Politics

Trump’s Special Master Is Now Hurting Him

Trump’s attempt to delay the Florida case is not only failing to get him any real delay; the tactic is now firmly backfiring.

After classified documents were found at Mar-a-Lago, Trump and his legal team must have believed that an indictment was near-imminent. We know this because Trump sought to delay a process in which he hasn’t even been charged with filing that is rarely seen. It is not uncommon at all for some defendants to press to bring matters to a standstill. But, again, Trump hadn’t been charged. Enter the Special Master.

Trump offered up former FISA judge Raymond Dearie who oversaw the Carter Page matter, on the belief that Dearie would hold a grudge or at least be more skeptical of the FBI. In effect, they applied Trumpian-logic, hoping that Dearie would want to protect Trump in a legal question unrelated to the FBI.

It didn’t work out that way. From The Daily Beast:

Raymond Dearie, the semi-retired Brooklyn federal judge specifically brought in to second-guess the Justice Department, has actually used his special master role to speed up the review.  On Friday, Dearie set an Oct. 28 deadline to know what documents Trump actually wants to hold back from the DOJ on the head-scratching theory that a former president can cite “executive privilege” that somehow supersedes the current executive branch.

And with respect to the bizarre claims out of court, Dearie wants Trump’s team to provide any evidence that Trump declassified the documents or that the FBI planted the files by the end of the week. It is a fast “put up or shut up” order that is separate from the question regarding whether executive privilege is a “thing” in this context and, if it is, whether the privilege covers these documents.

Dearie wants to clear away the B.S. fast, thus making Trump look like an even bigger fool whose public pronouncements are complete lies—hurting Trump.

The Daily Beast sets out that Trump has already suffered his own self-inflicted fate in the 11th Circuit, too:

The 11th Circuit panel even called out Trump for publicly claiming it was fine for him to have classified records because he’d already declassified them—maybe even in his head, as he mused to Fox News. The appellate panel noted that Trump’s lawyers have yet to make that argument before Dearie (perhaps, as some have pointed out because lying to a judge would cost them their license to practice law).

“[Trump] suggests that he may have declassified these documents when he was president. But the record contains no evidence that any of these records were declassified. And before the special master, [Trump] resisted providing any evidence that he had declassified any of these documents,” the panel wrote.

The 11th Circuit and Judge Raymond Dearie are not allowing Trump’s delay tactic to work. The courts have far more leeway to strip arguments that delay a case when charges haven’t been filed. If an indictment is handed down, Trump will have more opportunities for a real delay because the rules of criminal procedure, rules meant to protect a defendant’s rights, kick in.

But even there, Trump faces problems. Any indictment that may come down will publicly lay out Trump’s actions that led to the indictment. There will still be a few portions blacked out to protect certain sources. But the public will get far facts to support indicting Trump. The facts – if charged – will almost surely be very compelling, or they wouldn’t go forward. Thus, slowing the process down after an indictment doesn’t provide Trump much cover. Many people will see him as guilty right out of the gate.

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