Donald Trump on Monday, August 22, asked a federal court to temporarily prevent the FBI from continuing to analyze the documents seized recently at his home in Mar-a-Lago (Florida), until the appointment of a independent expert to supervise the procedure.
In an appeal filed by his lawyers with a federal court in Florida, the former American president is asking the Justice Department to provide him with more detailed information on these documents seized by FBI investigators on Monday August 8.
In total, the US government is said to have recovered more than 300 documents marked “classified” from Donald Trump’s Florida home, including content from the CIA, FBI and National Security Agency, reported on Monday New York Timesciting sources familiar with the matter.
According to the newspaper, a first batch of more than 150 classified documents was recovered in January by the National Archives Service, before Donald Trump’s advisers gave a second batch of documents to the Department of Justice in June. Finally, a third package of documents was seized by the FBI during the spectacular search carried out this month.
Federal investigators suspect the former tenant of the White House of having violated a US espionage law which very strictly regulates the possession of confidential documents related to national security, by illegally taking files at the end of his mandate in January 2021.
“The government has treated President Donald Trump unfairly for a long time”write, on Monday, his lawyers in the court document, affirming that he is “clearly the favorite of the Republican primary for the presidential election of 2024” as well as the presidential election itself “if he decides to stand as a candidate”.
“Law enforcement is a shield that protects America. It cannot be used as a weapon for political purposes”is it asserted in this appeal which qualifies the search “of shockingly aggressive initiative”.
“Therefore, we seek legal assistance following an unprecedented and unnecessary raid “, adds the request. Concretely, Donald Trump’s lawyers are specifically asking for the appointment of an expert unrelated to the case, whose role would be to inspect the files recovered in Florida, and to set aside those covered by executive privilege – a principle that allows chairpersons to prevent public disclosure of certain communications.
In some other high-profile cases — including investigations involving Rudy Giuliani and Michael Cohen, two of Trump’s personal attorneys — that expert role has been filled by a retired judge.
A judge appointed by Trump
This unprecedented search for a former head of state “was illegal and unconstitutional, and we are doing everything we can to recover the documents”the Republican billionaire said in a statement, which claims that “ALL documents have been declassified”. The Justice Department curtly replied, in a terse three-sentence statement, that the search had been authorized by a federal judge.
The appeal filed on Monday was awarded to Judge Aileen Cannon, appointed by Donald Trump in 2020 and confirmed by the Senate in the same year.
Donald Trump is also the target of investigations into his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election and his role in the assault by his supporters on the Capitol on January 6, 2021. He is also suspected of tax evasion. But he is not yet prosecuted in any case.