A judge earlier indicated that she was inclined to grant the Trump legal team’s request for a special master to oversee the review of documents taken by the FBI from Mar-a-Lago to protect documents covered by attorney-client privilege
The Justice Department has completed its review of potentially privileged documents seized from former president Donald Trump’s Florida estate this month and has identified “a limited set of materials that potentially contain attorney-client privileged information.”
The filing from the department on Monday follows a judge’s weekend order indicating that she was inclined to grant the Trump legal team’s request for a special master who would oversee the review of documents taken during the August 8 search of the Mar-a-Lago estate and ensure that any that might be protected by claims of legal privilege be set aside.
In revealing that the department had completed its review of potentially privileged communications, law enforcement officials appeared to be suggesting that the appointment of a third-party special master might now be moot. The department had been relying on a specialised team to filter out potentially privileged communications and said Monday that it had completed its review of those materials before the judge’s order.
The Justice Department on Friday disclosed that it was investigating Trump for removing White House records because it believed he illegally held documents including some involving intelligence-gathering and clandestine human sources – among America’s most closely held secrets.
US District Judge Aileen Cannon said on Saturday that it was her “preliminary intent” to appoint a special master — which would be an early procedural win for the Trump legal team — but gave the department an opportunity to respond and scheduled a Thursday hearing to discuss the matter further.
The judge also directed the Justice Department to submit under seal a more detailed description of the materials that were seized from Trump’s estate in Palm Beach, something the department on Monday said it would do.
White House supports review of content from Trump home
The White House on Monday said it is “appropriate” that the US intelligence community is reviewing potential national security risks if Trump took ultra-sensitive material to his residence after his term ended.
The White House is not involved in that probe of materials recovered during a search of Trump’s Florida residence, the Biden administration said.
National Intelligence Director (DNI) Avril Haines said in a letter to lawmakers on Friday that her office is working with the Justice Department to “facilitate a classification review” of documents including those recovered during the August 8 search.
In the letter to lawmakers, Haines said that DNI “will also lead an Intelligence Community (IC) assessment of the potential risk to national security that would result from the disclosure of the relevant documents” including those seized. She said the DNI was aiming not to interfere with the ongoing criminal investigation.
The FBI’s extraordinary search of Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach ended with the seizure of 11 sets of classified records including some labelled “top secret” as documents that could gravely threaten national security if exposed.
The search was part of a federal investigation into whether Trump illegally removed and kept documents when he left office in January 2021 after losing the 2020 election to President Joe Biden and whether Trump tried to obstruct the probe.
READ MORE: Explainer: Why is Trump facing a presidential records probe?
Source: TRTWorld and agencies