DOJ opposes special request for master’s degree

Former U.S. President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort is seen in Palm Beach, Florida on February 8, 2021.

Mark Bello | Reuters

The Justice Department revealed Tuesday night that the FBI seized more than 100 classified documents from former President Donald Trump’s Florida home earlier this month, as the department urges a judge to reject Trump’s request. to have these and other documents examined by a special teacher.

The Justice Department argued in a court filing that Trump lacked the legal standing to make such a request and that appointing a special master could harm national security. He also said law enforcement officials had evidence the government records were likely concealed and removed from a storage room at Trump’s home at his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach,” and that efforts were likely made to impede the government’s investigation.”

Trump had sued for blocking the Ministry of Justice to further investigate all materials taken during the raid until a court-appointed special master is able to analyze them.

“As a first step, the former president does not have standing to seek judicial relief or oversight of presidential records because those records do not belong to him,” the DOJ wrote to U.S. District Court Judge Aileen Cannon. of South Florida.

Cannon, who was nominated by Trump, set a hearing Thursday for 1 p.m. ET at a West Palm Beach courthouse.

Not only is the appointment of a special master “unnecessary,” but it would “significantly harm important government interests, including national security interests,” prosecutors wrote.

That harm could include hindering the intelligence community’s “ongoing national security risk review” that may have been caused by “inappropriate storage of these highly sensitive documents,” the DOJ argued.

Documents seized by the FBI at Mar-a-Lago

Source: Ministry of Justice

The answer came a day after the DOJ revealed to a federal judge that its the examination of the seized materials was completed.

A law enforcement team has identified a “limited set” of documents that may be protected by attorney-client privilege, the DOJ told the court Monday. This privilege often refers to the legal doctrine that protects the confidentiality of communications between a lawyer and his client.

The so-called Privilege Review Team – which is separate from the investigation that led the FBI to search Trump’s residence earlier this month – is following a process to “address potential privilege disputes, if any”, wrote the DOJ.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence, or ODNI, is also “directing an intelligence community assessment of the potential national security risk that would result from the release of these documents,” according to the filing.

The DOJ is conducting a criminal investigation into removing documents from the White House and sending them to Trump’s residence at his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach when he left office.

By law, presidential records must be turned over to the National Archives and Records Administration when a president leaves office.

The National Archives and Records Administration recovered 15 boxes of documents from Mar-a-Lago in January. The following month, NARA sent a referral to the DOJ saying the files contained “highly classified documents intermingled with other records,” according to the affidavit used to obtain the Aug. 8 search warrant at Trump’s home.

The DOJ said in Tuesday night’s filing that the FBI had “uncovered multiple sources of evidence indicating … that classified documents remain” at Mar-a-Lago.

“The government has also developed evidence that the government records were likely concealed and removed from storage and that efforts were likely made to impede the government investigation,” the DOJ wrote.

That evidence contradicted a June 3 letter from Trump’s custodian of records certifying that “all” documents responding to a grand jury subpoena had been delivered, the DOJ wrote.

The August search “cast serious doubt on the allegation in the certification … that there had been ‘a diligent search’ of the records responding to the grand jury subpoena,” according to the DOJ filing.

Among the evidence collected during this raid, “more than a hundred unique documents with classification marks – more than double the amount produced on June 3, 2022, in response to the grand jury subpoena – were seized” , wrote the DOJ.

Before the DOJ released its late-night response, a group of former government officials asked the judge to let them file a brief as “amici curiae” – Latin for “friends of the court” – if opposing Trump’s demands.

The group included six former federal prosecutors who served in Republican administrations, as well as former New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman, who governed as a Republican but backed President Joe Biden over Trump in 2020.

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