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Trump's special master is especially masterful
Judge Raymond Dearie is serving as a fact-checker, extinguishing Trump's late-night lies
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Donald Trump wanted a special master in order to slow down the Department of Justice investigation into his having taken top secret documents from the White House and harbored them at Mar-a-Lago. He thought he’d scored big when the federal judge he’d appointed, Aileen Cannon — whom his lawyers shopped the case to — handed down a ruling that legal experts from across the political spectrum saw as deeply flawed and biased. It allowed his request for a special master and shut down the investigation until the special master’s work was complete.
But instead, the special master, Judge Raymond Dearie — a judge Trump’s own team had suggested as a special master — has turned out to be a fact-checker who’s demanding his lawyers back up his outrageous, idiotic claims in a court of law, something they are loath to do.
First there was the order earlier in the week by Dearie that Trump’s lawyers confirm that Trump declassified highly sensitive documents so Dearie could go about his job of sorting through the documents. As Dearie now famously put it, “You can’t have your cake and eat it.”
The attorneys balked and claimed that doing so would compromise their client in a criminal case, which seemed to be an admission that they’re expecting charges. But Trump has been all over his failing Truth Social platform, at all hours of the night, manically claiming he declassified the all of the documents. He even ridiculously told Sean Hannity on Fox News this week that he declassified “everything” and that he had the power to declassify documents “even by thinking about it.”
Now Dearie has asked the lawyers to back up Trump’s claim the FBI “planted” documents at Mar-a-Lago:
[Dearie]…ordered Trump's team to submit a "declaration or affidavit" of any items in the inventory that were removed from Mar-a-Lago that the "Plaintiff asserts were not seized from the Premises," meaning items that were put there by someone else.
Dearie also asked Trump's lawyers to identify any items that were seized by agents but not listed in the inventory. "This submission shall be Plaintiff’s final opportunity to raise any factual dispute as to the completeness and accuracy of the Detailed Property Inventory," he wrote.
That means Trump’s lawyers have to identify exactly what Trump has suggested was planted. Trump implied that the supposed planted documents included documents about nuclear weapons programs. Back in early August when the Washington Post first broke the story that some of the documents were about sensitive nuke programs, Trump denied any of the documents were about nuclear weapons. (The Post a month later had more detailed reporting explaining that the documents were about another country’s nuclear weapons programs.) At the same time, Trump suggested “planting” of evidence occurred.
“The FBI and others from the Federal Government would not let anyone, including my lawyers, be anywhere near the areas that were rummaged and otherwise looked at during the raid on Mar-a-Lago,” Trump wrote on Truth Social. “Everyone was asked to leave the premises, they wanted to be left alone, without any witnesses to see what they were doing, taking or, hopefully not, ‘planting.’”
Do you think his lawyers are now going to present Dearie with even one document that they claim was planted? Neither do I.
Dearie also irked Trump’s lawyers early this week by stating that he was setting a deadline of October 7th to have the job done, something they thought was rushed — because, of course, they just want to drag this out.
Dearie now has proposed hiring a former magistrate judge who has a top secret security clearance and familiarity with these kinds of investigations to help him go through the documents, ensuring it all happens speedily. He’s calling for paying former Magistrate Judge James Orenstein $500 per day for the work —a fee Trump would have to pay because Cannon, who granted Trump the special master, had stipulated that Trump has to pay for the special master expenses.
Dearie said Trump must pay the money in full and on time or face court sanctions — which had me snickering because Dearie, like the rest of us, clearly knows Trump doesn’t pay his bills.
And all of this comes after Trump lost on appeal at the 11th Circuit, which clobbered Cannon, staying her decision ruling that the Justice Department couldn’t continue the investigation nor get access to the most classified documents. The 11th Circuit ruling deliciously used Dearie’s interactions with Trump’s lawyers — in which they wouldn’t say he declassified documents — in its decision, concluding there was no evidence anything was declassified. And then the three-judge panel — which included two Trump appointees — made the point that the declassification is a “red herring” anyway, as it doesn’t matter if these documents were declassified for the crimes the DOJ is looking at to have been committed.
So now DOJ is back to work investigating Trump for possibly violating the Espionage Act, committing obstruction of justice and mishandling government records, while Dearie is forcing Trump to back up all of his most outrageous and clearly false claims in a court of law.
The stooge MAGA judge, Cannon, can’t help him now. And Trump is probably very sorry he ever asked for the special master.