The U.S. Department of Justice released a filing responding to former President Trump’s request a special master be appointed to review materials obtained from the FBI’s recent Mar-a-Lago raid.
“Politics cannot be allowed to impact the administration of justice. President Donald J. Trump is the clear frontrunner in the 2024 Republican Presidential Primary and in the 2024 General Election, should he decide to run,” Trump’s lawyers wrote in their request. “Law enforcement is a shield that protects Americans. It cannot be used as a weapon for political purposes.”
Through the filing, the DOJ picked apart Trump’s arguments that a special master is required starting with Trump’s assertion the documents had been stored in a secure room on the premises.
The DOJ filing predicted Trump “likely concealed and removed [the documents] from the Storage Room and that efforts were likely taken to obstruct the government’s investigation.”
The filing also noted that the government was able to develop enough evidence to obtain a warrant beyond the storage room which is where more materials were recovered.
Fox News reports:
It continued, “That the FBI, in a matter of hours, recovered twice as many documents with classification markings as the ‘diligent search’ that the former President’s counsel and other representatives had weeks to perform calls into serious question the representations made in the June 3 certification and casts doubt on the extent of cooperation in this matter.”
The DOJ filing also described Trump’s request for a special master as “unnecessary” alleging the move would “harm national security interests.”
“Furthermore, appointment of a special master would impede the government’s ongoing criminal investigation and—if the special master were tasked with reviewing classified documents—would impede the Intelligence Community from conducting its ongoing review of the national security risk that improper storage of these highly sensitive materials may have caused and from identifying measures to rectify or mitigate any damage that improper storage caused,” the filing said. “Lastly, this case does not involve any of the types of circumstances that have warranted appointment of a special master to review materials potentially subject to attorney-client privilege.”
Following the raid, Trump also accused the DOJ of taking personal items such as passports from Mar-a-Lago. However, in the filing, the DOJ noted that personal effects are not subject to be returned due to the fact their “comingling” with sensitive materials serve as evidence the records were improperly stored. (Related: Trump Said FBI ‘Stole’ His Passports, DOJ Admits He’s Right)
“Wow! In the raid by the FBI of Mar-a-Lago, they stole three Passports (one expired), along with everything else,” Trump said in a TRUTH Social statement.
“Of most significant concern was that highly classified records were unfoldered, intermixed with other records, and otherwise unproperly [sic] identified.” Id. (internal quotations omitted). The NARA Referral was made on two bases: evidence that classified records had been stored at the Premises until midJanuary 2022, and evidence that certain pages of Presidential records had been torn up.”
The DOJ’s filing goes on to dissect Trump’s claim that the seized documents were covered by executive privilege.
“The former President cites no case—and the government is aware of none—in which executive privilege has been successfully invoked to prohibit the sharing of documents within the Executive Branch,” it said.
The DOJ filing comes on the heels of Judge Aileen M. Cannon’s statement that she is inclined to grant Trump’s request a special master be appointed to independently review the seized materials. (Related: Judge Signals ‘Preliminary’ Intent to Side with Trump’s Lawyers After Mar-a-Lago Raid)
However, until Judge Cannon officially grants Trump’s request the DOJ is entitled to continue its review of the materials.
A hearing is scheduled on Thursday to review Trump’s motion.
The Department’s filing provides the most complete look into the search and seizure of the Trump-related records yet.