While the agency considers the documents classified, Trump said he may have declassified them. Under pressure for illegally declassifying the documents, Trump has argued an executive privilege defense.
Trump’s lawyers on Tuesday appealed to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to issue an emergency order that would reinstate external authority over the nearly 100 documents recovered from Mar-A-Lago. Thomas’ wife, Ginni Thomas, has come under scrutiny for her involvement in challenging the results of the 2020 presidential election results, as well as her communication with the Trump administration.
The move by Trump would reverse a ruling by District Court Judge Aileen Cannon in September that brought the documents under the Justice Department’s purview.
“Any limit on the comprehensive and transparent review of materials seized in the extraordinary raid of a President’s home erodes public confidence in our system of justice,” Trump’s attorneys Christopher Kise, James Trusty, Evan Corcoran and Lindsey Halligan, wrote in the 37-page filing.
Trump appears to be requesting Thomas to direct that documents to Special Master Raymond Dearie, a veteran New York district judge, whom Cannon appointed at Trump’s suggestion.
“In sum, the government has attempted to criminalize a document management dispute and now vehemently objects to a transparent process that provides much-needed oversight,” Trump’s legal team wrote.
Trump recently drew attention for comments he made in an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity.
“I declassified the documents when they left the White House. There doesn’t have to be a process as I understand it. You’re the President of the United States, you can declassify … even by thinking about it,” Trump said.