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Mar-a-Lago Raid: Feds Seized Privileged Trump Documents, New Court Filing Confirms

Mar-a-Lago Raid: Feds Seized Privileged Trump Documents, New Court Filing Confirms

Feds: “identified a limited set of materials that potentially contain attorney-client privileged information, completed its review of those materials, and is in the process of following the procedures set forth in paragraph 84 of the search warrant affidavit to address potential privilege disputes.”

On Saturday, August 27, Judge Aileen M. Cannon issued a Preliminary Order stating her preliminary intent to appoint a Special Master but giving the government a chance to file opposition to the motion. Although a response was not due until tomorrow, this morning the feds filed a Notice of Receipt of Preliminary Order, which provided, in part (emphasis added):

4. The government also will review the materials obtained pursuant to the search warrant and coordinate with the Case Team and Privilege Review Team 1 to submit, as directed by the Preliminary Order, a sealed supplemental filing containing a “more detailed Receipt for Property” seized pursuant to the search warrant approved on August 5, 2022 (S.D. Fla. Case No. 22-MJ-8332-BER), and executed on August 8, 2022; as well as a “particularized notice indicating the status of [the United States’] review of the seized property, including any filter review conducted by the privilege review team and any dissemination of materials beyond the privilege review team,” D.E. 29 at 2.

5. Although the government will provide the Court more detail in its forthcoming supplemental filing, the government notes that, before the Court issued its Preliminary Order, and in accordance with the judicially authorized search warrant’s provisions, the Privilege Review Team (as described in paragraphs 81-84 of the search warrant affidavit) identified a limited set of materials that potentially contain attorney-client privileged information, completed its review of those materials, and is in the process of following the procedures set forth in paragraph 84 of the search warrant affidavit to address potential privilege disputes, if any. Additionally, the Department of Justice and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (“ODNI”) are currently facilitating a classification review of materials recovered pursuant to the search. As the Director of National Intelligence advised Congress, ODNI is also leading an intelligence community assessment of the potential risk to national security that would result from the disclosure of these materials.

The referenced paragraph 84 of the Warrant Affidavit provide for a “Privilege Review Team” to identify and review potentially privileged materials, and sets up a procedure.

83. If the Privilege Review Team determines the documents or data are not potentially attorney-client privileged, they will be provided to the law-enforcement personnel assigned to the investigation. If at any point the law-enforcement personnel assigned to the investigation subsequently identify any data or documents that they consider may be potentially attorney-client privileged, they will cease the review of such identified data or documents and refer the materials to the Privilege Review Team for further review by the Privilege Review Team.

84. If the Privilege Review Team determines that documents are potentially attorney-client privileged or merit further consideration in that regard, a Privilege Review Team attorney may do any of the following: (a) apply ex parte to the court for a determination whether or not the documents contain attorney-client privileged material; (b) defer seeking court intervention and continue to keep the documents inaccessible to law-enforcement personnel assigned to the investigation; or (c) disclose the documents to the potential p1ivilege holder, request the privilege holder to state whether the potential privilege holder asserts attorney-client privilege as to any documents, including requesting a particularized privilege log, and seek a ruling from the court
regarding any attorney-client privilege claims as to which the P1ivilege Review Team and the privilege-holder cannot reach agreement.

Of course, this gives the government sole determination of what might or might not be privileged in the first instance, and only invokes court review if the government designates a document as potentially privileged. It also does not screen for material beyond the scope of the warrant or extraneous to the alleged potential crimes cited in the warrant. A document containing Trump’s political plans and communications with political advisors on how best to counter the Biden administration would be open to review, unless and until a Special Master is appointed.

This also indicates the governments review is far along. Why make this filing at all? Probably to alert the court that the feds already have done a sustantial, if not complete, review of materials seized before the Judge’s Preliminary Order. While that Order did not contain an injunction, the feds wanted to go on record as to what took place prior to the Order.


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Of course, this gives the government sole determination of what might or might not be privileged in the first instance

Somehow, I figured that was coming. TY Professor.

    JHogan in reply to amwick. | August 29, 2022 at 1:08 pm

    That’s how it works in fascist and/or communist controlled countries.

    So, of course, that’s how it now works in our Democrat party controlled leftwing fascist government.

