DOJ tells judge Trump is not 'entitled’ to Mar-a-Lago special master — and reveals key picture
Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago (Photo via the White House)

The Justice Department filed its response to former President Donald Trump's request to appoint a court-appointed representative to sift through the documents taken from his golf course in Palm Beach to ensure there is no "privileged" information.

In the 36-page filing, the DOJ argued Trump's case should not be heard but that he would lose even if it were allowed. The filing included 18-pages of exhibits.

The DOJ argued that Trump's "filings present three issues: whether [Trump] is currently entitled to the return of any property, to injunctive relief, and to the appointment of a special master. Not only does [Trump] lack standing to raise these claims at this juncture, but even if his claims were properly raised, [Trump] would not be entitled to the relief he seeks."

DOJ included a picture showing documents seized with highly classified markings, Politico's Kyle Cheney reported.

DOJ picture of documents seized at Mar-a-Lago.


"And if you look closely, you can see the HCS marking for human source intelligence," Cheney noted.

DOJ strongly suggested they were also focused on obstruction of justice.

“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,” DOJ argued. “That the FBI, in a matter of hours, recovered twice as many documents with classification markings as the ‘diligent search’ that the former President’s counsel and other representatives had weeks to perform calls into serious question the representations made in the June 3 certification and casts doubt on the extent of cooperation in this matter."

The FBI used what is referred to as a "filter team," in which a group of staffers unaffiliated with the DOJ prosecution team can sift through the information and pull out anything that could violate attorney/client privilege. Trump has conflated attorney/client privilege with executive privilege, which he no longer enjoys as he isn't the executive.

According to the Justice Department, the filter team has already gone through everything and categorized the privileged information. Documents that were classified or top secret have already been taken to the appropriate agency.

The "Special Master" that Trump has requested would be for attorney/client privilege. There isn't any kind of case law surrounding the FBI sifting through "executive privilege," but lawsuits involving such privilege typically go through Washington, D.C. courts since that's where the Office of the Executive is located.

Several of the U.S. Circuit courts have made rulings about filter teams and whether they have the power to go through privileged documents. In Trump's case, however, he didn't file an injunction to stop the FBI from sifting through the documents. In fact, Trump didn't even file anything for over two weeks after the search warrant was executed. Once Trump's lawyers did file something it was so poorly done that they were ridiculed by lawyers across the country.

Months ago, Attorney General Merrick Garland has said that under his leadership the Justice Department will only speak through action and its court filings.

The judge presiding over the case, Aileen Cannon, was appointed by Trump after he lost the election. Before the DOJ had an opportunity to pitch their case, Judge Cannon indicated that she'd be finding for Trump in the matter.

Already Trump's classified information is causing international problems for the United States and its relationship with France.