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The Justice Department has given critics a new reason to believe the agency has become politicized in an unprecedented way since Joe Biden took office as president after a court filing on Thursday.
As reported by the UK’s Daily Mail, the DOJ mistakenly “disclosed a list of Donald Trump documents being vetted by ‘privilege review teams’ that were included among thousands of materials seized from Mar-a-Lago.” Included in the exposed documents, “which Trump’s lawyers are trying to keep out of the hands of government investigators, includes discussions about presidential pardons late in Trump’s term – including the pardon of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojovich.”
The documents had been ordered sealed by a federal judge, but they were nevertheless published on government court docket. However, the documents have since been taken offline. Nevertheless, the ‘error’ is likely to fuel new speculation that Biden’s Justice Department is politically biased against the former president.
The Daily Mail adds:
Other documents include communications with Trump’s stable of lawyers – the kind of attorney-client communications Trump has argued must be kept out of the hands of the FBI. Trump has already complained that agents seized ‘medical records’ from his home, although the information accidentally published reveals this may be less than meets the eye.
The inventory lists a ‘medical letter from Dr. Harold Bornstein’ from 2016. Bornstein in 2015 penned an infamous letter, already made public, where he vouched for Trump’s ‘exceptional’ health and his ‘astonishingly excellent’ test results before Trump took office. It was included on a list of materials the government determined should be returned to the former president after being removed during the search.
Nearly three-dozen FBI agents raided Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate Aug. 8. At the time, the DOJ claimed that the former president was illegally in possession of highly classified materials, but Trump has regularly argued that all of the documents in his possession had previously been declassified by him prior to leaving office.
A former top U.S. spy chief has said he believes the FBI came up short during its raid. John Ratcliffe, a former U.S. congressman from Texas whom Trump tapped to serve as director of national intelligence, told Fox News last month that the bureau “didn’t find what they were looking” for, based on his observations.
“I was a former federal prosecutor, United States attorney. Let me tell you what this is about. Good prosecutors with good cases play it straight. They don’t need to play games,” Ratcliffe said, in reference to Justice Department officials. “They don’t need to shop for judges, they don’t need to leak intelligence that may or may not exist.”
The Justice Department’s arguments against having a federal court appoint a special master to review allegedly classified documents “tells you that the government didn’t find what they were looking for,” Ratcliffe continued.
“There weren’t nuclear secrets” at Trump’s estate, he noted further, “and they’re trying to justify what they’ve done. They’re not playing it straight before the American people. I think that that’s going to play out.”
In a late August interview with Newsmax TV’s Rita Cosby, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who served as one of Donald Trump’s top lawyers and is also a former federal prosecutor, said that although a heavily redacted affidavit released by the DOJ showed little, he believes it revealed everything about how the raid and subsequent seizure of documents and items were illegal.
“This is a completely illegal warrant, for numerous reasons, that the least of which is it really isn’t a search warrant,” Giuliani said, going on to point out that the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution was designed to protect Americans from overly broad, invasive searches. “This is a general search warrant. Search warrants are supposed to be for a specific thing,” he said.
Giuliani himself was raided by the FBI in late April 2021, with agents “seizing computers and cellphones in a major escalation of the Justice Department’s investigation into the business dealings” of the former NYC mayor, The Associated Press reported at the time.