WASHINGTON (AFP): Former US president Donald Trump’s legal team on Wednesday dismissed the government’s “unjustified” pursuit of classified documents at his home and said the raid in which they were seized was legally dubious and unnecessary.
Responding to a bombshell filing in which the US Department of Justice said top secret documents were “likely concealed” at Trump’s estate to obstruct an FBI probe, his attorneys insisted that his possession of sensitive information should have come as no surprise.
“The purported justification for the initiation of this criminal probe was the alleged discovery of sensitive information contained within the 15 boxes of presidential records,” a court filing by Trump’s team said.
“But this ‘discovery’ was to be fully anticipated given the very nature of presidential records. Simply put, the notion that presidential records would contain sensitive information should have never been cause for alarm,” it said.
Trump’s lawyers repeated their call for an independent review of all material seized from his Mar-a-Lago estate and described the August 8 FBI raid on the property as “unprecedented, unnecessary, and legally unsupported.”
The Department of Justice painted a distinctly different picture in its late Tuesday filing opposing the appointment of a “special master” to review the documents, saying that highly sensitive materials were recovered from Trump’s home.
Strikingly, the department’s filing included a photograph of color-coded documents spread out over a carpet, marked “SECRET” and “TOP SECRET.”
The inclusion of the photograph also sparked condemnation by Trump’s team.
“The government’s response gratuitously included a photograph of allegedly classified materials, pulled from a container and spread across the floor for dramatic effect,” it said.