WASHINGTON — The FBI’s search of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago property dealt with the Justice Department’s most urgent priority in the monthslong showdown, according to officials, which was retrieving classified information.
Investigators are now pursuing the next steps of the department’s criminal investigation into the handling of national security material and presidential records, a process that may take many months to play out, and will be shaped by several factors.
They include what specifically investigators find in the seized documents; why they ended up at Mar-a-Lago; who accessed them at the Florida resort, as well as the actions of Trump and his lawyers as the two sides negotiated for months in the spring for the return of the records, according to people familiar with the inquiry.
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Trump on Sunday asserted on his social-media platform that the FBI took material protected by attorney-client privilege and asked for the material back. The Justice Department has set up what is known as a “filter team,” a separate group of agents and lawyers to review the materials and determine whether any of them are protected by such privilege before they will be provided to investigators, according to people familiar with the team.
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