A US judge has ruled in favor of former US president Donald Trump, refusing to let the Department of Justice (DOJ) immediately resume reviewing classified records seized by the FBI from the former president’s Florida mansion.
The US Justice Department is conducting an ongoing investigation into Trump’s handling of classified government records – including dozens marked “top secret,” “secret” and “confidential” – at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, after leaving office in January 2021.
The department is also investigating possible obstruction of the probe after it found that records may have been removed or concealed from the FBI in the aftermath of the Mar-a-Lago search in June.
In an injunction earlier this month, Federal Judge Aileen Cannon barred the Justice Department from using any of the records for its investigation while the so-called special master conducted their review.
The Justice Department asked the judge last week to allow it to continue scrutinizing the documents marked as classified, promising to take the case to an appeals court if Cannon ruled against their request.
But in her ruling on Thursday, Cannon dismissed the department’s request and refused to lift any part of her injunction.
“The court does not find it appropriate to accept the government’s conclusions on these important and disputed issues without further review by a neutral third party in an expedited and orderly fashion,” Cannon said.
Trump says Americans ‘would not stand’ for his prosecution
Meanwhile, Trump warned on Thursday that the United States would face problems “the likes of which perhaps we’ve never seen” if he is indicted over the case, saying Americans “would not stand” for his prosecution.
He also said an indictment would not stop him from running for the White House again.
“If a thing like that happened, I would have no prohibition against running,” the former president said in an interview with conservative talk radio host Hugh Hewitt. “I think if it happened, I think you’d have problems in this country the likes of which perhaps we’ve never seen before. I don’t think the people of the United States would stand for it.”
Asked what he meant by “problems,” Trump said “I think they’d have big problems. Big problems. I just don’t think they’d stand for it. They will not sit still and stand for this ultimate of hoaxes.”
The remarks, which many construed as incitement to violence, come as senior officials from the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security briefed members of the Senate Judiciary and Homeland Security committees on the uptick in threats against federal law enforcement in the aftermath of the Mar-a-Lago search.
“It was stunning the number of threats that have been cataloged since the Aug. 8 search of Mar-a-Lago,” Senate Judiciary Chair Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said after the briefing on Thursday, specifically mentioning the gunman who tried to enter an FBI building in Cincinnati, Ohio, in the days following the search. “It’s a much more dangerous environment because of the political statements made by some individuals since Aug. 8 — it’s alarming to me.”
In remarks last month, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham also said there would be “riots in the street” if “there is a prosecution of Donald Trump for mishandling classified information.”