Slowly but surely, information casting a dark light on the Biden administration and Department of Justice (DOJ) is coming out. The White House was aware of the raid and had been communicating with the FBI on the matter for months, and today the DOJ admitted in a court filing that they wrongly seized documents “potentially contain[ing] attorney-client privileged information” when they raided former President Trump’s home, Mar-a-Lago, in Palm Beach, Florida.
The raid, which has been called “unprecedented” and a “witch hunt,” took place on August 8. Trump claims his civil rights were abridged and has threatened to respond with a “monumental Fourth Amendment lawsuit.”
Amid tremendous criticism of the warrant and how the FBI managed the search, U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon is considering Trump’s demand that the case be reviewed by a “special master.”
Friday’s release of a heavily redacted affidavit reportedly justifying the raid has been roundly criticized as evidence of a lack of transparency on behalf of the FBI and the court, overseen by Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart who signed off on the warrant to search Trump’s home.
In a companion document released along with the heavily redacted affidavit on Friday, the DOJ explained the need for its proposed redactions to the court. Those explanations were also heavily redacted.
In a vague statement, the DOJ acknowledged receipt of “potentially … attorney-client privileged information” and that it would follow “procedures … to address potential privilege disputes.” The DOJ did not specify how or when.
“Although the government will provide the Court more detail in its forthcoming supplemental filing, the government notes that, before the Court issued its Preliminary Order, and in accordance with the judicially authorized search warrant’s provisions, the [FBI] Privilege Review Team … identified a limited set of materials that potentially contain attorney-client privileged information, completed its review of those materials, and is in the process of following the procedures set forth in paragraph 84 of the search warrant affidavit to address potential privilege disputes, if any,” the DOJ filing said.
On Saturday, Cannon appeared inclined to appoint a special master, noting she had “preliminary intent” to honor Trump’s request.
Trump has demanded the DOJ provide the court with a detailed list of the material seized in the raid. The DOJ said the list of seized material would be filed under seal and unavailable to the public. Trump has threatened a suit to force transparency.
It is unclear how the DOJ will respond to the Tuesday deadline to file the documents or if the court will allow the records to be available for public inspection.
On August 22, Trump filed his first suit against the federal government in the connection with the FBI raid. The suit notes that the raid on the former president’s home “appears to be motivated by politics rather than law and order.”
“[T]he Government has failed to legitimize its historic decision,” the suit says, adding that Attorney General Merrick Garland took the “unheard-of step” of holding a press conference over the raid and agreeing to release part of the search warrant application, reported to the Daily Wire.
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