Updated Aug 14, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Trump calls on FBI to return "privileged" documents seized at Mar-a-Lago

Former President Trump leaves Trump Tower to meet with New York Attorney General Letitia James for a civil investigation on Aug. 10. Photo: James Devaney/GC Images)

Former President Trump on Sunday called on the FBI to return seized documents that are allegedly protected by attorney-client and executive privileges.

The big picture: The FBI searched Trump's Mar-a-Lago home on Monday, recovering 11 sets of classified documents.

  • Fox News reported on Saturday that the FBI seized boxes covered by attorney-client privilege and possibly executive privilege, according to unnamed sources familiar with the investigation.

What he's saying: "It has just been learned that the FBI, in its now famous raid of Mar-a-Lago, took boxes of privileged ‘attorney-client’ material, and also ‘executive’ privileged material, which they knowingly should not have taken," Trump said on Truth Social.

  • "By copy of this TRUTH, I respectfully request that these documents be immediately returned to the location from which they were taken," he said.

Of note: House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) told CBS' Face the Nation he'd seen no evidence to support Trump's claim that the documents were declassified.

  • "A former president has no declassification authority," Schiff said.
  • "And the idea that 18 months after the fact Donald Trump could simply announce, 'Well, I'm retroactively declassifying, or whatever I took home had the effect of declassifying them' is absurd."

Background: Trump and his associates have frequently sought to claim executive privilege to prevent the release of documents or information.

  • Trump attempted to claim executive privilege over presidential records that the House Jan. 6 committee requested last year but was denied.
  • Several former White House officials have also refused to appear before the committee, citing executive privilege.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with Rep. Adam Schiff's comments.

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