Former President Donald Trump’s attorneys responded to the Department of Justice (DOJ) and argued that a special master is necessary to protect Trump’s rights in the FBI investigation.
There has been a constant tug of war between the DOJ and Trump’s legal team since the startling raid on his Florida home by the FBI early last month. The DOJ accused Trump on Tuesday of attempting to obstruct the investigation into what they say is mishandling of government documents.
Trump’s team responded forcefully, pointing towards news earlier in the week that showed the DOJ has already reviewed the documents. In the court filing, they said that “there is no guarantee” that papers the DOJ described as “limited” are the only ones taken from his residence.
The three attorneys also believe that the DOJ could “impugn, leak, and publicize” only parts of the investigation if they are “left unchecked.”
Trump's legal team reiterated the argument that the former president’s constitutional rights had been violated, while sidestepping DOJ’s claims of obstruction of justice. https://t.co/XK3bFAFUbR
— U.S. News & World Report (@usnews) September 1, 2022
Calling their seizures “rummaged proceeds,” the former president’s legal team noted that the need for a special master remains.
There are many determinations left to be made, the court filing argued, including executive privilege, a detailed inventory, and making “independent attorney-client privilege assessments.”
The court filing did not address declassification or the DOJ’s assertion of obstruction of justice.
Following the filings by both sides, lawyers for Trump and the DOJ met in a federal courtroom in Florida Thursday. Both repeated the arguments they previously made in front of Judge Aileen Cannon, with Trump’s representation reasserting the need for a special master.
Another request made by the Trump team was to have the special master share evidence that the DOJ has with them, including the full affidavit that laid out the government case to obtain the search warrant.
One attorney, Chris Kise, told Judge Cannon that she is in a unique position to “restore order (and) public confidence” in the case.
Attorney James Trusty cast aspersions on the entire investigation, comparing the FBI raid to seize the documents as a case involving an “overdue library book.”
Whatever the outcome, justice is ultimately served in this case by maximum transparency. It does the Department of Justice no good to insist on the level of secrecy it has while at the same time carrying out a highly publicized and unprecedented raid on the home of a former president.