Former President Donald Trump’s legal team claimed Wednesday the FBI should have expected to find “sensitive” documents during the raid on his Florida estate.
The acknowledgement was made in a new legal filing that also argued the seized materials from Mar-a-Lago were no “cause for alarm” and said the National Archives and Records Administration should have “simply followed up … in a good faith effort to secure” the more than 100 classified documents found in the raid.
The document filed in the Southern District of Florida ahead of a Thursday hearing on Trump’s appeal for special master to review documents seized from his Florida home also predicted federal prosecutors would “impugn, leak and publicize” details of the investigation against him if left unsupervised.
The feds on Tuesday had rejected Trump’s request to delegate the investigation to an authorized third party in the interests of national security, adding “that efforts were likely taken to obstruct the government’s investigation” and documents were “likely concealed and removed” from Mar-a-Lago ahead of the raid.
The DOJ filing also noted that some of the seized documents were marked top secret, or “TS/SCI,” and said FBI and federal prosecutors “required additional clearances” before they were allowed to review them.
Trump’s team on Wednesday blamed the discovery of the classified materials on the Biden administration’s failure to allow the former president to “assert executive privilege” and said the former president’s Fourth Amendment rights were violated during the Aug. 8 raid.
His lawyers also said the search warrant used to conduct the raid wrongfully suggested “the applicability of the Espionage Act.”
The DOJ has said Trump’s team misled them into believing all of his presidential documents were accounted for in June after a “diligent search.”
Prosecutors had already identified and reviewed materials that “potentially contain attorney-client privileged information,” in response to Trump’s request to have a special master weigh in on issues of privilege, the DOJ said Tuesday.
Trump lawyers Wednesday contended that the former president “continues to have rights related to the assertion of executive privilege.”