During a Tuesday court hearing, an independent judge tasked with reviewing the thousands of documents seized from former President Donald Trump’s residence in Palm Beach, Florida, pressed Trump’s legal team on whether they would provide evidence that Trump declassified any of the materials.

Trump has claimed publicly that he declassified the government records that were taken from Mar-a-Lago. Trump’s legal team has not made such an argument in ongoing litigation surrounding access to the documents, and in court filings on Monday his team said they opposed having to shortly disclose “specific information regarding declassification,” as the Justice Department (DOJ) had requested, and instead proposed timing closer to early November.
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During his first public hearing a special master on Tuesday, Judge Raymond Dearie said that if the government provided him with evidence that there were classified documents taken from Mar-a-Lago, and Trump’s side doesn’t advance “any claim of declassification,” as far as he’s concerned “that’s the end of it” and he’ll believe the materials were classified.

Dearie has been assigned to review all of the materials taken by the FBI in its August search of Mar-a-Lago—including roughly 100 documents containing classification markings—and make recommendations on which should be kept from the Justice Department on the grounds of attorney-client or executive privilege. During Tuesday’s hearing in Dearie’s Brooklyn courtroom, it appeared the judge might not be as sympathetic to Trump’s legal arguments as his team might have hoped when they recommended him for the position. (Trump’s legal team did not respond to TIME’s request for comment, and DOJ declined to comment.)

Read More: Who is Raymond Dearie, the Special Master Reviewing the Mar-a-Lago Documents?

Trump’s attorney Jim Trusty responded that they were not in a position to discuss declassification until they saw the documents in question, and added that they could not fully disclose their defense, per CNN. In a separate filing on Tuesday, Trump’s team also argued that the federal government has failed to provide any evidence that the documents in question are classified, adding that “the president has broad authority governing classification of, and access to, classified documents.”

Whether the roughly 100 documents with classification markings taken from Mar-a-Lago actually are classified sits at the heart of the Justice Department’s investigation, which is probing whether Trump broke federal law by removing the materials from the White House. In an interview with Breitbart News in May, former top Trump aide …read more

Source:: Time – Politics


Special Master Appears Skeptical of Trump’s Claims He Declassified Mar-a-Lago Documents

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