Trump appears to admit he illegally kept official documents | donald trump

Donald Trump appeared to admit in his court filing regarding the seizure of documents from his Florida resort that he illegally kept official government documents, such as the former president argued that some of the documents collected by the FBI could be subject to executive privilege.

The motion tabled Monday by lawyers for the former president argued that a court should appoint a so-called special master to separate and determine which documents the Justice Department can consider as evidence due to privilege issues.

But Trump’s argument that some of the documents are subject to the protection of executive privilege indicates that these documents are official documents that he is not authorized to keep and that they should have turned over to the National Archives at the end. administration.

The motion, in this regard, appeared to admit that Trump had violated one of the criminal statutes listed on the warrant used by the FBI to search the former president’s Mar-a-Lago resort – 18 USC 2071 – regarding the unlawful deletion of government documents.

“While he admits that he is in possession of documents that could claim executive privilege, they are by definition presidential files and belong to the National Archives,” said Asha Rangappa, a former FBI agent and former associate dean at Yale Law School.

“And so it’s not clear that executive privilege would even be relevant to the particular crime that he’s being investigated for and yet in this case he’s basically admitting that he’s in possession, which the government is trying to establish,” Rangappa said.

Trump remains able to argue that a special master should be appointed to review seized documents, request a more detailed receipt for what the FBI recovered from Mar-a-Lago and blocking the Justice Department from further reviewing the documents until the process is complete.

The reasoning, according to former US attorneys, is that there could be communications seized by the FBI that are privileged, but not used in the prosecution of a crime, and even if the Justice Department wanted to use them in his investigation, he should be excluded from doing so.

A person directly involved in Trump’s legal defense noted — repeating parts of the filing — that the Presidential Records Act had no enforcement mechanism, though she admitted the Justice Department could prosecute him. argument of privilege as a tacit admission.

But Trump’s motion could pose additional challenges for the former president, with additional passages in the filing exposing a months-long battle by the Justice Department to retrieve certain records in a pattern of interactions that could be construed as an obstruction of justice.

The search warrant for Mar-a-Lago mentioned obstruction of potentially violated laws, although it is unclear whether this was obstruction of the investigation into the very recovery of government documents from Mar-a-Lago. a-Lago or for another separate investigation.

Yet the section of Trump’s motion titled “Voluntary assistance from President Donald J Trumpdetailed the multiple steps the Justice Department took to initially recover 15 boxes in January, additional materials in June, and then 26 boxes when the FBI conducted its search.

The filing explained how Trump returned the 15 boxes to the National Archives, then – a day after the National Archives told Trump’s lawyers that the boxes contained classified documents – “accepted service of a subpoena from the grand jury” for additional documents with classification marks.

But despite keeping documents in response to the subpoena, the Justice Department learned there may be other documents marked as classified and issued a subpoena on June 22 demanding camera footage hallway security outside where the documents were stored.

This subpoena for security tapes, along with a subsequent subpoena for CCTV footage of that area just prior to the August 8 FBI raid, suggests that the Justice Department did not believe Trump was entirely truthful or open in their interactions with the investigation.

Those suspicions were well-founded: When the government recovered documents from Mar-a-Lago on that second collection in June, Trump’s archival custodian attested that he had returned documents responding to the subpoena — only for the FBI picks them up. more boxes of classified documents.

Separately, aside from the late filing of the motion two weeks after the FBI search, the brief itself appears to be procedurally problematic.

The petition was not filed in West Palm Beach, Florida, where the warrant was approved. Instead, it was filed in Fort Pierce, where the judge has no knowledge of the underlying affidavit – and could rule to reveal to Trump whether he or his lawyers are suspected of obstruction .

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