Trump Claims 9 White House Records Are His Personal Property

  • Donald Trump claims that several documents from his time in the White House are his personal property.
  • The DOJ filed a letter refuting his claims, saying the documents belonged to the National Archives.
  • The FBI seized thousands of documents during a raid on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago in August.

Former President Donald Trump and the Justice Department are already at odds over the first batch of government-seized White House documents that will undergo early review by a special master — and there are still thousands of records to review.

The DOJ outlined the dispute in a letter Thursday night to Judge Raymond J. Dearie, who has been tasked with overseeing a review of the more than 13,000 documents seized by the FBI during a raid on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence in August.

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According to the letter, Trump claims that nine of the 15 documents included in the first round to be reviewed are his personal property and should be returned to him. However, the administration disagrees, scoffing at Trump’s suggestion that the documents from his time in the White House are protected by executive privilege, saying the official documents should be deposited with the National Archives.

The conflict likely signals further legal battles to come over the thousands of records yet to be reviewed in the DOJ’s investigation into whether Trump mishandled official White House records after he left office.

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Among the disputed documents in the initial batch are materials related to six clemency requests from Trump’s time in office, according to the DOJ letter, which said the documents include “supporting material and relate to the president’s” power to grant reprieves and pardons for crimes against the U.S. the states.'”

It was not clear who requested the pardon in question.

Trump also disputed the control of two documents related to his administration’s immigration initiatives, as well as an email he received while in office from someone at a military academy, the letter said.

The Justice Department cited the Presidential Records Act, which classifies any material created or obtained while a president is in office as government property and destined for the National Archives at the end of his term.

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Federal lawyers also rebuked Trump’s claim that the FBI took his personal records during the court-authorized search warrant earlier this year.

“Personal records that are not government property are seized every day for use in criminal investigations. And the fact that more than 100 classified documents were mixed with unclassified and even personal records is important evidence in the government’s investigation in this case,” the letter said .

The Justice Department’s Thursday letter comes a week after the Supreme Court rejected Trump’s request to intervene in the ongoing dispute, dealing a major blow to the former president’s efforts to slow the investigation.

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