Trump tells courtroom categorised materials ought to have been anticipated in presidential data present in Mar-a-Lago

The filing acknowledged classified material was found at Mar-a-Lago, but argued that it shouldn’t have been cause for alarm – and shouldn’t have led to the search of Trump’s Florida residence earlier this month.

Trump’s new filing Wednesday is his platform to officially respond to prosecutors’ claims that members of his legal team engaged in “obstructive behavior” by withholding documents at his Florida resort and giving investigators untrue information about how many secret documents have remained on site.

The Justice Department said in court filings that the search was conducted after the FBI developed evidence that Trump’s team had hidden materials after claiming all the classified materials had been turned over in June.

“The alleged justification for opening this criminal investigation was the alleged discovery of sensitive information contained in the 15 boxes containing the President’s records,” Trump’s attorneys wrote. “But this ‘discovery’ was entirely foreseeable given the nature of the President’s records. Simply put, the idea that Presidential records contain confidential information should never have been a cause for concern.”

Trump’s attorneys argue that under the Presidential Records Act, the archives should have gone ahead in good faith to ensure the recovery of presidential records rather than referring a criminal investigation to the Justice Department.

The dueling court’s files are in a civil lawsuit Trump filed earlier this month as part of his attempt to appoint a “special master” to review documents the FBI seized in Mar-a-Lago. Federal prosecutors are opposing the motion, claiming it would impede ongoing criminal investigations and intelligence agencies’ reviews of national security risks, and are calling for the lawsuit to be dismissed.

Hearing Thursday about special masters

Trump filed the lawsuit early last week — 14 days after executing the search warrant — claiming his constitutional rights were trampled upon in the search. He called for the appointment of a special foreman to review materials seized by the FBI from Mar-a-Lago. A special master is a third-party attorney appointed by courts in some situations — often in cases where law firms have been raided — to review evidence obtained from the government and filter out privileged material that should not get into the hands of investigators.

After finding that Trump’s original lawsuit was missing several key legal elements, the judge on the case — Trump-appointed Judge Aileen Cannon — asked his attorneys last Friday to supplement it with additional information. In an order on Saturday, she said she was inclined to appoint the special master but would first review court papers responding to the motion and hear arguments on Thursday.

The Justice Department argued in Tuesday’s filing that the appointment of a special master would be both “unnecessary” and a step that would hamper criminal investigations as well as risk assessments being undertaken by intelligence agencies. Prosecutors argued Trump failed to clear the procedural thresholds needed to file the application.

Trump's lawyers are under scrutiny over the extent of cooperation with the Justice Department on classified documents

The DOJ said Trump’s scenario — one that focused primarily on questionable claims to executive privileges — was very different from the situations in which special masters would normally be appointed. These cases primarily involve materials that are subject to attorney-client privilege.

Prosecutors have previously told the court that the search seized “a limited number of materials” that may cover attorney-client privilege. The DOJ’s internal filtering team has already completed its work on separating these materials from what is being shared with investigators, the department said Tuesday, and the rest of the documents have already been reviewed by agents working on the case.

This story has been updated with additional details.

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