The US Justice Department and Donald Trump’s lawyers are vying for different candidates to serve as a special master to review records the FBI seized from the former president’s Florida estate, and they disagree over whether classified records should be excluded from the review.
In a joint filing on Friday evening, the Justice Department told US District Judge Aileen Cannon that Trump’s legal team was insisting the special master should be allowed to review “all seized materials, including documents with classification markings”.
Trump’s lawyers also want the special master, an independent third party, to review the records for possible executive privilege claims – a mandate the department opposes.
Both sides also each proposed two different sets of possible candidates for the job, though they said they intend to inform the court about their views on each others’ candidate list by Monday.
The Justice Department said it is proposing two candidates for special master: retired judge Barbara Jones, who previously served as a special master in cases involving two of Trump’s former lawyers, or retired judge Thomas Griffith.
Trump’s team, meanwhile, proposed former judge Raymond Dearie and Paul Huck, Florida’s former Deputy Attorney General.
The filing came after Cannon, a Trump appointee in Fort Pierce, Florida, ordered the appointment of a special master arbiter on Monday, granting a request by Trump.
After the Justice Department warned late on Thursday that doing so could slow the government’s effort to determine whether classified documents were still missing, Cannon said in a court filing she was willing to consider limiting the special master’s role so that person would not review classified documents.
Trump is under investigation for retaining government records, some of which were marked as highly classified, at his Palm Beach, Florida, home after leaving office in January 2021.
The government is also investigating possible obstruction of the probe.