Multiple sources "briefed on the matter" told The New York Times that the government has recovered more than 300 classified documents from former President Donald Trump since January, including those seized during a raid on his Mar-a-Lago, Florida, home Aug. 8.
According to the report, some 150 documents marked as "classified" were turned over by Trump during visits to the Palm Beach resort and residence in January and June, and more than 150 others during the execution of a federal search warrant earlier this month.
The report said the volume of the documents recovered might been the catalyst for the Department of Justice, and Attorney General Merrick Garland, to act so urgently by seeking the unprecedented warrant, and for around 30 FBI agents to descend on Trump's property.
While the warrant itself and a property list of what the agents took are public, several media companies sued to release the government's affidavit, citing the probable cause to get the search warrant.
Southern District of Florida Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart, who signed off on the search warrant, ruled last week that parts of the affidavit will be available to the public, but the government can offer suggestions to redact the documents this Thursday.
Attorneys for the former president filed a motion Monday to appoint a special master to oversee the review of the documents, and other materials, seized in the raid, as well as force the Justice Department to explain the need more fully for the warrant, The Washington Post reported.
"Law enforcement is a shield that protects Americans," the Post reported the filing as saying. "It cannot be used as a weapon for political purposes. Therefore, we seek judicial assistance in the aftermath of an unprecedented and unnecessary raid on President Trump's home at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida."
The filing also claims federal law enforcement acted in a "shockingly aggressive" manner in obtaining the warrant and that agents removed items that were privileged.
"The Department is aware of this evening's motion," DOJ spokesman Anthony Coley told the Post regarding the new motion. "The United States will file its response in court."
If granted, the special master would comb through the items taken in the raid and return anything that is not relevant to the ongoing investigation, the report said.
The search also resulted in agents taking three of Trump's passports, two of which were expired, but they were returned to the former president, the New York Post reported Aug. 16.
"The DOJ and FBI just returned my passports. Thank you," the post reported Trump writing on his Truth Social platform last Tuesday evening. "Unfortunately, when they raided my home, Mar-a-Lago, eight days ago, they just opened their arms and grabbed everything in sight, much as a common criminal would do. This shouldn't happen in America."
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