On Wednesday, attorneys for former President Donald Trump renewed their request that a federal judge appoints a “special master” to analyze the records the FBI took from Trump’s Florida property.
The Department of Justice had claimed the day before that appointing a special master would be detrimental to the government’s national security interests, prompting the narrow filing in U.S. District Court in West Palm Beach.
As part of its lawsuit, the DOJ also claimed that “efforts were likely to hinder the government’s investigation” into the documents sent to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort after he left office.
In addition, the FBI removed over a hundred sensitive documents from the Palm Beach resort, as reported by the Department of Justice earlier this month. The FBI also released a photo with some of the sensitive information blacked, showing documents that had been retrieved from a container in Trump’s “45 Office.”
In its response filed late Wednesday, Trump’s legal team accused the DOJ of using “the framework of replying to a motion for a Special Master into an all-encompassing challenge against any judicial assessment, present or future, of any aspect of its unprecedented activity in this investigation.”
The government’s “exceptional document” implies “that the DOJ, and the DOJ alone, should be entrusted with the burden of reviewing its unreasonable pursuit of criminalizing a former President’s holding of personal and Presidential records in a secure location,” Trump’s attorneys argued.
Further, they claimed that the DOJ made numerous “misleading or incomplete statement[s] of supposed ‘truth,'” without presenting any evidence to support their claims.
On Thursday at 1 p.m. ET, Trump appointee Judge Aileen Cannon will preside over a hearing in West Palm Beach.
— Nicolle Wallace (@NicolleDWallace) September 1, 2022
Until a special master could examine the documents and other evidence seized in the Mar-a-Lago raid, Trump filed suit to prevent the Justice Department from pursuing its investigation. This is done if there is a likelihood that specific evidence should be concealed from prosecutors based on numerous legal protections.
On Monday, the DOJ informed the judge that its investigation of the seized materials had concluded and that a law enforcement team had uncovered a “limited set” of fabrics that may be protected by the attorney-client privilege. As a legal notion, attorney-client privilege ensures that all conversations between lawyers and their clients remain private.
On Wednesday, Trump’s legal team replied that the so-called Privilege Review Team had been “wholly defective” in its duty to identify and separate all potentially privileged documents from the rest of the seized information.
According to Trump’s and his administration’s public statements, all of the FBI’s confiscated papers have been declassified. However, in the civil case before Cannon, Trump’s legal team has not made that specific claim.
The DOJ said in a late Tuesday filing that Trump “never asserted executive privilege over any of the documents” and “never claimed that any of the documents in the boxes containing classification markings had been declassified” when the National Archives retrieved 15 boxes from Mar-a-Lago in January.
On June 3, in response to a grand jury subpoena, FBI agents went to Mar-a-Lago to collect any more materials in Trump’s possession that bore classified marks. According to the government, no claims were made concerning declassification at that time.
According to the DOJ, it received the subpoena in May after the FBI provided proof that many more boxes containing sensitive information than the 15 retrieved in January were still at Trump’s property.
Neither the custodian nor the attorney claiming to have produced the documents claimed that the previous president had declassified them or invoked the presidential privilege. Instead, “counsel treated the documents as if they were classified, including delivering them in a single Redweld envelope that was double-wrapped in tape,” as stated by the DOJ.
JUST IN: Trump’s lawyers have responded to the DOJ and it’s unclear whether they understand that acknowledging their client’s “possession of … Presidential records” is admitting that he did crimes pic.twitter.com/gE0b9sojCg
— Andrew Feinberg (@AndrewFeinberg) September 1, 2022
The DOJ also noted that Trump’s records custodian had filed a sworn certification letter in which he or she claimed that “any and all” materials responsive to the grand jury subpoena had been turned over.
However, the DOJ claims the FBI “uncovered various sources of evidence” that other classified materials were still stored at Mar-a-Lago. There was “evidence obtained by the government that federal records were likely concealed and removed from the Storage Room and that efforts were likely conducted to obstruct the government’s inquiry,” the DOJ concluded.
Because of this and other evidence, the authorities sought and obtained a warrant to search Mar-a-Lago on August 8. Wednesday, Trump’s attorneys responded to the DOJ, claiming that their client’s June 3 meeting “has been severely mischaracterized” by the agency.
Ex-president Clinton’s legal team argued that the government lied to a magistrate judge by providing the same false account in the affidavit supporting the search request.
After some confusion, Trump explained that the FBI “pulled them out of cartons and put them everywhere on the carpet, making it look like a huge ‘find’ for them.”
“They dropped them, not me – Very deceiving…And remember, we could have NO representative, including lawyers, present during the Raid. They were told to wait outside,” Trump wrote.
Keep following journalistpr.com for more updates.