Former President Donald Trump has not been shy in voicing his concerns about the fidelity of the FBI and the Department of Justice. In early August, 32 FBI agents raided Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home and seized thousands of documents and personal items — some of which were marked “classified” or “top secret.”
Trump’s legal team claims the former President declassified the documents before he left office in January 2021 and that the seizure of documents represents a violation of Trump’s civil rights.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) contested that view and has demanded unfettered access to review items the FBI seized.
Judge Aileen Cannon sided with Trump and supported his request to have a special master appointed to review the documents to determine what items, if any, the FBI could review.
According to the Washington Examiner, the DOJ has urged a federal appeals panel to “terminate the use of a special master tasked to review thousands of documents seized by the FBI.”
In advance of Tuesday afternoon’s U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit hearing to consider the DOJ’s request, Trump’s attorneys filed a motion with Cannon requesting that she unseal the affidavit that accompanied the search warrant at his estate, Mar-a-Lago.
Some contend that the affidavit will cast the DOJ in a negative light — noting there was insufficient cause to authorize the raid, that Biden administration officials were aware of and complicit in planning the raid — something the White House has denied– and that the raid was politically motivated.
The Examiner report noted that “it’s not immediately clear whether the request is in Cannon’s purview.”
Regarding giving the FBI access to all documents taken from the former president’s home office, Trump’s attorneys argue that the FBI, in violation of proper procedure, has leaked information in the past and could potentially leak personal and sensitive information to the press or to officials investigating other matters.
An excerpt from Trump’s Tuesday morning filing read:
“With DOJ and some state officials engaging in various efforts to investigate President Trump, the search smacks of pretextual conduct with hopes of feeding personal documents to prosecutors or agents who might find use for them in unrelated pursuits.”
A heavily redacted version of the affidavit was made public per the request of Trump’s legal team and over objections from the FBI.
Trump’s attorneys have noted that it is imperative they be allowed to review the full affidavit to determine whether “the Fourth Amendment was respected, intentionally subverted, or recklessly violated by a DOJ bent on getting its nose under the Mar-a-Lago tent.”
The judges who will determine whether or not a special master should continue his work of reviewing documents seized by the FBI are Chief Judge William Pryor, Judge Britt Grant and Judge Andrew Brasher.
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