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Trump And His Team Likely Concealed Classified Documents, DOJ Filing Alleges

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The FBIs search of Donald Trumps Mar-A-Lago residence was completed following the Justice Department obtained evidence that classified government documents were hidden or moved by the former president and his aides despite their previous assurances that such material have been returned, the DOJ disclosed in a court filing on Tuesday night.

This image within a court filing by the Department of Justice and redacted by partly by the … [+] FBI, shows an image of documents seized through the Aug. 8 search by the FBI of former President Donald Trump’s MarALago estate in Florida.

Associated Press

KEY POINTS

Attorneys for the DOJ were giving an answer to Trumps lawsuit wanting to assign an unbiased special masteror a court-appointed third-partyto search for any privileged information in the documents that FBI agents seized from Mar-A-Lago earlier this month, rather than counting on a filter team of DOJ investigators.

Based on the filing, the Mar-A-Lago search was completed after prosecutors suspected that sensitive government materials were likely concealed or removed in a possible try to obstruct the governments investigation.

The 36-page filing also disclosed that the FBIs search recovered a lot more than 100 documents which were marked classified, including three documents from desks in Trumps office.

Thats a lot more than twice the quantity of classified documents that Trumps attorneys returned in June in reaction to a DOJ subpoenadespite his attorney claiming in a sworn legal document that those were all of the remaining documents they found carrying out a diligent search.

The filing came following the DOJ said Monday a filter team had already reviewed all of the documents and identified a restricted group of materials which may be included in attorney-client privilege.

The DOJ in addition has released a redacted image showing a few of the documents seized from Mar-A-Lago with most of them carrying Secret and ” INSIDE INFO ” markings.

Chief Critic

Trump criticized the redacted image in the DOJs filing in a post on his social networking Truth Social on Wednesday, saying, Terrible what sort of FBI … threw documents haphazardly all around the floor (perhaps pretending it had been me that achieved it!), and started capturing of these for the general public to see. The ex-president also said it had been lucky I declassified the documents, regardless of the DOJ noting in its filing that neither the president nor his legal team ever told federal investigators the documents have been declassified.

WHAT THINGS TO WATCH OUT FOR

Trumps team must answer the DOJs filing by Wednesday, and a hearing will need put on Thursday to find out whether a particular master ought to be appointed. U.S. District Judge Aileen M. Cannon, a Trump appointee, said in a court filing on the weekend it really is her preliminary intent to order a particular master. Its unclear whether her thinking changed following the DOJ said it had already reviewed all the Mar-A-Lago documents and separated out privileged material itself, though, as which could render the necessity for a particular master moot.

What We Dont Know

How Trumps special master request will affect the DOJs investigation. The NY Times notes the ex-president could possibly be utilizing the request as a delay tactic to stall the FBIs efforts to undergo the documents, which can work if Cannon sides with him and orders a particular master, particularly if the DOJ then appeals the case to an increased court and the legal proceedings drag out. Trump can be attempting to shield documents he believes are included in executive privilege, despite the fact that the National Archives has told Trumps attorneys it determined executive privilege doesnt apply in cases like this. If the court sides with Trump and allows documents to be withheld because of executive privilege, it might affect the scope of documents the DOJ reviews, though legal experts told the Times thats unlikely.

Key Background

Trumps attorneys asked for a particular master on August 22, fourteen days after FBI officials searched Mar-A-Lago regarding the a continuing probe into White House documents Trump cut back with him to his Florida estate. In accordance with a search warrant and affidavit which have been unsealed in the event, federal investigators have recovered a huge selection of White House documents from Mar-A-Lago which are the house of the National Archives, including classified and top-secret materials possibly stored within an unauthorized area. The federal government is investigating whether Trump violated three federal statutes by allegedly mishandling the documents, like the Espionage Act, and the DOJ said Monday any office of the Director of National Intelligence is reviewing the seized documents to measure the national risk of security they pose. The August search at Mar-A-Lago came after Trump gave the National Archives 15 boxes of documents in January, following months of reportedly refusing to take action.

Tangent

Trumps obtain a particular master marked the initial legal action he and his attorneys took because the FBI search. His attorneys initial filing with the court was widely criticized as insufficient by legal experts, however, and the judge made his legal team submit another motion the other day that more adequately explained their legal reasoning and what relief these were seeking.

Further Reading

Trump Legal Watch: DOJ Unseals Mar-A-Lago Affidavit As Ex-President Pleads For Special Master (Forbes)

Trump Asks Judge To Appoint Special Master TO EXAMINE Seized Mar-A-Lago Records (Forbes)

DOJ Releases Redacted Mar-A-Lago Search Affidavit Heres What It Says (Forbes)

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