Why shouldn’t the government routinely seize privileged information? They did it to Project Veritas and encountered no penalty at all. Now they’ve tasted blood, and it’s sweet.

i”A document containing Trump’s political plans and communications with political advisors on how best to counter the Biden administration would be open to review, `unless and until a Special Master is appointed.

    ”A document containing Trump’s political plans and communications with political advisors on how best to counter the Biden administration would be open to review, unless and until a Special Master is appointed.“ (Sorry, hit “submit” instead of “preview”)

    This should end that discussion yesterday where a few here were opining about how stupid Trump was for not filing that request sooner. How many times does Trump have to prove that he is not an idiot?

      henrybowman in reply to Pasadena Phil. | August 29, 2022 at 5:47 pm

      Well, I’m not following your logic here. Then again, maybe I don’t think enough moves ahead.

        We have a chorus of “Trump is dumb” forever jumping on Trump’s every move and declaring it just proves how dumb he is. The other day, he was dumb for not filing to assign Special Master sooner. Today we know.

        Trump knew Biden would be interested in the privileged attorney communications with Trump laying out discussions for strategizing counter moves against Biden and left them there knowing they would be seized with the other materials. The DOJ took the bait. Today, the DOJ admitted that they had “accidentally” taken those materials (illegally, not listed in the affidavit) and will be returning them. Egg on face for DOJ. I wonder how many more of these traps are sitting around awaiting the DOJ’s next move?

        We know the DOJ hasn’t found what they are looking for or they would have leaked it to the WSJ with blaring headlines. They’ve now staged two searches including a raid. Their explanations keep changing as one after the other gets shot down. They are running out of chances. It’s a cat-and-mouse game and Trump is winning against a desperate and frustrated DOJ that keeps making mistakes.

        And yet that “Trump is dumb” chorus won’t go away.

          DesertBunny in reply to Pasadena Phil. | August 30, 2022 at 8:33 am

          It’s not that Trump was dumb, it’s that his lawyers should have made the request for a special master as soon as the FBI began the search.

          @DesertBunny – if the raid was unexpected, then yes, there is a list of things they should have been demanding in front of a judge within hours. You know good lawyers would have recommended that within minutes. We also know that Trump has been through the courts many times – as plaintiff, as respondent, and he’s been divorced a couple of times. He knows about special masters.

          But if it was expected, and as Phil suggests, Trump WANTED them to see this material, waiting a few days giving the corrupt DoJ time to review them all would be the course of action, followed by a manilla envelope handoff in a DC park. And I agree the fact that nothing has leaked so far tells me there wasn’t much there.

This also means that the DOJ/FBI started reviewing this material right away. I take that as they knew that this would get disputed so they wanted to get it done before they were told to stop.

    MattMusson in reply to starride. | August 29, 2022 at 2:18 pm

    Is there anybody who believes these documents will be treated honestly and above board? Anybody?

      Gosport in reply to MattMusson. | August 29, 2022 at 7:54 pm

      Is there anyone who believes that every single document stolen from Trump’s house hasn’t been read, sorted and scanned into a databank by now?

      It doesn’t matter what documents the FBI is eventually forced to “give back’. The damage is already done and they aren’t going to destroy their copies.

By the time a ‘special master’ is assigned, the FBI will have leaked everything to their buddies in the media.

    So what? All of this material had been declassified by Trump years ago and the DOJ blocked its release. So everyone already knows what they are looking and apparently have not found it. They are desperate and absolutely determined to find those incriminating documents or something to charge Trump for. Expect another raid or series of arrests.

      They hoovered up everything they could get their hands on, not just the supposed ‘confidential’ docs.

        SeiteiSouther in reply to Paul. | August 29, 2022 at 4:38 pm

        They hoovered up every document that had an “r” in it, relevant or not.

        And still didn’t find what they were looking for. That makes twice at Mar-a-Lago with two different teams. His name was not redacted from the affidavits although everything around it was. Kash Patel knows what they are looking for and has been telling. Trump had ordered them released for the public years ago but the DOJ stepped in and stopped it. It’s not even a mystery anymore. It’s evidence incriminating the DOJ/FBI and now, the WH is directly involved in a cover-up.

        If Trump has a copy of these materials (I believe he does), the DOJ/FBI goose is cooked. When the DOJ received Trump’s instructions to declassify and distribute these materials, THAT is the evidence that clears Trump because the POTUS is the final authority on classification, declassification and release. It was perfectly legal for him to have those materials. So for the DOJ to stage a raid to seize them and then redact the parts identifying those materials is itself incriminating for the DOJ. They raided MAL to seize materials that their own records confirm were declassified.

