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Trump says 15 Mar-a-Lago records, including clemency requests, are his

Oct 21, 2022, 11:04 AM

YOUNGSTOWN, OH - SEPTEMBER 17: Former President Donald Trump speaks at a Save America Rally to supp...

YOUNGSTOWN, OH - SEPTEMBER 17: Former President Donald Trump speaks at a Save America Rally to support Republican candidates running for state and federal offices in the state at the Covelli Centre on September 17, 2022 in Youngstown, Ohio. Republican Senate Candidate JD Vance and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) spoke to supporters along with former President Trump.(Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)

(CNN) — Former President Donald Trump is claiming that records, such as clemency requests, that were kept at Mar-a-Lago are his personal property and shouldn’t be handed back to the federal government, the Justice Department said in a court filing late Thursday.

The filing only addresses a dispute over 15 documents but it demonstrates the potential legal slog ahead given there are roughly 22,000 total to review.

Special master Raymond Dearie is reviewing Trump’s claims of executive privilege over the documents, which were seized from the former President’s Florida home in August.

Six of the documents described by DOJ are clemency requests Trump received while he was President. Two documents relate to immigration and border control laws, presidential powers and initiatives, prosecutors said.

One document is a “printed e-mail message from a person at one of the military academies addressed to the President in his official capacity about the academy’s sports program and its relationship to martial spirit. The message relates at a minimum to the ‘ceremonial duties of the President’ if not to his Commander-in-Chief powers,” the filing says.

Trump’s team has categorized those as personal records, while the federal government says they are presidential records — not Trump’s to keep, and not able to be protected by Trump with any executive privilege claim.

Dearie previously said in a phone call with the parties he was having trouble squaring how Trump could claim some documents were both personal and protected by executive privilege. Four records are in that category among Thursday’s list of 15.

Trump’s attorneys replied, saying that the Justice Department’s account of the 15 documents are “not fully accurate” and that they plan to file a full response Monday. However, Dearie has since instructed the Trump team that the deadline for such a filing is Friday.

Trump’s team and the Justice Department will continue to work through much of the 22,000 records over the coming month, and Dearie is set to make determinations by mid-December.


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Trump says 15 Mar-a-Lago records, including clemency requests, are his