Former US President Donald Trump may have hidden documents during an FBI search of his property in June, Justice Department officials say.

In a court filing, the department said "it is likely that efforts were made to obstruct the government's investigation."

They claimed agents were "expressly prohibited" from searching a storage box at Trump's Mar-a-Lago residence.

Other data is likely to have been "hidden and removed" from a storage room, officials said, the

bbc reports.

US presidents must turn over all their documents and emails to a government agency called the National Archives – and the FBI is investigating whether Mr Trump mishandled the records by sending them from the White House to Mar- a-Lago after leaving office in January 2021.

He has denied any wrongdoing and said the items were declassified.

Trump has sued the state over the documents that were taken from his estate and is demanding that the government return any items that were not the subject of the search warrant.

His lawyers had also asked that a "neutral" third-party lawyer — known as a special evaluator — be brought in to determine whether the seized files are covered by executive privilege, which allows presidents to keep certain communications secret.

Special evaluators are typically appointed in criminal cases where there are concerns that some evidence may be protected under attorney-client privilege, or other defenses that may make it inadmissible in court.

The latest court filings made by the Justice Department on Tuesday are in response to Trump's lawsuit.