More than a week after they searched former President Donald Trump’s Florida residence, FBI agents are still sifting through the seized documents, two law enforcement officials briefed on the matter told NBC News.
The FBI's filter team — a group of agents independent of the overall investigation — is tasked with separating out documents that are covered by attorney-client privilege and material deemed not relevant to the probe.
Records deemed relevant are turned over to the investigating agents, while those that are not relevant are returned to Trump. The officials who spoke to NBC News said it was the filter team that determined that Trump’s passports, which he claimed agents “stole” during the search, were considered not relevant and returned to him, as previously reported by NBC News.
The officials also said the filter team is checking to see whether any of the documents or other materials not marked classified include classified information.
The lengthy period of review underscores the large volume of documents that were seized from Mar-a-Lago on Aug. 8, when FBI agents removed 11 sets of classified documents, some of which were labeled secret and top secret.
The case is being run out of the FBI’s Washington field office, and former agency officials say counterintelligence agents are likely to be involved.
In a post on his social media platform, Truth Social, Trump said Sunday that the FBI last week “took boxes of privileged ‘attorney-client’ material, and also ‘executive’ privileged material, which they knowingly should not have taken.”
Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart in Florida has scheduled a hearing Thursday on whether to unseal the affidavit federal investigators used to justify their search warrant after a group of news organizations, including NBC News, filed court papers asking him to publicly release the document. The Justice Department has filed a motion against unsealing the affidavit, arguing it would compromise an ongoing investigation, while Trump's attorneys have yet to file a motion taking a position.