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Trump attorneys told to get security clearances

A judge's filing on Thursday indicates former President Trump's attorneys could be given access to classified information before a trial.
Trump attorneys told to get security clearances
Posted at 4:41 AM, Jun 16, 2023

Former President Donald Trump's attorneys, Chris Kise and Todd Blanche, were told on Thursday to seek security clearances. They are part of Trump's defense as the former president faces 37 felony counts, 31 of which are for mishandling classified documents.

Judge Aileen M. Cannon said the attorneys should contact the Department of Justice to expedite the clearance process. She gave the attorneys until June 20 to file a notice of compliance. 

Those who apply for security clearances have to fill out a questionnaire. The filers are then adjudicated on things like stability, trustworthiness, character and unquestionable loyalty to the U.S. 

The 134-page questionnaire is available online. 

SEE MORE: How is Donald Trump expected to fight his indictment?

Trump is accused of possessing dozens of classified records at his Mar-a-Lago residence after leaving the presidency. Prosecutors say Trump hung onto the sensitive documents despite multiple requests for him to hand them over. 

After executing a search warrant in August 2022, prosecutors say the classified documents found at his residence included information "regarding defense and weapons capabilities of both the United States and foreign countries; United States nuclear programs; potential vulnerabilities of the United States and its allies to military attack; and plans for possible retaliation in response to a foreign attack."

There are three types of security clearances: confidential, secret, and top secret. The Department of Justice indicated that some of the documents stored at Mar-a-Lago contained top secret information. 

The Department of Justice said the unauthorized disclosure of top secret information "could be expected to cause exceptionally grave damage to the national security that the original classification authority was able to identify or describe."

As part of criminal proceedings, prosecutors are required to provide the defense with the evidence it plans to use in its prosecution. The sensitive nature of the evidence involved could make for a more complicated trial. 

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