special master’s case, a new filing by the government says that Kiss’s attorneys consulted with Trump’s position on the government’s request to expedite the appeal. Kiss said the Trump side plans to oppose it, according to the filing.