        Yeah, Trump is one dumb dude.

          taurus the judge in reply to Pasadena Phil. | August 30, 2022 at 8:40 am

          Yeah Phil

          I think we are on a parallel trajectory on this.

          I’m not convinced “Russiagate” is all of it but I think its a mix of that, Laptop and possibly other items Trump has and is going to use.

          rocuall in reply to Pasadena Phil. | August 30, 2022 at 9:28 am

          One problem. Trump waited until the last min when he unclassified the Documents. He should of did it in OCT of 2020 as a october surprise

        The Gentle Grizzly in reply to Paul. | August 29, 2022 at 9:05 pm

        A fine choice of wording, “hoovered”.

      diver64 in reply to Pasadena Phil. | August 29, 2022 at 3:34 pm

      I’d read that elsewhere but the hyperventilating MSM seem to forget to mention this.

Hopefully this Crossfire Hurricane redux will be short circuited and exposed for what it is. Over at The Federalist Margot Cleveland has another edifying column extensively detailing the law germane to this FBI misconduct.

Sorry, but you can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube. This info went right to the White House.

Cannot believe a word they say. They have Zero credibility.

Like their predecessors in other fascist and communist controlled states, the new American Stasi would use the characterization of ‘limited set’ no matter how much of what they seized that they should not have fell into that class.

I think Trump has set them up and is toying with his opposition.
We will skip the holes and use the Rule of Pants…when they start sagging, pull them up before your ass is exposed.

Actually surprised nothing from Mar-A-Lago has been published

    Sanddog in reply to Skip. | August 29, 2022 at 2:07 pm

    Give them time. The FBI will send selected documents to their media stooges and then they’ll lie and claim they weren’t responsible. It’s not like we haven’t seen this scenario play out time after time.

    r2468 in reply to Skip. | August 29, 2022 at 3:48 pm

    There have been some great memes from the redacted copies.

    taurus the judge in reply to Skip. | August 30, 2022 at 8:30 am

    You shouldn’t be.

    It should actually confirm they found nothing (my belief is they know Trump is innocent of anything and they were not looking for anything “incriminating” to begin with- just things to twist into things)

Question for the legal beagles: If a special master is appointed and determines document X is actually attorney-client priviledged, can the FBI agents who reviewed that particular document be disqualified from the investigation? (Reason for asking: I saw Shipwreck post something about that on Twitter, and I’ve never heard of it happening before, so thought I’d ask.)

    r2468 in reply to georgfelis. | August 29, 2022 at 3:51 pm

    Did you mean will the FBI get accommodations for their work. I think the answer to your question is yes participation medals for all who participated.

    taurus the judge in reply to georgfelis. | August 30, 2022 at 8:28 am

    Never heard of such a thing and doubt it would even be possible and if it was would amount to nothing because in very short order, “everybody” knows what is and was in an investigation so “removing people’ would accomplish nothing.

FBI in June: “can you show us where you store the dicuments”
Trump: “Sure, over here under locks guarded by Secret Service, in Melania’s underwear drawer.
FBI: “Whats in that safe”?
Trump: “Nothing like Nuke Codes, Satellite info or secret agents around the world. Nothing in that safe right there”

you’ve got Barnes, Di Genova, and Levin constantly whining about “Trump’s lawyers didn’t do this or that right…why don’t they volunteer their services?

In any real world, this admission would taint their “investigation” beyond any hope of recovery. Of course, we left the real world some years ago.

The CYA movement has begun. Headline:
FBI special agent who opened Trump investigation reportedly escorted out of Bureau headquarters


Wray and Garland are as partisan as they come. Everything they do is to benefit the left. They’re knee deep in this from the get go. Thibault may very well have been escorted out fir a visual or he may just be a patsy.

The only difference between this maggot Garland and Heinrich Himmler is that Garland never served in the military.

The fruit of the poisonous tree. How will ANY of the info they could use, directly or indirectly, be admissible?

Then again, the corruption only seems to grow. November will be telling.

    taurus the judge in reply to oldschooltwentysix. | August 30, 2022 at 2:55 pm

    Let me give you some advice on how best to evaluate this moving forward from the psyop perspective.

