Former President Donald Trump’s attorneys filed a persuasive and somewhat snarky reply to the Department of Justice’s argument against assigning a neutral special master to cull through the hundreds of documents confiscated by the FBI during its notorious and unprecedented Mar-a-Lago raid. They also took aim at the feds for claiming that Trump had “classified documents,” something Trump’s attorneys put in scare quotes throughout the argument to U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon. They claimed no one has yet established if documents were classified.
Trump’s Florida home was raided due to a “document storage dispute that…spiraled out of control,” the former president’s lawyers argued in a court filing on Monday. They argued that “the Government wrongfully seeks to criminalize the possession by the 45th President of his own Presidential and personal records.” Indeed, the court filing included an explication of the Presidential Records Act inferring that it was the FBI and DOJ who were wrongly in possession of the documents.
Last week in court, federal attorneys argued for a stay to Cannon’s order to use a special master. The feds argued that any attempt to even temporarily stop them from going through Trump’s papers while they wait for a special master to decide which are privileged would cause “irreparable harm.”
But the former president’s attorneys weren’t having it. Trump’s lawyers mocked the DOJ’s trust us, we’re from the government arguments by citing the fact that the feds had already screwed up by taking documents that were obviously personal and privileged. The feds took Trump’s medical records, passports, 500 pages of attorney/client privileged material. And according to Trump, they also went through his teenage son’s room and his wife’s closet.
The FBI claimed the former president possessed “classified records.” They disputed whether the records the 30 FBI agents took were even classified. They wrote, “the Government contends that President Trump can have no such interest in the purported ‘classified records.’ But, again, the Government has not proven these records remain classified. That issue is to be determined later.”
“The Government claims this Court cannot enjoin use of the documents the Government has determined are classified,” they wrote, emphasizing the claim by the feds that the judge should trust them to determine which documents are classified and which are not, instead of a special master.
“Therefore, the argument goes,” they wrote. “[A]s President Trump has no right to have the documents returned to him—because the Government has unilaterally determined they are classified—the Government should be permitted to continue to use them, in conjunction with the intelligence communities, to build a criminal case against him.” The four attorneys claimed once again that “there still remains a disagreement as to the classification status of the documents. The Government’s position therefore assumes a fact not yet established.”
Trump’s attorneys hit back at the “classified records” claim, again noting that Trump had the sole right to classify and declassify documents as president, and therefore possess them, more so than the FBI agents and DOJ attorneys who took them.
Furthermore, in a footnote, the Trump team took a shot at the feds for caring so much about classified documents that they had no problem leaking about documents to the news media. One story alluded to Trump possessing nuclear secrets.
“The Government is apparently not concerned with unauthorized leaks regarding the contents of the purported “classified records”…and would presumably be prepared to share all such records publicly in any future jury trial. However, the Government advances the untenable position in its Motion that the secure review by a Court appointed and supervised special master under controlled access conditions is somehow problematic and poses a risk to national security.”
In another footnote, they drove the point home, remarking, “neither leaks nor the prospect of a public jury trial appear to raise any concerns regarding irreparable harm. Apparently, only the secure review by a Court appointed and supervised special master under controlled access conditions poses a risk to national security.”
The feds have maintained that since they’ve gone through the documents already, there’s no need for a neutral third party to decide what’s what, that the country will have to trust them. But Trump’s lawyers argued, aw, hell naw.
“A criminal investigation of this import—an investigation of a former President of the United States by the administration of his political rival—requires enhanced vigilance to ensure fairness, transparency, and maintenance of the public trust.”
“Given the significance of this investigation” and likely with the fake Russia Collusion hoax perpetrated by many of the same people in mind, they argued, “the Court recognizes, as does President Trump, that it must be conducted in the public view.”
See the story about one of Trump’s suggested special master candidates nearby.