Trump’s FBI raid: DOJ files response on possible appointment of ‘special master’ for Mar-a-Lago documents
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The Department of Justice (DOJ) filed its response Tuesday opposing the appointment of a “special master” to review documents seized from former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate.
The department argued in the filing that Trump’s request for a special master’s order “fails for multiple independent reasons,” saying it is “unnecessary” and would “harm national security interests.”
FBI agents raided Trump’s property earlier this month as part of an investigation into whether Trump illegally possessed documents related to national security at his private residence.
Attorney General Merrick Garland said he approved the raid himself and that the DOJ “did not make a similar decision likely.” Trump has attacked the raid as politically motivated, which was the basis for his request for an independent review, through a “special master,” of the documents the FBI took from his home.
JUSTICE DEPARTMENT TELLS JUDGE IT HAS ALREADY REVIEWED TRUMP DOCUMENTS
“Politics cannot be allowed to affect the administration of justice. President Donald J. Trump is the clear favorite in the 2024 Republican presidential primary and the 2024 general election, should he choose to run,” the lawyers wrote of Trump to his request last week. “Law enforcement is a shield that protects Americans. It cannot be used as a weapon for political purposes.”
Tuesday’s Justice Department filing comes after the federal judge in Florida overseeing the case, Aileen M. Cannon, indicated on Saturday her “preliminary intention” to grant Trump’s request for a special master’s order. It also comes ahead of a hearing scheduled for Thursday on Trump’s motion.
JUDGE ANNOUNCES ‘PRELIMINARY INTENT TO APPOINT SPECIAL MASTER’ TO REVIEW TRUMP RECORDS SEIZED BY FBI
Cannon has yet to grant Trump’s other request: to bar the government from reviewing materials it has seized from Trump’s property until a special master is appointed. That means the DOJ can continue to review the documents in the meantime, which it said it will do in a separate filing Monday.
The government initiated the search in response to what it believed to be a violation of federal laws: 18 USC 793: Collection, Transmission, or Loss of Defense Information; 18 USC 2071 — concealment, removal or mutilation; and 18 USC 1519: destruction, alteration, or falsification of records in federal investigations.
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Trump and his lawyers, meanwhile, say the documents were brought to his home while he was president and that he ordered them declassified under the broad authority he says is given to the president.
This is a developing story, please check back for updates.
Fox News’ Brooke Singman, David Spunt, Ronn Blitzer and Jake Gibson contributed to this report,