Estimated reading time 3 minutes 3 Min

Trump seeks to block FBI papers review

A Florida court has been asked to temporarily block the FBI from reviewing materials seized during a search of the home of former US president Donald Trump.

August 23, 2022
By Sarah N. Lynch
23 August 2022

Former US president Donald Trump has asked a federal court to temporarily block the FBI from reviewing materials it seized two weeks ago from his Florida home, until a special master can be appointed to oversee the process.

Trump’s motion, filed in a federal court in West Palm Beach, Florida, also demanded the US Justice Department provide him with a more detailed property receipt outlining the items the FBI seized from his Mar-a-Lago home during its August 8 search, and asked investigators to return any items outside the scope of the search warrant.

“Politics cannot be allowed to impact the administration of justice,” the filing says. 

“Law enforcement is a shield that protects Americans. It cannot be used as a weapon for political purposes.”

His request was assigned to US District Judge Aileen M. Cannon, who Trump appointed to the bench.

Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart, the judge who approved the warrant, is weighing whether to require the Justice Department to release a redacted copy of the affidavit laying out the evidence for why there was probable cause to search Trump’s home.

The Justice Department at a court hearing last week staunchly opposed its release, saying it would provide people with a “roadmap” of its investigation and possibly chill witness co-operation.

In a court order filed earlier on Monday, Reinhart said he agrees those are legitimate concerns and that he wants to explore whether there is a “less onerous alternative to sealing the entire document”.

The Justice Department has until noon on Thursday to provide him under seal a redacted copy of the document he could potentially release to the public.

The August 8 search of Mar-a-Lago marked a significant escalation in one of the many federal and state investigations Trump is facing from his time in office and in private business.

In an unusual move, US Attorney-General Merrick Garland later agreed to ask the court to release a redacted copy of the search warrant and property receipt outlining the items taken, after Trump publicly accused the department of political retribution.

The search, which was approved by Reinhart on August 5, is part of a federal investigation into whether Trump illegally removed documents when he left office in January 2021 after losing the presidential election to Joe Biden.

During its search the FBI seized 11 sets of classified material, some of which was labelled ‘top secret’ – the highest level of classification reserved for the most closely held US national security information and which can only be viewed in special government facilities.

More in Top Stories