During last month’s raid of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-A-Lago residence, the FBI sieved ins excess of 50 folders which were all marked “CLASSFIED.” It has transpired that many of these folders are empty.
A more comprehensive receipt of the removed documents shows that the FBI located 43 empty folders which had classified banners on them in Trump’s office and along with a few more in his storage room.
It remains unclear whether the photo, which was recently posted by the DOF that showed classified folders strewn across the floor included any of the empty “classified” folders.
Federal Judge Aileen Cannon ordered the DOJ to release a comprehensive property receipt during a hearing on Thursday. The first property, which was released not long after the Mar-a-Lago raid, only made vague references to documents, such as “Miscellaneous Top Secret Documents,” and “Various classified/TS/SCI documents.”
The unsealed property receipt showed that the FBI took more than 40 empty folders marked “Return to Staff Secretary/Military Aide.” Some official government documents were found in boxes along with personal items such as newspapers and magazines.
Trump spokesman Taylor Budowich claimed that the newly released property receipt proves that the FBI carried out a “SMASH AND GRAB” of Trump’s documents.
“The new ‘detailed’ inventory list only further proves that this unprecedented and unnecessary raid of President Trump’s home was not some surgical, confined search and retrieval that the Biden administration claims, it was a SMASH AND GRAB,” Budowich tweeted. “These document disputes should be resolved under the Presidential Records Act, which requires cooperation and negotiation by NARA, not an armed FBI raid.”
Judge Cannon also mandated that the DOJ unseal the status report of the team who are investigating Trump’s seized documents. That status report, which was also released on Friday, confirmed the DOJ has concluded its “preliminary review” of the documents taken but went on to say that the review itself is only one step in the “ongoing process in this active criminal investigation.”
“The seized materials will continue to be used to further the government’s investigation, and the investigative team will continue to use and evaluate the seized materials as it takes further investigative steps, such as through additional interviews and grand jury practice,” DOJ attorneys said.
In Thursday’s hearing, Judge Cannon delayed her decision on Trump’s request to appoint a Special Master, an independent watchdog who would review the seized documents before the DOJ could continue to use the documents in its investigation.
Trump’s legal team argued any documents seized from Mar-a-Lago were similar to an “overdue-library-book scenario” on Thursday.
“We’ve characterized it at times as an overdue-library-book scenario where there’s a dispute — not even a dispute — but ongoing negotiations with [the National Archives] that has suddenly been transformed into a criminal investigation,” Trump lawyer James Trusty said.
Trump’s attorneys also argued Judge Cannon was in a “unique position” to “help restore public confidence” in the DOJ.
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