'You can’t have your cake and eat it': Donald Trump's special master hearing did 'not appear' to go well
In a Brooklyn courtroom hearing held by Senior U.S. District Judge Raymond Dearie, the Trump handpicked “special master” appeared to signal the Trump team has little ground to stand on.
Judge Dearie is tasked with determining which, if any of the more than 11,000 items federal agents seized from Mar-a-Lago should be returned to the former president, or be singled out over attorney-client privilege claims. He was directed to focus first on the 100 or so that DOJ wants to use to continue their investigation, and to use to determine how badly national security has been harmed.
Trump is making many claims including that the items are covered by executive privilege, attorney-client privilege, were declassified, were reclassified as personal records, and others.
“This is not a criminal case; this is a civil matter,” said Judge Dearie, early into Tuesday afternoon’s hearing.
About 30 minutes in, national security lawyer Brad Moss tweeted, “This Special Master gambit does not appear to be going well for TFG at all,” referring to Trump as “TFG,” the former guy.
Another strong indicator the case was not going well for team Trump, also from Klasfeld:
“Big from Dearie: He presses Trump’s lawyers on what he’s supposed to do. The government provided ‘prima facie evidence’ of classification, ie, the markings. ‘As far as I’m concerned, that’s the end of it.'”
In other words, Judge Dearie is suggesting if the Trump team is refusing to give him proof of which documents were declassified, which they are refusing to do, he will be forced to take the Dept. of Justice’s word.
Attorney Tristan Snell, who successfully prosecuted the Trump University case for the Manhattan DA’s Office, observes: “Judge Dearie makes clear he is taking government’s position that the classified Mar-a-Lago documents are in fact classified. ‘What business is it of the court? … As far as I’m concerned that’s the end of it.’ Trump’s insistence on a special master is NOT going well.”
Later, on the refusal to discus declassification, Judge Dearie told Trump attorney James Trusty, “You can’t have your cake and eat it,” Klasfeld noted.
The Daily Beast reports, “Special Master Raymond Dearie indicated Tuesday that this case could be very simple, and that Trump may be in trouble.”
The headline at Politico was equally harsh for the former president’s attorneys: “Special Master expresses skepticism with Trump team’s assertions.”
“Judge Raymond Dearie pushed Trump’s lawyers repeatedly for refusing to back up the former president’s claim that he declassified the highly sensitive national security-related records discovered in his residence,” Politico reported.
The hearing, marred by technical issues with countless people on the audio line refusing to mute their phones, lasted barely 45 minutes.
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