Intelligence community resumes work on Mar-a-Lago documents, damage assessment


The intelligence community is resuming work on both the classification review and the so-called damage assessment of former President Donald Trump’s storage of classified material at his Mar-a-Lago home and resort, according to a statement from the director’s office. National Intelligence Service.

The ODNI had temporarily suspended its work earlier this month after US District Judge Aileen Cannon issued an order halting any use of the seized materials for the Justice Department’s criminal investigation. Although she said the intelligence community’s assessment could continue, the DOJ maintained that the two efforts were inextricably intertwined, and stopping one stopped the other.

An appeals court overturned key elements of Cannon’s original ruling earlier this week, allowing the Justice Department to continue looking at documents marked classified that were seized from the Palm Beach estate and allowing the intelligence community to resume its work.

“In consultation with the Department of Justice, ODNI is resuming the classification review of relevant material and assessment of the potential risk to national security that would result from the publication of the relevant documents,” an ODNI spokesman said.

The damage assessment is a long-term analytical product that will examine what the risk would be to US national security if the material stored at Mar-a-Lago were to be disclosed. The classification review is designed to review each document to determine that its classification marks are current.

The emergency action by the three-judge panel of the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals, two of whom were nominated by Trump, overturned the trial judge’s order over the documents that had blocked the work of federal investigators and marked a strong rebuke of the Trump team’s attempts to suggest without evidence that materials were somehow declassified.

The appeals judges found that the federal government and national security could be harmed by the break in the investigation, and Trump’s team did not have good enough reason to review potentially classified records.

The court also did not challenge the Justice Department, saying it could not divorce the intelligence review of the documents from its criminal investigation.

Trump’s options to block the criminal investigation are now slimmer, with one of his only remaining options being an emergency appeal to the Supreme Court.

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