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Former President Donald Trump wants some satisfaction regarding the FBI’s recent raid of his Mar-a-Lago estate.
According to reports Monday afternoon, Trump plans to ask a federal court for an independent third-party review of documents taken from his Palm Beach, Fla., residence by the FBI earlier this month following an hours-long search.
“The request for a so-called special master to review the documents could be filed as soon as Monday in Florida, the person said, requesting anonymity because the matter isn’t public. Trump also plans to ask for a court order requiring the Department of Justice to provide more details about the property that was seized and to return materials that weren’t covered by the warrant, the person said,” Bloomberg News reported.
The outlet continued:
Trump had previously asserted that some of the records taken from his Mar-a-Lago resort were protected by attorney-client privilege.
Federal Bureau of Investigation agents carted away about 20 boxes containing 11 sets of classified documents — some of them labeled top secret — following the Aug. 8 search. Trump’s passports have already been returned, and it’s unclear what documents the former president claims are protected by the privilege.
Trump spokesman Taylor Budowich didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment. Christina Bobb, one of his lawyers in the search warrant case, also didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Meanwhile, earlier in the day, U.S. Magistrate Bruce Reinhart, the judge who approved the FBI’s search warrant, rejected an argument from the Department of Justice and admitted the FBI’s raid on former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate was “unprecedented.”
In a Monday morning filing, Reinhart rejected the Justice Department’s argument to keep the affidavit “sealed,” citing the “intense public and historical interest.”
Reinhart wrote that he rejects “the Government’s argument that the present record justifies keeping the entire Affidavit under seal.”
“The Government argues that even requiring it to redact portions of the Affidavit that could not reveal agent identities or investigative sources and methods imposes an undue burden on its resources and sets a precedent that could be disruptive and burdensome in future cases,” Reinhart wrote. “I do not need to reach the question of whether, in some other case, these concerns could justify denying public access; they very well might.”
He added: “Particularly given the intense public and historical interest in an unprecedented search of a former President’s residence, the Government has not yet shown that these administrative concerns are sufficient to justify sealing.”
Reinhart said he has given the Justice Department an “opportunity to propose redactions if I declined to seal the entire Affidavit,” something he granted last week, giving the government a deadline of Thursday, Aug. 25 at noon.
“Accordingly, it is hereby ORDERED that by the deadline, the Government shall file under seal a submission addressing possible redactions and providing any additional evidence or legal argument that the Government believes relevant to the pending Motions to Unseal,” the motion states.
BREAKING NEWS: Reinhart formally rejects DOJ argument to keep Trump affidavit sealed, calls raid 'unprecedented' https://t.co/NVlEhbFuCv
— Fox News (@FoxNews) August 22, 2022
During the highly anticipated hearing in the West Palm Beach Division of Florida last Thursday, Reinhart said he will unseal some of the procedural filings currently under seal on the search warrant docket.
“I am not prepared to find that the affidavit should be fully sealed,” the judge said, meaning that, at minimum, some of the affidavit will be revealed.
“According to the judge’s comments, the filings are the Department of Justice’s motion to seal the warrant documents, the order granting that sealing request, and the criminal cover sheet,” CNN reported.
Jay Bratt, a Justice Department lawyer, argued that allowing the public to read the affidavit would “provide a roadmap to the investigation,” and would indicate the next steps in the probe.
“In this case, the court has found probable cause there’s a violation of one of the obstruction statutes, and that evidence of obstruction would be found at Mar-a-Lago” said Jay Bratt, who heads the Justice Department’s counterintelligence section.
The “public has a ‘clear and powerful’ interest in understanding the unprecedented investigation in former President Donald J. Trump’s handling of classified records,” the media organizations, including CNN, the New York Times, and the Washington Post, said.
The Department of Justice argued that the affidavit should stay sealed.