Republican Karl Rove on Wednesday forced a Fox News host to face the fact that Donald Trump took documents that didn't belong to him.
Documents at former US president Donald Trump's Florida home were "likely concealed" to obstruct an FBI probe into his potential mishandling of classified materials, the Justice Department said in a court filing Tuesday.
Before the raid, the FBI uncovered "multiple sources of evidence" showing that "classified documents" remained at Mar-a-Lago, the filing says.
"The government also developed evidence that government records were likely concealed and removed... and that efforts were likely taken to obstruct the government's investigation," the filing adds.
Responding to the latest news, Fox News host Martha MacCallum cited Trump's talking point that the documents seized by the FBI were his and further claimed that he declassified what he took.
"The Trump side has their lawyers and their feelings about what was rightfully his and able to take," MacCallum said.
Rove interrupted: "Well, let's just be clear on this, none of these government documents are his to have taken. I agree with the deputy director, who said that a lot of the former president's problems are of his own creation. You can't — under the Presidential Records Act of 1978 you cannot take original documents with you when you leave the White House. When there is the president of the United States or any of his aides, you know — that's forbidden under the law."
He continued saying that there are no criminal penalties for violating the PRA, but Trump has caused more problems by potentially violating other laws outside of the PRA.
"But why the former president packed up 20 nearly 30 some-odd boxes of material when he had no right to do so," Rove continued. "And that's what the government asserts in this filing that he — the former president asked for the return of the documents because, as he said in his filing, they were created in his administration. And the response from the government was, that's evidence that they aren't his if they were developed in the White House during his time of presidency under the Presidential Records Act. They belong to the government and not to him!"
The DOJ filing responded to Trump's request last week for an independent party, or "special master," to screen files seized in the FBI raid for materials protected by personal privilege.
Naming a special master could potentially block investigators' access to the documents, especially if he or she accepts Trump's claims that most were privileged.
The filing argues that the court should not appoint a special master, "because those records do not belong to (Trump)."
The "appointment of a special master is unnecessary and would significantly harm important governmental interests, including national security interests," the filing adds.
Trump, who is weighing another White House run in 2024, has accused the Justice Department under Democratic President Joe Biden of conducting a "witch hunt" and said the judge "should never have allowed the break-in of my home."
\u201cRove: Let\u2019s be clear on this. None of these documents are his\u201d— Acyn (@Acyn) 1661974810
With additional reporting by AFP
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