FBI found more than 11,000 government records at Trump's Florida home

One of the records, released on Friday, provides a little more detail about the 33 boxes and other items the FBI found inside Trump's Mar-a-lago estate.

An aerial view of former US President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago home after Trump said that FBI agents raided it, in Palm Beach, Florida, US August 15, 2022.  (photo credit: REUTERS/MARCO BELLO)
An aerial view of former US President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago home after Trump said that FBI agents raided it, in Palm Beach, Florida, US August 15, 2022.
(photo credit: REUTERS/MARCO BELLO)

The FBI recovered more than 11,000 government documents and photographs during its August 8 search at former President Donald Trump's Florida estate, as well as 48 empty folders labeled as "classified," according to court records that were unsealed on Friday.

The unsealing by US District Judge Aileen Cannon in West Palm Beach came one day after she heard oral arguments by Trump's attorneys and the Justice Department's top two counterintelligence prosecutors over whether she should appoint a special master to conduct a privilege review of the seized materials at Trump's request.

Cannon deferred ruling immediately on whether to appoint a special master but said she would agree to unseal two records filed by the Justice Department.

One of the records, released on Friday, provides a little more detail about the 33 boxes and other items the FBI found inside Trump's Mar-a-lago estate, as part of its ongoing criminal investigation into whether he illegally retained national defense information and tried to obstruct the probe.

The other record that was unsealed is a brief three-page filing by the Justice Department updating the court about the status of its investigative team's review of the documents seized.

Former US President Donald Trump arrives at Trump Tower the day after FBI agents raided his Mar-a-Lago Palm Beach home, in New York City, US, August 9, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/DAVID 'DEE' DELGADO)Former US President Donald Trump arrives at Trump Tower the day after FBI agents raided his Mar-a-Lago Palm Beach home, in New York City, US, August 9, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/DAVID 'DEE' DELGADO)

That filing, dated August 30, said investigators had "completed a preliminary review of the materials seized" and segregated all the records with classification markings.

"The seized materials will continue to be used to further the government's investigation, and the investigative team will continue to use and evaluate the seized materials as it takes further investigative steps, such as through additional witness interviews and grand jury practice," it says.

The Justice Department

The Justice Department's criminal investigation could be potentially put on pause if Cannon agrees to appoint a special master to come in and conduct an independent third-party review of the seized records.

However, Cannon signaled at Thursday's hearing she might be willing to permit US intelligence officials to continue reviewing the materials as part of their national security damage assessment, even if a special master is appointed.

The Justice Department has previously said in court filings it has evidence that classified documents were deliberately concealed from the FBI when it tried to retrieve them from Trump's home in June.

The Justice Department also opposes the appointment of a special master, saying the records in question do not belong to Trump and that he cannot claim they are covered by executive privilege, a legal doctrine that can be used to shield some presidential communications.