Trump confronts US government in court battle over seized secrets

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An increasingly high-stakes standoff between Don-ald Trump and Federal investigators lands in court Thursday, after days of headline-grabbing revelations surrounding highly classified documents seized by the FBI from the former president’s Florida home.

Trump’s lawyers are asking that an outside party — a “special master” — be named to reassess the government’s screening of sensitive documents to determine if any were “highly personal information” that should be returned or protected by claims of privilege.

The federal court has already indicated its “pre-liminary intent” to agree to the independent review, meaning there is little intrigue with respect to the stated purpose of the hearing.

But the request has significantly upped the ante. Some analysts see the move as an attempt by Team Trump to complicate the probe.

It also prompted a searing disclosure by the Jus-tice Department of the evidence against the Repub-lican former president recovered from the search of his Mar-a-Lago residence in south Florida last month.

Government officials said in a filing Tuesday they had evidence of efforts to hide classified documents despite a grand jury demand in May that Trump produce records removed from the White House in January 2021.

Some of the files were so sensitive, they noted, that federal agents and Justice Department personnel needed their security clearances elevated to even look at the material.

The filing also stated that FBI agents located classified documents in Trump’s desk drawers with his passports.

“The location of the passports is relevant evi-dence in an investigation of unauthorized retention and mishandling of national defense information,” the department said.—APP

 

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