The Justice Department responded to former President Donald Trump‘s assertion that nine of the documents taken from his Mar-a-Lago estate in August were his “personal” property.

The documents in question included six requests for clemency, two documents regarding  immigration policy and one letter addressed to Trump from an individual at a military academy.

The government referred to the Presidential Records Act in their response, which requires anyone who holds office to hand over all notes, memos, records and anything the President touched to the National Archives at the end of their administration. They maintained that regardless, the records should have been sent to the National Archives when Trump left the White House in 2020.

Location of 15 boxes of White House records at Mar-a-Lago at the beginning of the year first sparked the National Archives to call attention to the possible mishandling of documents by Trump.


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Trump also contended that four of the documents obtained in the FBI’s execution of a search warrant over his Palm Beach, Florida, estate should fall under executive privilege, but the Justice Department responded by saying the claim that documents were both “personal” and under executive privilege is contradictory in itself. To continue the argument, the former President must choose just one.

The special master in the case, Judge Raymond Dearie, also said that confusing arguments and lack of substance hurt Trump’s claims. Trump requested a special master, or a third-party judge, to look over the documents to make sure the Justice Department could not use anything that against him that fell under executive privilege.

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