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DOJ Moves to Purge Trump's Special Master From Mar-a-Lago Investigation

AP Photo/Matt York

The Department of Justice clinched its legal win at the Supreme Court, which refused to intervene in the case involving the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s raid on Mar-a-Lago this past summer. Trump and his legal team are on their own. The Justice Department’s access to the files that were seized during the raid that reportedly contained classified information was restored by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. The special master appointed by Judge Aileen Cannon is also barred from reviewing some 100 documents since that could inflict irreparable damage to the government. It’s hogwash, but the courts have expanded the search power of the DOJ to near-universal limits post-9/11. Now, the Justice Department is moving to appeal the special master ruling and toss the Trump legal team’s challenger altogether. NBC News added that the DOJ’s case is that Trump’s lawyers have not provided any evidence that the documents were illegally confiscated or that the former president has any need for their return (via NBC News):


In a filing to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, lawyers for the DOJ argued Judge Aileen Cannon "erred in ordering a special-master review" in the case and asked the court vacate her order "with instructions to dismiss Plaintiff’s civil action."

The appeals court ruled in DOJ's favor on a narrower issue in the case last month, allowing the department to resume using classified documents that were recovered in its Aug. 8 search as part of its criminal investigation. The 11th Circuit also blocked the special master and Trump's lawyers from being able to review those classified documents, citing the DOJ's national security concerns.


The Justice Department also said that Trump's team has not provided any evidence the documents were wrongly seized or that the former president has any need for their return.

"The uncontested record demonstrates that the search was conducted in full accordance with a judicially authorized warrant, and there has been no violation of Plaintiff’s rights—let alone a 'callous disregard' for them. Plaintiff has failed to meet his burden in establishing any need for the seized records—indeed, a substantial number of them are not even his—or in establishing any irreparable injury in their absence," the filing said.

Trump's team is scheduled to file its response in the case on Nov. 10.


The DOJ told the Trump team to keep all documents at Mar-a-Lago in a June letter, which preceded the August 8 raid. The government overclassifies everything—a cocktail napkin and dinner menus were some of the items the National Archives just had to have back lest they suffer incessant heartburn. A Presidential Records Act dispute seldom rises to the level where federal agents need to ransack the place, but then again, all bets are off if the target is Donald J. Trump. The Mar-a-Lago raid was arguably illegal, and none of the materials seized constituted a national security threat. If they did, the FBI looks even worse, having sat on this for at least 18 months before busting down the doors of the former president’s home. It’s been weeks since the raid, and I have yet to hear one substantive development pointing to any wrongdoing. What we’ve got as follow-up stories is a tedious tale of email exchanges between the Trump legal team and the National Archives.

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