The legal team for Donald Trump has informed a newly appointed independent arbiter that it does not want to answer his questions about the declassification status of the documents that were seized last month from the Florida home of the former president. They explained that this matter could be a part of Trump’s defence if he is indicted, so they do not want to answer the arbiter’s questions.
On Tuesday, attorneys for Trump and the Department of Justice are scheduled to appear in federal court in Brooklyn before a veteran judge who was named last week as the special master to review the approximately 11,000 documents that were taken during the FBI’s search of Mar-a-Lago on August 8. Of those documents, approximately 100 were marked as classified.
Ahead of the status conference, the special master, Raymond Dearie, asked both parties to submit a suggested agenda, and he also gave a draught plan for how he sees the process progressing over the following two months. These requests were made before the meeting on the current state of the case.
In a letter sent on Monday evening, Trump’s legal team made clear that they object to several aspects of the plan that was being drafted, one of which was a request from Dearie that they disclose to both him and the Justice Department information regarding the classification status of the documents that had been seized.
Trump has claimed, without providing any proof to support his assertion, that all of the data have been declassified. His attorneys have not reiterated this claim, but they have said that a president has the ability to declassify material.
In the letter, Trump’s attorneys state that the appropriate time to address that question would be if they filed a motion seeking the return by the Justice Department of some of the property that was taken from Mar-a-Lago. The letter refers to the fact that the property in question was taken from Mar-a-Lago.
Additionally, the team representing Donald Trump requested that the court consider extending all of the deadlines for his assessment.
A second judge’s ruling prohibiting the Justice Department from at least temporarily utilising the secret materials it obtained as part of its criminal probe was appealed by the Justice Department on Tuesday, and Trump’s attorneys were scheduled to reply to that appeal on Tuesday as well. In the same order in which U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon appointed the special master, she also commanded the department to stop using the records until Dearie can finish his job. This instruction was included in the ruling.