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DOJ makes new claim against Trump — Analysis

Prosecutors have accused the former president’s team of concealing top-secret documents ahead of the raid

Former US President Donald Trump’s team “Most likely hidden or removed” government records in violation of a grand jury subpoena, the Justice Department claimed in a court filing Tuesday night. The perceived need to retrieve those documents was behind the nighttime FBI raid on Trump’s Palm Beach property, Mar-a-Lago, earlier this month. The papers may contain evidence of Trump’s deliberate obstruction, according to the prosecution. 

While Trump has argued it was unnecessary to search his home, claiming to have cooperated with federal officials and returned all classified documents still in his possession months ago, the Justice Department filing counters with a drawn-out chronology of apparently failed efforts to recover the missing papers – in which the Trump team, far from being helpful, was so uncooperative as to arouse suspicion.  

The filing accuses the former president’s team of having “Taken out of the storage space” some of the sensitive records in question after claiming everything the agents wanted was located there, concluding “efforts were likely taken to obstruct the government’s investigation.

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After the Mar-a-Lago raids, 33 boxes were taken by the FBI. 13 of them contained more than 100 documents at different classification levels. Agents had been instructed to confiscate all “Physical documents and records that constitute evidence, contraband or fruits of crime are among the items prohibited.” of federal law. 

Trump has called for a special master to review the seized documents, arguing they are subject to executive and attorney-client privilege and denouncing the raid as a “Quite shockingly agresive” act of political vengeance. The Justice Department said it had reviewed the documents that were deemed to be confidential. The former president has not been charged, but prosecutors suggested Espionage Act violations due to improperly keeping documents that could be of concern for national security.

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