Special Master Scolds Trump Lawyers On Mar-A-Lago Documents: ‘You Can’t Have Your Cake And Eat It’
The special master who former President Donald Trump requested in the Justice Department’s investigation into his possible mishandling of classified documents seemed skeptical of his claims that he “declassified” the documents before taking them to his Mar-a-Lago residence.
Judge Raymond Dearie has been tasked as a third party to review the documents and determine which records fall under executive privilege or attorney-client privilege.
Dearie indicated that if there are no criminal charges and Trump’s lawyers decline to formally say the records were declassified, and if the Justice Department has a case for why the documents should remain classified, he will not challenge it.
“As far as I’m concerned, that’s the end of it,” he said.
Trump’s lawyers have not provided any proof that the documents were declassified by the former president, but continue to make reference to the fact that the documents may have been declassified.
“In the case of someone who has been president of the United States, they have unfettered access along with unfettered declassification authority,” Trump lawyer James Trusty said during the meeting.
Trump’s legal team continued to explain that Trump may use the declassification argument if he’s indicted, so they shouldn’t be forced to outline their plan or bring evidence forward prematurely.
“It’s not about gamesmanship. It’s about not having seen the documents. … We are not in a position, nor should we be in a position at this juncture, to fully disclose a substantive defense,” Trusty continued. “We shouldn’t have to be in a position to have to disclose declarations and witness statements.”
“You can’t have your cake and eat it,” Dearie responded.
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