[guest post by Dana]
As you know, Donald Trump requested a special master to oversee the review of the documents seized from Mar-a-Lago. He requested that U.S. District Judge Raymond Dearie be appointed to the position. The requests were granted. And today, seeming a bit skeptical about Trump’s declassification claims, Judge Dearie pushed back on Trump’s lawyers. It didn’t go well for them:
Judge Raymond Dearie repeatedly challenged Trump’s lawyers for refusing to back up the former president’s claim that he declassified the highly sensitive national security-related records discovered in his residence.
“My view of it is: you can’t have your cake and eat it,” said Dearie, the “special master” picked by U.S. District Court Judge Aileen Cannon to vet Trump’s effort to reclaim the materials taken by federal investigators.
Trump has argued that the 11,000 documents taken from Mar-a-Lago by the FBI pursuant to a search warrant last month were rightfully in his possession, including about 100 bearing classification markings that suggest they contain some of the nation’s most closely guarded intelligence.
But Dearie bristled at the effort by Trump’s lawyers to resist his request for proof that Trump actually attempted to declassify any of the 100 documents that the Justice Department recovered from his estate. Without evidence from Trump, Dearie said his only basis to judge the classification level of the records was the fact that they all bear markings designating them as highly sensitive national security secrets — including some that indicate they contain intelligence derived from human sources and foreign intercepts.
There is more than a bit of irony here given that the individual that Trump’s team requested to be appointed special master, and was, clearly isn’t going to be taken in by the tactics of Trump’s lawyers. On the contrary. What they had counted on in having Judge Dearie as special master, didn’t happen for them today.