A federal judge granted former President Donald Trump’s request for a special master to examine the documents seized from his Mar-a-Lago home.
- District Court Judge Aileen Cannon authorized the appointment of an outside legal expert to review the seized materials for any documents that could be covered by claims of attorney-client and executive privilege.
- Judge Cannon’s decision is a setback for the government and a victory for Trump’s legal team.
- Federal prosecutors strongly opposed the Trump legal team’s request as the appointment of a special master will likely slow the pace of the investigation.
- Although prosecutors may not further review or use the seized documents in their investigation until after the special master’s review is complete, the judge said “the intelligence community’s ongoing damage assessment of the documents’ storage at Mar-a-Lago could continue.”
- The New York Times wrote, “the scope and candor of Judge Cannon’s language and reasoning pointed to broader themes. Her ruling seemed to carve out a special exception to the normal legal process for the former president and reject the Justice Department’s implicit argument that Mr. Trump be treated like any other investigative subject.”
- The Washington Post argued the ruling decided that “Trump has rights to make claims in this investigation that an ordinary citizen would not” and the ruling has the potential to complicate the Justice Department’s claims that Trump cannot invoke executive privilege.
- CNN called the ruling a “significant win for Trump” and questioned whether Judge Cannon’s status as a Trump appointee matters for the case. CNN noted the fact she was appointed by the former President is not by itself grounds for Cannon to recuse herself.
- FOX News quoted new Trump attorney Christopher Kise, who said in a hearing Thursday, “We need to take a deep breath. These are presidential records in the hands of the 45th president at a place which was used frequently for work during his presidency.”
- The Washington Examiner highlighted Judge Cannon’s rebuttal to Justice Department claims that their filter team could ensure Trump was treated fairly. Cannon wrote, “In addition to being deprived of potentially significant personal documents, which alone creates a real harm, Plaintiff faces an unquantifiable potential harm by way of improper disclosure of sensitive information to the public.”
- National Review’s Andy McCarthy said the judge’s decision “throws [the] Mar-a-Lago probe into chaos” and only came after “an inexplicable and damaging delay” that allowed the Justice Department to begin investigating the seized documents that she now says may have been subject to executive privilege.
© Dominic Moore, 2022