Trump claims 15 records at Mar-a-Lago are his, including pardons


Former President Donald Trump claims records kept at Mar-a-Lago, such as pardons, are his personal property and should be returned to the federal government, the Justice Department said in a court filing late Thursday.

The filing only addresses the dispute over 15 documents, but shows the potential legal slog ahead, with about 22,000 in total up for review.

Special Master Raymond Dearie is reviewing Trump’s claims of executive privilege over documents seized from the former president’s Florida home in August.

Six of the documents described by the DOJ are pardon applications received by Trump while he was president. Prosecutors said the two documents relate to immigration and border control laws, presidential powers and initiatives.

One document is a “printed email from a military academies official in his official capacity to the president about the academy’s athletic program and its relationship to the martial spirit. The message pertains at least to the “ceremonial duties of the president,” if not to his commander-in-chief powers,” the filing says.

Trump’s team has classified them as personal records, which the federal government says are presidential records, not Trump’s to keep, and Trump cannot protect them with any claim of executive privilege.

Dearie said earlier in a phone call with parties that Trump had trouble saying some of the documents were personal and protected by executive privilege. There are four records in that category among Thursday’s list of 15.

Trump’s lawyers responded, saying the Justice Department’s account of the 15 documents is “not entirely accurate” and that they plan to file a full response on Monday.

Trump’s team and the Justice Department will continue to work through many of the 22,000 records next month, with Dearie expected to make decisions by mid-December.