Donald Trump’s legal team presented their case Thursday before a federal judge for a special master to be assigned to the Department of Justice’s probe into the Mar-a-Lago files.

What’s at play: Since the FBI’s surprise search for classified documents at Mar-a-Lago, former President Donald Trump has been lobbying for a special master — a court-appointed attorney for specific tasks — to be assigned to oversee the DOJ’s review process of the documents.

  • Judge Aileen Cannon, appointed as a federal judge by Trump in 2020, did not make a decision, but seemed inclined to approve the request. 
  • “Ultimately, what is the harm of appointing a special master to review these materials?” she asked, per Reuters.

Why it matters: Appointing a special master to review the documents could delay the investigation, DOJ lawyers have said, per CNN. And though a special master acts in the interest of the court, the appointment could indirectly benefit Trump, depending on recommendations submitted to the judge.

What else did the judge say? Cannon also indicated she would unseal a more thorough inventory of the items seized on Aug. 8 by FBI agents.

  • The DOJ has released a property receipt and a heavily redacted affidavit used to obtain the search warrant, but information has been limited. 
  • A photo attached to a recent DOJ court filing revealed some of the documents had top secret classification.
Why the newly-released Mar-a-Lago photo worries former intelligence officials
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Key quote: Trump’s lawyers have made several arguments, such as invoking executive privilege. They also have downplayed the importance of the documents. James Trusty, a lawyer on Trump’s team, compared the situation to an “overdue library book.”

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