Attorneys for Donald Trump have filed a motion in U.S. District Court seeking a court-appointed “Special Master” to oversee the FBI’s handling of property seized during a August 8 raid on the president’s residence.
The motion details President Trump’s repeated cooperation with both the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) as well as the DOJ and FBI in the months preceding the raid, which Trump’s attorneys characterize as “a shockingly aggressive move” with “no understanding of the distress that it would cause most Americans.”
To date, the FBI has refused to state the purpose of the raid or to release the affidavit used to obtain the search warrant. Trump’s attorneys argue that the search is politically motivated:
[D]id the affiant to the warrant fairly disclose any pretextual or “dual” purpose at work in obtaining the warrant? For example, the Receipt for Property largely fails to identify seized documents with particularity, but it does refer to the seizure of an item labelled “Executive Grant of Clemency re: Roger Jason Stone, Jr.” Aside from demonstrating that this was an unlawful general search, it also suggests that DOJ simply wanted the camel’s nose under the tent so they could rummage for either politically helpful documents or support other efforts to thwart President Trump from running again, such as the January 6 investigation. Interestingly, in the Government’s response to motions to unseal the Search Warrant Affidavit, the Government claims public exposure of the Affidavit would ‘jeopardize” this investigation and “other high-profile investigations.” The phrasing suggests that DOJ has other interests at work than simply collecting documents with classification markings.
Trump’s attorneys also criticized Attorney General Garland who, during his August 11 press conference, omitted that they had written to him earlier that day seeking to reduce the public resentment caused by the raid. The message to Garland stated:
President Trump wants the Attorney General to know that he has been hearing from people all over
the country about the raid. If there was one word to describe their mood, it is “angry.” The heat is building up. The pressure is building up. Whatever I can do to take the heat down, to bring the pressure down, just let us know.
The motion contends that the FBI violated President Trump’s 4th Amendment rights as well as his rights under the Presidential Records Act. They, therefore, are seeking the following:
For the foregoing reasons, President Donald J. Trump respectfully requests that this Court issue an order that: (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 Search Warrant.