Last Monday, President Trump’s legal team filed a motion that requested a “Special Master,” whose job would be to review the materials taken from Mar-a-Lago on the August 8 search of the former president’s personal home. The next day, Judge Aileen Cannon replied to the motion requesting more information. Trump’s attorneys responded, and, by Saturday, Cannon had written an order stating that there would be a hearing on September 1 regarding the matter.
On Monday, however, the Justice Department said in a filing that they had already completed their review of the materials seized. The filing also stated that the DOJ had “identified a limited set of documents that could include information protected by attorney-client privilege.”
The Justice Department also said in the filing that they would disclose more information in a separate document, but that a “privilege review” team had already reviewed the seized documents. The special master is considered to be an impartial individual who would examine the documents in question then provide a non-biased answer to the Court.
According to Fox News, a privilege review team is one that “consists of federal personnel not involved with the investigation itself” and is tasked with going through the documents in order to determine if there is privileged information within the material.
The Justice Department filing answering Judge Cannon’s order read:
“The Privilege Review Team . . .identified a limited set of materials that potentially contain attorney-client privileged information, completed its review of those materials, and is in the process of following the procedures set forth in paragraph 84 of the search warrant affidavit to address potential privilege disputes, if any.”
The procedures that said paragraph mentions involve presenting the material to the court to determine privilege, then asking Trump’s legal team whether it intends to assert privilege, or was “acting on its own and keeping material away from investigators.”
Additionally, the filing mentioned that the Justice Department is working with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) in order to make a determination of the possible security risks that “would result from the disclosure of these materials.” According to the Justice Department, the ODNI is carrying out an “intelligence community assessment” regarding national security.
The hearing regarding the appointment of a special master is scheduled for Thursday of this week at the federal courthouse where both Judge Aileen Cannon and magistrate Bruce Reinhart sit on the bench. Judge Cannon has already ordered the Department of Justice to provide a specifically detailed property receipt for the documents taken from Mar-a-Lago on August 8. Cannon allowed for the detailed receipt to remain sealed, but this will give Trump’s legal team an idea of what the Justice Department says they have taken from the personal home of Donald Trump.
President Trump and his legal team dispute the classification of materials taken during the raid on his home. Trump contends that the declassified all records before leaving office. The Justice Department cited 18 USC 793, 18 USC 2017, and 18 USC 1519, charges that deal with defense information and the handling of such materials.
This Nation wanted to find an answer to one statement made by several pundits since the August 8 raid at Mar-a-Lago. Originally, some said that the belongings were packed by the GSA. Research shows that in the past, when a president is preparing to leave the White House, there are certain staff assigned to assist in packing up the First Family. One in particular is a “chief usher.” Research shows that the packing at the end of the Trump term was chaotic; The Washington Post said: “His obsession with falsely claiming the election was stolen also made his staff reluctant to broach the question of packing.”
This research brings about the question – since research is conflicting – who packed the boxes, and what happened as those boxes were packed? Could some documents have been packed incorrectly? Would a hurried, chaotic packing of materials lend to the materials having been declassified by the president, but leave them with the previous markings of their original classification?
Still, Americans don’t have enough answers to make a reasonable conclusion. With the volatile nature of this investigation, the matter is worth examining.