- Trump’s latest salvo in his efforts to secure a special master has been seen as a “public relations dossier” rather than a serious legal document.
- His lawyers recycled the claims of political bias and hinted at his possible 2024 presidential run.
- Notably, they made no mention of his weeks-long claim that he had extensively declassified documents seized at Mar-a-Lago.
Former President Donald Trump’s legal team in a new court filed recycled allegations of political bias against the Justice Department on Wednesday; hinted at his possible 2024 presidential run; and argued that Trump had the right to sue the Justice Department and seek a court-appointed ‘special master’ following the FBI’s search of his Mar-a-Lago estate.
“Three weeks after an unprecedented, unnecessary and legally unsupported raid on the home of a president – and possibly a candidate against the current chief executive in 2024 – the government, represented by the Ministry of Justice…and the United States Attorney’s Office, filed an extraordinary document with the Court, suggesting that the DOJ, and the DOJ alone, should be tasked with assessing its wrongful pursuit to criminalize possession by a former president of personal and presidential records in a secure setting,” the filing read.
He also disputed the Justice Department’s earlier assertion that Trump lacked standing to bring a lawsuit against the United States, saying “it is the reasonable expectation of privacy in his home which triggers the obvious ability of the owner to challenge a search of those premises.”
However, minutes after the court documents were filed, national security experts and former prosecutors pointed out that, like Trump’s original lawsuit, it looked more like a press release than a legal document.
On the one hand, as former federal prosecutor Harry Litman wroteTrump would have standing – or the right to sue – but only if he is charged and “cannot do so in advance”.
And Andrew Weissmann, a former FBI general counsel who later worked in special counsel Robert Mueller’s office, also Noted that contrary to the Trump team’s claim that the Justice Department was “criminalizing” him, only a grand jury could indict him.
“This is how our justice system works,” Weissmann wrote. “It’s another public relations file, not serious.”
Notably, Trump’s team made no mention in Wednesday’s filing of his week-long claim that he had extensively declassified all documents seized at Mar-a-Lago, a claim he was making on Truth. Social as recently as Wednesday morning. He also did not respond to the DOJ’s most damning allegation, made in a filing Tuesday evening: that he had evidence of “likely” efforts to obstruct his investigation into Trump’s handling of information from national security.
Trump first filed a lawsuit last week asking a court-appointed “special master” – usually a former judge – to sift through documents seized in the search and filter out those that might be privileged. But the Justice Department said in its response Tuesday that Trump was not entitled to a special master’s degree because the records in question “do not belong to him.”
The FBI recovered more than two dozen boxes of government documents, some of which were highly classified and marked top secret, after executing a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago earlier this month. This is in addition to 15 boxes of documents that Trump turned over in January in response to a request from the National Archives.
The department also presented the most detailed account yet of investigators’ suspicions that Trump and his team misled them when they, in a June 3 letter, claimed to have returned all classified records stored at Mar-a-Lago in government after a “diligent search”. .”
The FBI “recovered twice as many documents with classification marks as the ‘diligent search'” that Trump’s attorney and other representatives “had weeks” to perform, the DOJ said in its response to the Trump trial. This “seriously calls into question the representations made in the June 3 certification and casts doubt on the extent of cooperation in this matter.”
Tuesday’s DOJ filing was “devastating and deserved a serious and specific response,” wrote longtime former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti. But Trump’s response was “long on hyperbole and short on law” and seemed to dodge “the most damning detail.”