A federal judge in Florida has indicated his “preliminary intent” is to appoint a special master to examine the trove of documents removed from former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort earlier this month.
US District Court Judge Aileen Cannon, who was nominated by Trump in 2020, warned that the order issued on Saturday should not be “construed as a final decision” on the former president’s motion.
Cannon, a judge for the Southern District of Florida, scheduled a hearing Thursday and gave the Justice Department a Wednesday deadline to file a response to Trump’s motion, along with a “more detailed” property receipt from what was removed from the Palm Beach property during the August 8 raid and the status of the document review.
She noted that a “screening team” was already reviewing the documents.
Trump, who condemned the search for documents in his oceanfront home, filed a petition last week to appoint the special master.
“Law enforcement is a shield that protects Americans. It cannot be used as a weapon for political purposes,” Trump’s legal team said in the filing. “Therefore, we seek legal assistance following an unprecedented and unnecessary raid on President Trump’s home in Mar-a-Lago.”
In a message on his Social platform of truth On Saturday, Trump reiterated his belief that the raid was politically motivated because he is the “undisputed frontrunner” in the 2024 Republican presidential primary.
“The Florida Federal Judge has just taken over the Presidential Records Act case, including the unprecedented, unnecessary, and unannounced FBI/DOJ raid (break-in!) of my home, Mar-a-Lago. This aggression was committed for political purposes just before the midterm elections (and 2024, of course!),” he said in the article. “It’s a disgrace to our now Third World nation!”
Cannon’s two-page decision came a day after the The Department of Justice released the heavily redacted affidavit used to get a judge to approve the search for classified documents from Trump’s estate.
The FBI said in the 38-page document that the raid was justified because a review of boxes of documents the National Archives and Records Administration removed from Mar-a-Lago in January revealed sensitive material.
Some of them were marked “HCS”, an abbreviation for the HUMINT Control System, which refers to highly classified government measures used to “protect intelligence information from clandestine human sources”.
Of the 184 classified documents recovered, 25 were marked top secret, 92 were labeled secret and another 67 were confidential, the affidavit states.