In a new filing, the Department of Justice has provided a response to former president Donald Trump’s request for the appointment of a special master in connection with seized documents retrieved during a Mar-a-Lago search. The filing, most notably, also provides a detailed look into the alleged nature of those documents, as well as includes a photo of classified materials authorities said were among those seized during the FBI search earlier this month.
As laid out in the filing, which was obtained and shared by the Associated Press and others overnight, the FBI earlier this year determined that the response from Trump’s legal team to a grand jury subpoena had been “incomplete,” suggesting that merely searching a specific storage would not have resulted in the discovery of all the classified materials at the location in question.
“The government also developed evidence that government records were likely concealed and removed from the Storage Room and that efforts were likely taken to obstruct the government’s investigation,” the filing states.
These findings are what led to the eventual search-and-seizure warrant, which included an area of the estate known as the “45 Office,” in addition to multiple storage rooms and various other areas of the premises. All told, the execution of the search warrant at Mar-a-Lago on Aug. 8 ultimately saw the government seizing a total of 33 boxes, containers, or other evidence pieces. Included among them, the DOJ said Tuesday, were more than 100 classified records, some of which dealt with material of the “highest levels” of classification.
As for Trump’s special master request and push to have documents returned to him, the DOJ notes in this new filing that “complete ownership” of such materials falls under the domain of the government, not the individual. Furthermore, enlisting a special master in this case has the potential to, in their words, have a negative effect on the ongoing investigation and is not appropriate in this case.
As previously reported, Trump has attempted to paint the search of his Mar-a-Lago property as “an attack by Radical Left Democrats” (capitalization his) ahead of the 2024 presidential election.