    One of the hardest things for a trained observer to do ( because it violates human nature) is to back off of a situation and look at it totally objectively and report exactly what one see’s- not what “interprets” or “believes” he sees) Lets try a field exercise….

    Remember, the DOJ really is one of the most highly trained organizations on Earth so they aint “stupid” regardless of what we think.

    As the smoke clears ( and taking into account there are redactions regarding information we simply don’t know)- it is REASONABLE TO BELIEVE (subject to change with new information of course)…

    The “true” purpose of this raid appears to be for the purpose of Intel gathering for the purpose of anticipating offensive actions planned by Trump so they can develop countermeasures.

    To your point, they have no immediate plan to prosecute Trump on the fruits of THIS RAID ( something else probably but nothing in this raid or the false pretext) so they don’t care if this information is admissible or not.

    I think team Trump figured this out and was forewarned which is why they DELIBERATELY sat on the request for the Special Master to see what the DOJ was going to do. (I have to believe team Trump has their “sources” too)

    I also believe (based on their LACK of action as much as their actions) that the DOJ now fully realizes they were had and are left holding the bag in front of the entire Earth looking like fools.

    The political impact and support not just to Trump as a candidate and MAGA but entrenching the belief/fear that the USG is now totally “out of control” mindset into the masses is paying dividends over many areas. (I think even some Democrats now realize they have created a monster in the left)

    Trump’s goading combined with the DOJ’s silence ( and notice the crickets from the media and the GOPe/RINO caucus also) is very telling indeed.

    Look at all the information on a flat plane generically and see how many ways they fit then see which version has the most supporting evidence (but don’t disregard anything because you never know what small meaningless detail becomes the “case cracker” when some new tidbit properly colors and puts it in context)

    November will probably be telling in that the Democrats will steal again. We’re way past a political solution.

      CapeBuffalo in reply to M Poppins. | September 1, 2022 at 2:21 pm

      Amen Poppins, I expect to see overt and rampant cheating by the Left, especially if the fake polls can’t be skewed sufficiently to fool the public. We are already seeing the Dems / media glooming and dooming the Republicans chances in the midterms, “
      A Blue wave is coming!!”
      A Blue wave of cheating and deceit.

I’m no lawyer, but didn’t the FBI just admit that they executed a general warrant. You know, like the general warrants that are explicitly banned by the fourth amendment. That kind of general warrant?

Warrants are supposed to list the specific items to be obtained during the search, and I’m certain that attorney-client work material was not one of those items. So, they just admitted that either they took things from Mar-a-Lago that the warrant did not permit them to take, or they had a general warrant that let them take anything they wanted.

Either way, what they did was illegal. So, no punishment for anyone, right?

    We have commenters here that keep arguing that case law has established exceptions to the fourth amendment that applicable to the DOJ illegally securing a search warrant against a former POTUS. Of course, it’s too complicated for us to understand so they don’t explain the specifics. IMHO, the constitution means what it says. Just applying common sense to what has been revealed so far, I find it a stretch to believe that case law would justify issuing a general search warrant on affidavits based mostly on newspaper clippings, speculation and specious claims based on political partisanship. Apparently, constitutional law is like a Rube Goldberg invention, a complicated and inefficient way to accomplish a simple task that could be accomplished more easily and more efficiently. Like applying common sense.

      taurus the judge in reply to Pasadena Phil. | August 30, 2022 at 8:25 am

      Well there are exceptions to the 4th- that’s a well known fact and with the exception of enumerated protections, a POTUS is just another person.

      Personally I think those commenters are using a non sequitur “truth” as a red herring.

      I do need to point out a “distinction with a difference” between the terms “illegal” and “unlawful” in legalese usage.

      “Illegal” is a plain outright violation of a “thing” that is spelled out in codified law. (murder is illegal, driving 60 in a 35 is illegal)

      “unlawful” is much more “fuzzy”- its common usage is where there is not a specific “line” (either defining it as illegal or legal) and requires a test, evaluation, judgement etc.

      The MAL SW is clearly NOT “illegal” by any proper application of the term.

      Unlawful is a different matter but there is a constraint based on the redacted affidavit for cause which “may” ( or may not) address everything.

      Based on what I see and experience, at BEST the SW is about as weakly “lawful” as possible bordering on unlawful ( smoke curling off of the backs scenario) and at worst unlawful in whole or part.

      That’s going to require litigation and a decision and involved all of the affidavit.

