The U.S. Department of Justice may continue its investigation into classified documents found during a search of the home of former President Donald Trump in Florida. A judge ruled that on Wednesday. The New York Times talks about a “victory” for the FBI.
The investigation into the more than 11,000 government documents that the FBI found in Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence in early August was halted at the request of the former president’s lawyers. A judge previously ruled that the investigation had to be postponed until an independent arbitrator (special master) had been given the opportunity to assess the material found during the searches.
Last week, that arbitrator, former Judge Raymond Dearie, was appointed after being nominated by Trump’s team of lawyers. He has been given the power to withhold found documents from the government because of, for example, the so-called privilege of the executive (‘executive privilege’, ed.).
“Probably made a mistake when appointing an arbitrator”
Still, the federal higher court ruled in harsh terms on Wednesday that “a mistake was probably made” in appointing the arbitrator. It would not have been necessary to first have an independent party look at the documentation, according to the court, which agrees with the position of the Ministry of Justice.
The Trump criminal investigation will include whether confidential papers were withheld and whether an attempt was made to thwart a federal investigation. Both offenses are punishable. According to Trump, he has ensured that the documents are no longer secret during his presidency, but according to the court no evidence has been found.
The resumption of the investigation has put a damper on Trump, who is currently holding rallies in Republican states and appears to be interested in running for a second term in the White House, although he has not yet officially run for office. In New York, Trump and his family, who run the Trump Organization, are also accused of large-scale fraud. Criminal charges could thwart his presidential ambitions.
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