The federal judge presiding over the Mar-a-Lago documents case has issued her first order, which directs attorneys for former President Donald Trump to obtain security clearances.
If attorneys handling the case have not already contacted the Department of Justice (DOJ) to begin the process of gaining the proper clearances to view documents related to the case, Judge Aileen Cannon has directed them to begin and expedite the process as of Friday June 16.
Judge Aileen Cannon sets first scheduling order in United States v. Donald Trump and Waltine Nauta.
She orders defense attorneys to contact Justice Department about expediting security clearance process and file l notice of compliance by June 20. pic.twitter.com/eMXm46xGCQ
— Anna Bower (@AnnaBower) June 15, 2023
She also ordered attorneys to file a notice for compliance by June 20.
Blanche has previously held a security clearance, while a member of the law firm assisting him in the case currently has an active clearance, CNN reported.
The Justice Department has alleged in its recent indictment of the former president that Trump stored boxes of classified information at his Palm Beach, Florida estate.
Among the material prosecutors say Trump held were documents relating to “defense and weapons capabilities of both the United States and foreign countries; United States nuclear programs; potential vulnerabilities of the United Stated and its allies to military attack; and plans for possible retaliation in response to a foreign attack.”
The rules set forth in the U.S. Classified Information Procedures Act (CISA) govern the handling of classified information, and require appropriate clearances for accessing such information, even for attorneys defending clients in cases where classified material is part of the case.
According to the DOJ indictment, Trump possessed documents originated by multiple government agencies, including the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Defense Department, National Security Agency, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, National Reconnaissance Office, Department of Energy and State Department.
Since the FBI raided Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s defenders have argued that the President of the United States — and no other individual — has plenary authority to declassify anything they so choose, by any means in which they choose.
The foundation for the argument stems from a 1988 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Department of the Navy v. Egan, where the Court stated the president’s “authority to classify and control access to information bearing on national security … flows primarily from this constitutional investment of power in the president and exists quite apart from any explicit congressional grant.”