11 States Back Trump in Battle With Biden Administration Over Mar-a-Lago Raid

11 States Back Trump in Battle With Biden Administration Over Mar-a-Lago Raid
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton speaks during the launch of an antitrust investigation into large tech companies outside of the Supreme Court in Washington on Sept. 9, 2019. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)
Zachary Stieber

Eleven Republican attorneys general are backing former President Donald Trump, telling a federal appeals court that the Biden administration's "questionable conduct" in other cases should inform its looming decision on records seized by the Department of Justice (DOJ) from Trump.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and 10 other attorneys general wrote in an amicus brief that the Biden administration tried to impose immigration policies deemed violative of federal law, even after a district court ruled against them. An appeals court soon ordered the administration to stop, finding it had engaged in "gamesmanship in its decision-making."

In another example, a majority of the Supreme Court said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's eviction moratorium was likely illegal, but the court declined to strike down the moratorium because it was going to soon expire. The Biden administration reimposed the moratorium three days after the expiration, even though Biden acknowledged that it was "not likely to pass constitutional muster." The Supreme Court then struck it down.

Biden likewise imposed COVID-19 vaccine mandates, even though he said in December 2020 that he wouldn't.

The actions by the administration justified U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon's order to introduce a special master, or independent third party, into the Trump records case, the attorneys general wrote.

"Under the extraordinary circumstances of this case, the court correctly set aside the presumption of regularity usually afforded to government officials. This Court should affirm that careful decision," they wrote.

“Joe Biden’s commitment to weaponizing the DOJ to go after political opponents should deeply concern all Americans,” Paxton said in a statement. “Given Biden’s track record, combined with his rhetoric demonizing anyone he disagrees with, the courts must be on high alert to the ways in which DOJ may abuse its power to punish President Donald Trump. At a bare minimum, the Eleventh Circuit should ensure that any privileged information taken from President Trump is returned and the special master stays in place.”

Amicus briefs are filed by parties not involved in legal cases in support of one side or the other. The one in question was filed in support of Trump and against the DOJ, which has asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit to block part of Cannon's order.

The government wants the court to prevent Trump lawyers and the special master from seeing records marked classified that were taken from Mar-a-Lago and to enable the DOJ to use the documents in its criminal investigation into Trump.

Trump lawyers told the appeals court on Sept. 20 that the government hasn't proven Trump held classified records; Trump has said he declassified the materials. In a response, DOJ lawyers said Trump hasn't proven that he declassified the records.