Justice Dept. alleges “obstructive conduct” occurred at Mar-a-Lago after request for classified documents

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Washington – The Justice Department filed a 36-page response late Tuesday night to former President Donald Trump’s request for a federal judge to appoint a third party to search the seized documents at his Florida residence. The administration alleges “obstructive behavior” took place in Mar-a-Lago after Trump’s legal team allegedly attempted to hide or remove certain data from investigators in the months leading up to the August 8 search.

In the filing, federal prosecutors argued that Trump’s request for a special master to review the records seized in the search “fails for multiple, independent reasons,” and they accused the former president of expressing “broad , undeserved allegations” against the US government in the motion he filed last week.

The appointment of a special captain, they said, “is unnecessary and would significantly harm important government interests, including national security interests.”

Among the files filed with the court is an edited FBI photo — taken during the Aug. 8 search of Mar-a-Lago, the Justice Department said — of records recovered in a container in Trump’s office containing cover sheets for secret information marked “SECRET//SCI” and “TOP SECRET//SCI.” The documents are next to a container that includes a framed Time magazine cover.

On the cover pages the message “Contains sensitive compartmentalized information up to HCS-P/SI/TK” is visible.

secret-documents.png
Photo filed Aug. 30. Justice Department report that appears to have been taken during the Aug. 8 Mar-a-Lago search, showing records scattered across a floor with cover pages for classified information marked “SECRET//SCI” and “TOP SECRET//SCI.”

US government photo


Federal prosecutors told the court that in some cases, “even the FBI counterintelligence personnel and DOJ attorneys conducting the audit” of the documents seized during this month’s search required additional permissions before they could view certain documents. , suggesting that they found the documents extremely bad. sensitive.

In a post on his social media platform Truth Social, Trump claimed he released the records shown in the photo from the FBI. However, the Justice Department said Trump’s representatives never “claimed that the former president released the documents or made any claim for executive privilege.”

“Awful way that during the Mar-a-Lago raid the FBI tossed documents indiscriminately (perhaps pretending it was me who did it!), then started taking pictures of them for the public to see,” Trump wrote on Wednesday. ‘Did you think they wanted them to be a secret? Luckily I declassified!’

His legal team also has until 8 p.m. Wednesday to submit its own response to the court.

Investigators are investigating Trump’s alleged mishandling of classified documents, especially records he took from the White House to his residence in Mar-a-Lago when he left office in January 2021, as well as possible obstruction of the investigation.

The Justice Department revealed on Friday that earlier this year investigators had found 184 unique documents with classification markings — including 67 documents marked as confidential, 92 documents marked as secret and 25 documents marked as top secret — in material the National Archives and Records Administration initially placed in the archives. gathered in the midst of Trump. -January. The Archives later referred the case to the Department of Justice for further investigation.

In their latest file, federal prosecutors said the FBI has developed “evidence” in the course of the investigation indicating that in addition to the 15 boxes retrieved by the archives in mid-January, “dozens of additional boxes” likely contain classified information, are left behind. at Mar-a-Lago.

To retrieve those additional classified documents, the Justice Department was subpoenaed by the grand jury, and on June 3, three FBI agents and a Justice Department attorney visited Mar-a-Lago to get the material, according to the report. Tuesday submission. The officials received from Trump representatives a “single Redweld envelope double wrapped in tape,” prosecutors said. Trump had previously claimed he “voluntarily” accepted the subpoena and later invited investigators to Florida for the June 3 meeting.

According to the Justice Department’s response, an unidentified individual characterized as the “keeper of records” for Trump’s post-presidential office provided federal law enforcement with a signed acknowledgment of receipt on June 3 stating that a “diligent investigation” was conducted into boxes brought from the White House to Mar-a-Lago and that “all” documents responding to the grand jury subpoena were turned over.

Records brought from the White House to Mar-a-Lago were stored in one location, a Trump attorney who attended to federal officials on June 3 told a storage facility on the property, the Justice Department said in its response. . A preliminary review of the documents conducted by the FBI revealed that the envelope contained “38 unique documents with classification markings, including 5 documents marked CONFIDENTIAL, 16 documents marked SECRET, and 17 documents marked TOP SECRET.”

“Former president’s counsel gave no explanation as to why boxes of government documents, including 38 documents with classification markings, were nearly five months after the production of the Fifteen Boxes and almost a year and a half after the administration ended,” Justice Department lawyers said. against the court.

But after the June 3 meeting in Mar-a-Lago, the FBI claimed, according to the response, that it had discovered “multiple sources of evidence” suggesting that more classified documents had been left at the property and that a search of the storage space “wouldn’t work”. have discovered all classified documents in the property.” Prosecutors added, “the government has also developed evidence that government documents were likely hidden and removed from storage and that attempts were likely made to obstruct the government’s investigation.”

Against that background, the Justice Department requested a search warrant from a federal magistrate earlier this month, prosecutors said. During the Aug. 8 search of Mar-a-Lago’s home, federal agents seized 33 boxes, containers or “evidence” containing more than 100 classified records, including information classified at the “highest levels” according to the filing. Three classified documents were reportedly found in desks in Trump’s “45 Office” and also seized by the FBI.

Of the items seized by federal agents, 13 boxes or containers had documents with classification markings, some of which had colored cover sheets indicating their classification status — the photo of which was submitted to the court in an additional filing.

“That the FBI has recovered twice as many documents with classification markings in hours as the ‘diligent search’ that counsel for the former president and other representatives had for weeks to seriously question the statements in the June 3 certification and raises doubts.” about the degree of cooperation in this matter,” the filing said.

Following the execution of a search warrant at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort earlier this month, the former president filed a lawsuit asking a federal judge to appoint a special master to examine the materials and find all privileged or unrelated documents that are not within the scope of the court-authorized order.

Last week, Judge Aileen Cannon of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida asked the Justice Department to clarify its opinion on Trump’s request, setting a Tuesday deadline for the administration’s response. She also ordered the department to submit a more detailed list of all property seized during the execution of the Mar-a-Lago search warrant, although that document, which was also due to be filed Tuesday, included seal would be filed.

In an order issued Saturday, before the Justice Department responded to Trump’s motion, Cannon shared her “intentions” to appoint a special master, although her decision was not final. A hearing is scheduled for Thursday afternoon at Trump’s request.

On Monday, prosecutors said in a separate court filing that investigators had already completed their search for potentially privileged information and a “limited” set of documents that can be considered protected under the attorney-client privilege.

For his part, the former president has denied doing anything wrong, claiming without evidence that the investigation is a politically motivated attack as he prepares for a possible presidential run in 2024.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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