      That aside, I think they only got what team Trump put there for them to get ( which is why nothing has been leaked because there is nothing “to” leak).

      I think this alleged 40 page response to the special master inquiry is also a word salad defense presented to AVOID answering the questions I am sure team Trump will ask about the vagueness of the warrant.

Two events are going to occur in the next 60 days. The organized crime syndicate masquerading as the Democratic Mob will have Trump indicted on some fraudulent issue they have spent the last 6 years concocting. This alone will spark huge protests, armed protests, and chaos. The second event will be the Obiden Junta managing to once again steal the election through massive election fraud and manipulation. The result will be a civil war unlike any this nation has ever witnessed, The Obiden Junta has about 7 strongholds in the major cities and once these pockets are isolated and cut off from food and energy supplies the Obiden slave hordes will eat their manipulators alive.

    M Poppins in reply to panamapat. | August 30, 2022 at 5:37 pm

    I agree with part of what you say – definitely that the Democrats will steal again. Unfortunately they have heavily armed troops who will shoot to kill any protesters, and though people on our side keep saying that we’re the ones with guns and the Democrats are vegan sissies, our armed men aren’t organized into units to resist the national guard/military.

All of this legal back and forth over the raid and materials is like locking the barn door after the horse has escaped.
The whole point of the raid was to find info/intel on Trump’s “Operation Crossfire” suit, as well as any and all his plans for running in 2024.
If any of what they seized contains that sort of info/intel then their mission was a success as they can now plan a counter-attack. There will be few leaks of what they found (except “fake news”) because it was all about covering their criminal asses. They’ll play the legal long game, drag this out for as long as they like, even looking for something they could potentially charge him with – that would just be gravy on the whole enterprise. This has been an “ass covering op” from the git-go.

I wonder if the attorney-client privileged information was related to the “classified” information?
If Trump had any information on the FBI’s spying on him, I would assume the FBI would have classified that information as Top Secret. The harm to the United States, of public disclosure of the FBI illegally spying on a Presidential Candidate, would meet the criteria for a Top Secret classification, even though it would be just to avoid embarrassment/arrest of the wrong doers.

There are more than a few Republican commentators who have lamented the apparent lack of aggressiveness on the part of Trump’s legal team. I’m not in that camp. I have great respect for Jim Trusty. My hunch is that a trap has been laid and with the complete cataloguing of the items seized in the raid (perhaps by a Special Master or else by the Justice Department’s own appointed agents), the Trump response will be swift. I expect Trusty et al will file suit charging the entire event was an unconstitutional search in clear violation of both the letter and spirit of the Fourth Amendment. You can’t read the Fourth Amendment and not realize that the raid was exactly what the framers wrote to prohibit. It is textbook. The raid was totally lacking in specificity. There was no clear description of the place to be searched (except the entirety of the estate itself) and no particularity expressed as to “the persons or things to be seized.” Indeed, we have yet to learn the stipulated probable cause and the names of the individuals whose oath or affirmation supported that probable cause.

What will remain after the proceeding which will adjudge the entire search and seizure unconstitutional will be the complete catalog (perhaps compiled by the agents themselves) of evidence which can never be used in any claims or charges which might be leveled against Donald Trump. What will remain will be 15 boxes of interesting library materials which may illuminate and illustrate the country’s heritage during the Trump years but, for legal purposes, will be useless evidence most likely excluded from any proceedings under the fruit of the poisonous tree legal doctrine.

Merrick’s Mar-a-Lago Marauders may have thought they were unearthing the Mother Lode of incriminating evidence against Trump but instead they were just harvesting a tree-full of poisonous fruit that would taint all manner of cases that might be brought against him in the future. In fact, they were pretty much declaring any contemplated actions (including the public hanging) off limits.

BierceAmbrose | August 30, 2022 at 4:02 pm

Rope a dope.

Always great to hear from someone on a first-name basis with General Hayden! What a thoughtful patriot! And I thought his name was Michael.

Trump has the worlds greatest talent of hiring the worlds worst attorneys.

Now what shall we do with our naughty Feds?

This, and the confiscated document list, are as insane as the Riefenstahl speech on Phila. yesterday.

But Biden is professor John Gill, a senile and probably drugged up puppet being a manipulated.

What I want to know is who wrote the Red Storm Rising Riefenstahl Rant (tm/. That’s who the true enemies of freedom are.