Former President Trump’s complaints of government overreach in the Mar-A-Lago records controversy have been vindicated by the Justice Department, which just admitted in court that it made critical errors when it seized “privileged” material during the unprecedented raid of Trump’s home.
The DOJ said it took boxes of possibly privileged material, some of which had been improperly observed by investigators, the Washington Examiner reported.
Feds seized privileged material
The new details surfaced in an August court filing just unsealed in the case before Judge Aileen Cannon, who appointed an outside “special master” to bring some oversight to the DOJ’s aggressive probe.
In the filing, the DOJ admits that case agents saw a list of Trump’s phone calls and a “document on Morgan Lewis letterhead commingled with newspapers.” Both documents had apparently been missed by the “filter team” tasked with separating privileged material from the investigation.
The list of Trump’s calls came marked with the Presidential Seal and had “handwritten names, numbers, and notes that primarily appear to be messages, as well as several pages of miscellaneous notes.”
Seven boxes of screened materials were sent to the FBI’s Washington field office and kept separate from investigators “in a secret room to which the Case Team did not (and does not) have access” — hardly a reassuring statement given the DOJ’s flagrant leaks to the media.
One of the boxes contained “the entire contents of a single drawer” in Trump’s home office, the DOJ said.
The government defended its intrusive search, saying most of the potentially privileged material it seized does not “appear” to be privileged. They conceded some “closer calls” including a communication with a White House government e-mail account and a message from “Rudy,” possibly Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani.
The admissions appear to blow a hole in the government’s “just trust us” mantra, which Judge Cannon has consistently rejected, saying the criminal probe of a former president is an extraordinary scenario that merits careful judicial oversight.
Cannon has been excoriated as a Trump sycophant in the state-run liberal media, as the DOJ continues to push against any limits on the scope or speed of its probe.
The government is fighting to have the special master dismissed altogether, saying his review isn’t needed and is obstructing the investigation despite the DOJ recently winning access to 100 or so classified files. The department says it still needs to see thousands of non-classified files that are under review.
Trump on Tuesday asked the Supreme Court to intervene, citing the “unprecedented circumstances presented by this case—an investigation of the Forty-Fifth President of the United States by the administration of his political rival and successor.”