The US Department of Justice, the Trump team is set to file a list of special master candidates on Friday

By Sarah N. Lynch

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Justice Department and former President Donald Trump’s lawyers are set to jointly file a list of potential candidates to serve as a special master to review records seized by the FBI from the former president’s Florida estate .

The deposit can be made anytime on Friday. It was ordered by Trump-appointed U.S. District Judge Elaine Cannon in Fort Pierce, Florida, after she granted Trump’s request Monday for a special master over the Justice Department’s objections. The order temporarily bars prosecutors from reviewing the seized records as part of their ongoing criminal investigation.

The department in a court filing Thursday asked Cannon to suspend two key parts of her order, saying it wants to continue reviewing the seized classified materials for its ongoing investigation and wants to protect them from disclosure to a special master.

He also warned that some classified materials may still be missing, even after an Aug. 8 FBI search of Trump’s home.

The investigation is looking into whether Trump, a Republican, improperly removed classified files from the White House and stored them at his Palm Beach home, and whether he illegally tried to obstruct the investigation by hiding or removing some of the files when the FBI tried to collect them. in June with a jury summons.

Whoever is named special master would have to eliminate anything that should be withheld from prosecutors, either because of attorney-client privilege or executive privilege — a legal doctrine that protects certain White House communications from disclosure.

The US Supreme Court last year sidestepped the question of how far a former president’s claims of privilege can go by rejecting Trump’s bid to withhold White House records from a congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, US Capitol riot. by his supporters.

But the US National Archives, in consultation with the Justice Department, told Trump’s lawyers earlier this year that it cannot claim privilege against the executive branch to protect the records from the FBI.

Cannon’s order, which said U.S. intelligence officials can still continue to use the seized records to conduct national security damage assessments, has been criticized by both Democratic and Republican legal experts.

Lawyers questioned the logic of her decision to include a review of executive privilege because the files are not Trump’s personal property and he is no longer president.

The Justice Department’s “filter team,” a group of agents separate from investigators, has already reviewed more than 11,000 seized records.

It identified approximately 500 documents that could be subject to attorney-client privilege.

Meanwhile, there are more than 100 pages recovered from the FBI’s investigation in August that bear classification indications, including some marked “top secret.”

Prosecutors on Thursday said they cannot easily separate the national security review from their criminal work because the two are linked.

Legal experts have said that finding a special master that both sides can agree on is no easy task.

The person would likely need to have a top-level security clearance, be an executive privilege expert, and be willing to take on a very public role that would propel them into the political spotlight.

(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Editing by Scott Malone and Mark Porter; Grant McCool)

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