Trump lawyers ask for permission to examine classified documents at Mar-a-Lago

 August 11, 2023

While media attention has recently shifted to the indictment brought against former President Donald Trump in Washington, D.C., he is still facing charges in Florida connected with his handling of classified documents.

That latter case took an unexpected turn this week when Trump's lawyers asked for permission to examine classified documents at the former president's home. 

SCIF previously existed at at Mar-a-Lago

According to NBC News, attorneys Todd Blanche and Chris Kise made that request in a motion filed with U.S. District Court Judge Aileen Cannon on Wednesday.

Specifically, Blanche and Kise are seeking to re-established what is known as a sensitive compartmented information facility or SCIF at Trump's Mar-o-Lago resort in Palm Beach.

NBC News pointed out that a SCIF previously existed at the residence during Trump's presidency but the location was decertified after he left office.

Attorneys cite "logistical hurdles" and costs to taxpayers

"This request is based on the immense practical and logistical hurdles and costs that make it virtually impossible for President Trump to make regular trips to a public facility to discuss classified discovery material with counsel as necessary to conduct a defense consistent with the rights afforded by the Constitution," Blanche and Kise wrote in their filing.

What's more, the two lawyers argued that reestablishing the Mar-a-Lago SCIF would also be of benefit to taxpayers as well.

They highlighted "the logistical hurdles and incredible resources that will be required every time President Trump travels to one of the government’s contemplated SCIFs."

NBC News reported that Special Counsel Jack Smith's office maintained in a filing of its own last month that Trump should be required to visit an off-site SCIF whenever classified documents must be reviewed.

Prosecution says "exceptional treatment would not be consistent with the law"

"The government is not aware of any case in which a defendant has been permitted to discuss classified information in a private residence, and such exceptional treatment would not be consistent with the law," the filing read.

"Efforts to safely transport and protect President Trump—all of which are required by the Secret Service—cost the United States government and state and local municipalities hundreds of thousands of dollars per visit, which is significantly more than the fixed amount necessary to re-establish the secure area at which President Trump (and his lawyers) were once permitted to discuss classified information," it continued.

Yet Blanche and Kise countered that the argument was "misleading" and cited the "uniqueness of President Trump’s residence."

This includes the fact "that it is in a highly protected location guarded by federal agents that previously housed a secure facility approved for not only the discussion, but also the retention, of classified information."

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