Federal prosecutors leveled a double-barreled response to counter former President Donald Trump's request for a special master in his classified-documents dispute, suggesting that the Trump team tried to hide national security papers during the lengthy negotiations that ended with an FBI raid of Trump's Florida home, the Washington Post reports. Adorned with a photo of classified papers found in Trump's office, the Justice Department's filing alleges that "government records were likely concealed and removed" from a storage room that Trump's lawyers claimed was the only place where they might be, "and that efforts were likely taken to obstruct the government's investigation."
The filing lays out the most detailed case yet by the government that classified, national-security documents remained exposed to potential compromise at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort after nearly 17 months of wrangling with federal officials laying claim to sensitive government property. U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon has scheduled a Thursday hearing on Trump's lawyers' request that a special master review the files seized Aug. 8 by the FBI, a move that prosecutors argue is unnecessary at this point and potentially disruptive of the criminal investigation of the handling of the papers. Cannon, a Trump appointee, said last Saturday that she was inclined to appoint a special master. Washington lawyer George Conway, a frequent Trump critic, told a CNN interviewer that Tuesday's filing proved that the ex-president's lawyers blundered into the latest revelations. "Basically," Conway said, they asked for the Justice Department to punch them in the face. And that's what the Justice Department did in this brief."