Meanwhile, the Justice Department has been ordered to explain its motives for raiding the former president’s estate.
Former US President Donald Trump filed a lawsuit Monday to block the FBI from examining documents its agents seized during a raid on his Mar-a-Lago residence until an outside monitor can be appointed. Trump described the raid as “illegal and unconstitutional”.
The suit seeks the appointment of a “special master” to review material seized by the FBI and determine whether it is protected by presidential or attorney-client privilege before the agency can begin examining it. Trump’s legal team also requested that the Justice Department provide a detailed inventory of seized materials and return anything outside the scope of the search warrant.
Dozens of FBI agents raided Trump’s Palm Beach estate earlier this month, in an operation purportedly aimed at recovering classified documents Trump seized from the White House in 2021.
“To date, the government has failed to legitimize its historic decision to raid the home of a president who had fully cooperated,” the presentation said. Describing the raid as “surprisingly aggressive” the document states that Trump is “the clear favorite in the 2024 Republican presidential primaries”, echoing the former president’s insistence that the raid was politically motivated.
Attorney General Merrick Garland has released the search warrant used by the FBI to enter Trump’s home, but the Justice Department has fought to keep the affidavit, used to establish probable cause and obtain the warrant, sealed. The Florida judge who approved the order gave the Justice Department until Thursday to release a redacted version.
While it’s unclear what was actually recovered in the search, the New York Times reported Monday that a total of 300 documents with classified markings were recovered from Mar-a-Lago: 150 turned over by Trump in January and another 150 already offered. by Trump in June or seized in the raid this month.
The Times article was attributed in part to Maggie Haberman, a journalist who has claimed since 2021 that Trump illegally handled sensitive documents after leaving Washington. Haberman has previously been described by the Hillary Clinton campaign as a “journalist friend” who had been hired for “Tee Up Stories” beneficial to Democrats.
Trump views the raid and Haberman’s reporting on his alleged crimes as a Democrat-led operation to prevent him from running for office again in 2024.
“This search, search and seizure of Mar-a-Lago was illegal and unconstitutional, and we are taking all necessary steps to recover the documents, which we would have given them without the need for the despicable search of my house. ,” he said in a statement Monday.