The Trump legal team just filed a new motion in the matter of the FBI raid on President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home.
The motion is asking that the Court:
(a) appoints a Special Master; (b) enjoins further review of seized materials by the Government until a Special Master is appointed; (c) requires the Government to provide a more detailed Receipt for Property; and (d) requires the Government to return any item seized that was not within the scope of the
The motion said that the government had admitted to seizing “privileged or potentially privileged materials,” plus there were also photos, handwritten notes, and even Trump’s passports, in an “already overbroad warrant.” It says all the government has provided is a scant property receipt, with no accounting for what was taken or why when Trump was fully cooperating with the government’s requests. It attacks the government leaks that seek to justify the FBI raid while at the same time not providing the true reason for the raid. The motion said there was no “exigency” for the forceful raid — noting the FBI waited for three days even after getting the warrant — and that there was no basis for keeping that information from the public. Trump had been cooperating and providing documents to the government for months — the motion outlines those various exchanges.
The warrant says they can seize any documents made during his presidency which was already ridiculously broad, but it gets worse than that. The motion notes the warrant says that the government can seize “any other containers/boxes that are collectively stored or found together with the aforementioned documents and containers/boxes.” This gave them the right to seize anything that just happened to be near the documents they wanted.
The motion confirms that the FBI asked that the surveillance cameras be turned off during the raid, but the Trump team refused. It also confirms the attorneys weren’t allowed to observe the search of the home.
The motion alleges violations of the Fourth Amendment, as well as an effort to get around that the Presidential Records Act doesn’t have a criminal mechanism or penalty. It asks if the FBI was straight with the judge about the fact that Trump was cooperating with the government. It also raises the question as to whether the point here was a fishing expedition to prevent Trump from running again. The motion also outlines some of the unfairness against the Trump team in the past from the FBI including the falsification of a document to get a FISA warrant and the Strzok-Page texts, and notes that some of the same people who were involved in the discredited Russia probe could be involved in this raid.
It’s a good move, but they should have filed for the special master immediately after the seizure. The FBI has now had two weeks to walk through and photograph all kinds of things, including documents they likely should never have had access to. So it may be a bit like closing the barn door after the horse has already bolted at this point. The Trump team had asked the government for the appointment of a special master before they made the motion to the Court. The DOJ turned them down. The DOJ will likely try to block the appointment of a special master, just as they did with the affidavit. But once again, they’ll show they aren’t about transparency here.