The Justice Department told Florida’s Southern District Court it does not want a special master appointed in the Trump Mar-a-Lago case because it would impede the government’s ongoing criminal investigation. U.S. Attorney Juan Gonzalez also stated in a court filing that a special master could potentially impede the intelligence community’s assessment as to whether national security was put at risk through the improper storage of classified materials.
The filing made late Tuesday night further highlights that investigators are looking into the former President possibly violating three laws: the Espionage Act, obstruction of justice, and the unlawful concealment or removal of government records.
It included this photo that shows documents spread out across the floor that are labeled Top Secret.
Former President Donald Trump responded to the filing, and specifically the picture, by posting on Truth Social, “Terrible the way the FBI, during the Raid of Mar-a-Lago, threw documents haphazardly all over the floor (perhaps pretending it was me that did it!) and then started taking pictures of them for the public to see. Thought they wanted them kept Secret? Lucky I Declassified!”
Gonzalez also laid out a possible case for obstruction. According to the filing, when National Archives personnel were trying to obtain missing documents, Trump’s lawyers prohibited them from opening or looking inside boxes that remained inside a storage room at Mar-a-Lago. They said that prevented them from confirming no more classified materials remained.
The filings stated, “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.”show_temp.pl-9
Evidence was also presented that is contrary to Trump team claims that all the documents at Mar-a-Lago were declassified.
“When producing the documents, neither counsel nor the custodian asserted that the former President had declassified the documents or asserted any claim of executive privilege. Instead, counsel handled them in a manner that suggested counsel believed that the documents were classified,” the filing stated.
Justice Department lawyers also said a privilege team has already reviewed the documents, so there’s no reason to have a special master do it again.
Gonzalez also argued in the filing that the court does not have jurisdiction to grant a special master and that the former president lacks the standing to ask for one because under the Presidential Records Act, the documents belong to the government, not Trump.