Donald Trump’s attorneys were required to verify yet another of the former president’s assertions on Thursday, that the FBI “placed” data, by U.S. District Judge Raymond Dearie, who is serving as a special master in the Mar-a-Lago documents case.
Dearie required Trump’s legal team to provide a list by September 30 of particular things in the Justice Department’s 11-page inventory of papers obtained from the Mar-a-Lago resort that “plaintiff asserts were not confiscated from the premises.” These items were to include top-secret files. The ruling demands that they also provide a list of any things confiscated that weren’t included in the inventory.
According to Dearie, “Plaintiff’s submission shall be the last opportunity to raise any factual issue as to the completeness and accuracy of the Detailed Property Inventory.”
Trump has asserted time and time again that the FBI “planted” data at Mar-a-Lago when they raided his private club and home last month and took numerous boxes of papers. The former president had hidden the boxes there after he left office in January 2021. Does anyone have planting information? Trump inquired on his Truth Social platform following the seizure of the information, most likely before he saw the inventory list.
Trump, however, also claimed that he and family members observed Mar-a-search Lago’s material removal on security cameras. This raises the question of how the FBI could have concurrently covertly planted evidence. During the search, two of Trump’s attorneys were also present at Mar-a-Lago, and one of them approved a list of the boxes and “miscellaneous top secret documents” that were taken.
In no court documents have Trump’s attorneys alleged that evidence was fabricated. Additionally, contrary to what Trump has argued, Trump’s attorneys have not asserted that any of the documents were declassified by the former president prior to their removal from the White House.
The only person to openly support Trump’s assertion that he had issued a “standing order” to declassify anything taken from the White House is his steadfast buddy and former Pentagon official Kash Patel. In an interview with Sean Hannity on Fox News on Wednesday, Trump asserted that he could declassify papers without going through any formal procedures and by simply “thinking about it.”
Tuesday, Dearie demanded proof from Trump’s legal team that he had actually declassified any of the files he had stolen. Trump’s attorneys haven’t outlined Trump’s opinion on that in any court documents either.
It has been stated by attorneys that they do not wish to present a declassification argument prior to a formal trial. Dearie cautioned, though, that “as far as I’m concerned, that’s the end of it” if they won’t even claim that records were declassified and the Justice Department proves they were.
You can’t have your cake and eat it, he continued.
At Trump’s request, a special master was appointed to examine approximately 11,000 pages of papers to see if any of them might be protected by executive privilege or the attorney-client privilege. The Trump legal team provided Dearie’s name.
The Justice Department can start studying the seized classified information, according to a decision made on Wednesday by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, which partially overturned an earlier stay ordered by U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon. Dearie was not allowed to review the documents with the designation “classified” by the appeals court.
Legal experts have challenged Cannon’s decision to safeguard Trump’s access to the Mar-a-Lago data, and she has since changed her own ruling. It now reads, “about one hundred documents bearing classified markings no longer constitute material subject to a special master review.”
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