- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Documents seized from former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residences last month included analyses about possible pardons, legal bills and retainer agreements with lawyers, and details of calls with foreign presidents, according to a log of potentially privileged materials inadvertently posted in a public court document on Wednesday.

The glimpse into the mundane documents grabbed by the FBI came on the day a federal appeals court handed Mr. Trump a legal loss by granting the Justice Department‘s request to fast-track its appeal of a Brooklyn federal judge’s appointment as a special master to review documents seized in the Aug. 8 search.

The list of materials seized in that search was attached to a recently unsealed Aug. 30 report from the Justice Department’s so-called “filter team,” which was reviewing the materials. It was supposed to stay under seal but somehow got posted on the public court docket.



Bloomberg News, which first reported the error, shared the filing which is no longer publicly available online.

The DOJ lawyers reviewing the documents divided the potentially privileged materials into two categories. Together, the categories cover 520 pages of records, some of which included personal property or private communication.

The first tranche of roughly 137 pages was not deemed protected by attorney-client or executive privilege and the filter team said the materials should be turned over to investigators.


SEE ALSO: DOJ wins court fight to fast-track its appeal of special master reviewing Trump documents


“As such, virtually none of those materials appears to be privileged attorney-client communications or protected under the attorney work product doctrine,” the Justice Department wrote.

Among the records found in that tranche were communications about granting clemency to Rod Blagojevich, the former Democratic Illinois governor. Mr. Trump commuted his sentence for illegally trying to sell the Senate seat vacated by President Obama.

A second “internal pardon package,” suggested clemency for individuals only identified as RN, IR, JC, and MB.

Another tranche of records included 35 pages of documents described as “the president’s calls,” with a note that a call to “Rudy” was likely Mr. Trump seeking advice from his attorney, former New York City Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani. The filter team said the conversation “does not appear, on its face, to be related to legal advice.”

Items also included folders labeled NARA, for the National Archives and Records Administration, and a draft version of an immigration policy document.

Several printed emails were included in the tranche, including a National Security Council email about the release of John Walker Lindh, an American who pleaded guilty to supporting the Taliban. Another email was from the head baseball coach at the U.S. Air Force Academy.


SEE ALSO: House Republicans prepare to rein in FBI, DOJ with strict oversight and new laws


The second tranche of documents was recommended to be deemed “privileged” and thus returned to Mr. Trump. Those materials included records related to Mr. Trump’s taxes, invoice for legal work, and copies of legal retainers for lawyers hired by the former president.

Other documents in that stack of documents included a publicly released letter from Mr. Trump’s doctor during the 2016 campaign and the explanation of an insurance plan’s benefit.

Among the legal documents were items related to his lawsuit against his niece, Mary Trump, for helping The New York Times obtain thousands of pages of his tax documents. Another item detailed the agreement with Mr. Trump’s lawyers to defend him in the libel suit filed by E. Jean Carroll, a writer who has accused Mr. Trump of sexually assaulting her.

The tranche also includes documents related to his election lawsuits in Georgia, including invoices and agreements to retain counsel.

An invoice from the law firm where White House counsel Pat Cipollone previously worked included two Post-it notes, with one reading, “said you agreed to pay this bill? Work prior to his becoming WH counsel,” and another reading, “No.”

Another file included Mr. Trump’s letter of resignation from the Screen Actors Guild, which sought to remove him after the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol.

The 520 pages of records detailed in the filing are just a minuscule percentage of the 200,000 pages recovered by the FBI during the Aug. 8 search of Mar-a-Lago.

On Tuesday, Mr. Trump asked the Supreme Court to allow a special master to review 100 documents with classified markings that the FBI removed from his residence and office in his private Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida.

An appellate court last month ruled those documents didn’t need to be reviewed by the special master and could be used by the Justice Department as part of its criminal probe into whether Mr. Trump mishandled classified documents.

• Jeff Mordock can be reached at jmordock@washingtontimes.com.

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