By Jack Phillips
A former top FBI official said the warrant used to search former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence may be thrown out due to its scope.
On Monday, a federal judged sided with Trump’s lawyers and issued an order approving a special master, or a neutral third-party, to review and take control of materials that were seized from Mar-a-Lago on Aug. 8.
“I think the government would be concerned … there’s concern that the search warrant itself was overly broad from the get-go,” former top FBI counterintelligence official Kevin Brock said in a Tuesday interview, noting that the warrant allowed for the government to look for every document that was generated during Trump’s tenure as president.
“That just seems too inexcusably overbroad,” Brock told Just the News. “Now there’s indications that they (the FBI) collected much more than they were authorized to collect.”
Brock, who was promoted by former FBI Director Robert Mueller in 2004, then suggested that because of its scope, the warrant “could be suppressed … and they would lose access to anything that was collected throughout the search as a fruit of the poisonous tree.”
Historically, Brock said FBI searches are based on warrants that are not “overly broad” and specify “what parts of the residence that can be searched.”
“You can only search those things where it’s reasonably expected you would find the type of evidence that you are looking for,” he continued to say in the interview.
A probable cause affidavit—that was heavily redacted by the Department of Justice—shows prosecutors believed there were classified materials inside Mar-a-Lago. The legal document, which was used to obtain the search warrant, was released last month.
The warrant shows that Trump is under investigation for possible Espionage Act violations and obstruction of justice. Trump has said the raid was politically motivated and designed to hurt his chances if he decides to again run for president.
U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon on Sept. 5 ordered the appointment of a special master to review the seized property for items and documents that may be covered by attorney-client or executive privilege.
In her ruling, Cannon suggested that leaks to the media about the investigation could cause damage to Trump and agreed that it’s necessary to appoint a special master.
“In addition to being deprived of potentially significant personal documents, which alone creates a real harm, Plaintiff faces an unquantifiable potential harm by way of improper disclosure of sensitive information to the public,” Cannon, an appointee of Trump, wrote in her 24-page order.
But the DOJ said that the appointment of a special master would delay the investigation. A spokesperson for the agency, Anthony Coley, said in a Monday statement that the DOJ is reviewing how to proceed.
The judge set a Friday deadline for the DOJ and Trump’s lawyers to submit a proposal for an independent review, including possible candidates to lead the process.