Trump Requests Specialized Facility at Mar-a-Lago

( – Former President Trump’s request to set up a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) was met with pushback from the Department of Justice (DOJ) in an August 14 filing. The DOJ ignored the unprecedented nature of a former president being indicted when it claimed in the filing that Trump would be the “only defendant ever” to be allowed access to classified documents at his home. While Trump had a SCIF at Mar-a-Lago when he was president, it was decertified after he left office. The DOJ argued in its filing that Trump “continues to seek special treatment that no other criminal defendant would receive.”

Trump’s attorneys made the request in an August 9 filing, asking for the SCIF “based on the immense practical and logistical hurdles and costs” for the former president to travel back and forth to discuss the materials with his legal counsel. They detailed the inconveniences to the public when planning and traveling with the former president, citing the obligation of the Secret Service to protect him from threats. His attorneys noted that each time Trump has to leave to discuss his case with counsel, it costs the federal government hundreds of thousands of dollars, arguing that the SCIF would be much cheaper to set up and maintain.

Special Counsel Jack Smith previously offered an argument similar to the DOJ’s August 14 filing for a protective order that would have required Trump to discuss sensitive documents in a government-approved SCIF and not at Mar-a-Lago. Trump’s attorneys claimed then that Smith was being misleading, arguing that Mar-a-Lago formerly had a SCIF. They detailed the high level of federal security presence at Trump’s Florida residence, where he not only previously viewed, but housed classified documents.

Trump’s attorneys specified that the former president was not looking to retain any documents at his residence but argued that the government would save money by allowing him a facility to discuss the alleged classified material. The DOJ criticized Trump’s attorneys’ request for Walt Nauta, Trump’s former personal aide, to use the SCIF to have legal discussions about his case. They argued that Nauta has no need to view classified material.

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