Trump FBI

Pages from a Department of Justice court filing on Tuesday in response to a request from the legal team of former President Donald Trump for a special master to review the documents seized during the Aug. 8 search of Mar-a-Lago. Jon Elswick/Associated Press

In a 36-page filing with a Florida court, the Justice Department provided more support for its decision to search former President Donald Trump’s premises at Mar-a-Lago. The filing was made in response to a suit brought by Trump seeking to have an independent third party appointed to review materials that were seized by the government. Among the information detailed in the filing:

• The Aug. 8 search of Mar-a-Lago resulted in the seizure of another 33 “items of evidence, mostly boxes.” Three classified documents were found in the desks in Trump’s office at the estate. There were 13 boxes or containers that held over 100 unique documents with classification markings.

• In response to a grand jury subpoena, Trump’s lawyer in June handed over “a single Redweld envelope, double-wrapped in tape” containing 38 documents that were labeled classified and a letter certifying that all relevant documents had been produced.

• FBI agents who went to Mar-a-Lago in June to pick up those documents were allowed to look at a storage room that had held the material but “the former President’s counsel explicitly prohibited government personnel from opening or looking inside any of the boxes that remained in the storage room.”

• Investigators believed that government records “were likely concealed and removed from the Storage Room and that efforts were likely taken to obstruct the government’s investigation,” including “evidence indicating that boxes formerly in the Storage Room were not returned prior to counsel’s review.”

• A photo included in the filing shows documents were strewn on the floor of Mar-a-Lago during the August search, alongside letters or memos with White House letterhead that appeared redacted by government investigators, and a bankers box containing a framed copy of the cover of Time magazine’s March 4, 2019 issue, featuring Trump. One of the documents visible is dated Wednesday, May 9, 2018, a day after Trump announced the U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal.

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