FBI seized Trump attorney-client protected records, DOJ opposes independent review request: sources

Among the boxes removed from Mar-a-Lago by the FBI are records that are shielded by attorney-client privilege and, possibly, executive privilege, and the Department of Justice (DOJ) has opposed a request from former President Donald Trump’s lawyer to appoint an independent, special master to review them.

These are the claims made to Fox News on Saturday by sources familiar with the investigation, who say that Trump’s team was told “that boxes labeled A-14, A-26, A-43, A-13, A-33, and a set of documents—all seen on the final page of the FBI’s property receipt —contained information covered by attorney-client privilege.”

The attorney-client privilege issue prompted the request for an outside review, the sources told Fox News.

“Trump’s team asked the Justice Department for their position on whether they would support a third party, independent special master to review those records, but sources told Fox News that the DOJ notified Trump’s team that they would oppose that request,” the network reported.

As BizPac Review reported, prior to the unsealing of the search warrant and property receipt from Monday’s unprecedented raid by Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart on Friday afternoon, the Washington Post claimed that the FBI was looking for classified documents related to nuclear weapons.

President Trump immediately called the raid “unAmerican, unwarranted, and unnecessary” and encouraged “the immediate release” of documents related to the search and seizure of boxes in his Palm Beach home.

Trump has stated that he had declassified any records in his possession prior to leaving office.

The warrant was signed by Reinhart, who had to recuse himself from Trump’s lawsuit against Hillary Clinton, on Aug. 5 and gave the FBI the green light to raid Mar-a-Lago “on or before August 19, 2022,” during the hours of 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., Fox reports.

“The locations to be searched include the ‘45 Office,’ all storage rooms, and all other rooms or areas within the premises used or available to be used by FPOTUS and his staff and in which boxes or documents could be stored, including all structures or buildings on the estate,” according to the warrant, which stopped short of allowing the FBI to search areas of the estate that are occupied by Mar-a-Lago members or those areas not used by Trump and his staff.

Agents were given the authority to seize “all physical documents and records constituting evidence, contraband, fruits of crime, or other items illegally possessed” in violation of U.S. Code. This included presidential records created between Jan 20, 2017, and Jan. 20, 2021, and documents with classification markings.

The property receipt reveals that approximately 20 boxes were removed from the estate, including a set of documents marked as “Various classified/TS/SCI documents” — designations that refer to “top secret/sensitive compartmented information,” according to Fox.

“Records covered by that government classification level could include human intelligence and information that, if disclosed, could jeopardize relations between the United States and other nations, as well as the lives of intelligence operatives abroad,” Fox News writes. “However, the classification also encompasses national security information related to the daily operations of the president of the United States.”

This spring, “a custodian of the president” in Trump’s office was subpoenaed for classified documents the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) alleges were improperly taken by Trump when he left Washington D.C. for Mar-a-Lago, and according to Fox’s source, Trump has been cooperating with the investigation for a year.

The FBI turned up at Mar-a-Lago on June 3 to retrieve the requested documents and, with Trump’s cooperation, they toured the area in which some of the documents were being kept. A small amount of material was taken at that time, and the FBI asked the staff to put a lock on the storage room door, which they did.

Fox’s source questioned whether or not Reinhart knew of Trump’s “past compliance with the subpoena” and noted that, were the FBI seeking additional documents, all they had to do was issue another subpoena.

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