Special Master Assigned To Trump’s Case

OPINION:  This article contains commentary which may reflect the author’s opinion

President Donald J. Trump has won for his position on the use of a special master, and now he is victorious, asserting his pick for the person to do the job of evaluating the records that were taken in the highly politicized raid of his Florida family home in August.

Fox News reported that the move was a smackdown of Democrat Attorney General Merrick Garland because of the special master, who the DOG had protested:

“I am confident that what Garland has represented to the court, is something that everyone has looked at it. The judge, which granting the special master, already said Garland gave false representation, and that invites the question what Garland was doing going into Trump’s home.  Was he wanting to know what communications were between Tump and his lawyers,” legal analyst Greg Jarret told Fox news.

It sounds like there might be some trouble ahead.

In the law of the United States, a special master is generally a subordinate official appointed by a judge to ensure judicial orders are followed or in the alternative, to hear evidence on behalf of the judge and make recommendations to the judge as to the disposition of a matter.

A “special master” is appointed by a court to carry out some sort of action on its behalf.

Theoretically, a “special master” is distinguished from a “master”.

A master’s function is essentially investigative, compiling evidence or documents to inform some future action by the court, whereas a special master carries out some direct action on the part of the court.

It appears, however, that the “special master” designation is often used for people doing purely investigative work, and that the simple “master” designation is falling out of use., according to Cornell Law School.

Until last week the Department of Justice (DOJ)  and lawyers representing Trump continued to bicker over his request for a special master to review the materials seized from Mar-a-Lago, and after winning on that issue, the fight was on for who would fill that job.

Trump and his lawyers say the files the FBI seized that day may not actually be classified.

Trump’s lawyers described the criminal investigation that needed that strange raid as a document storage dispute that’s gotten out of control and said Trump has an “unfettered right” to access those presidential records.

Federal prosecutors, until last week, when Trump’s request for assistance was granted,  said the special master proceedings are harming national security by preventing them from using classified material in their criminal probe.

And now the two teams have reached an agreement about who will look at the documents and determine what has happened by agreeing on the special master.

The only special master candidate Trump and the DOJ can agree on: is a 78-year-old judge appointed by President Ronald Reagan.

“The DOJ has agreed to one of Trump’s nominees for special master in their probe of misplaced WH docs. The DOJ said that a former NY District Judge appointed by Reagan was fit to play the role.

Trump’s other choice was rejected by DOJ lawyers, who said he lacked experience,” Business Insider wrote.

The DOJ said in court filings that it would allow Raymond Dearie, former Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, to act as a special master, according to Reuters.

While Trump’s team has rejected all of the DOJ’s picks, the department’s approval of Dearie marks a rare mutual agreement in the ongoing legal battle.

According to his bio: Dearie was nominated by Reagan and served in the US District Court from 1986 to 2011. In 2012, he was appointed by Supreme Court Justice John Roberts to a 7-year term on the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, where he oversaw requests by federal investigators for surveillance warrants against suspected foreign intelligence agents inside the United States.

In his role as a judge in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, Dearie was one of five Republican-appointed judges who signed off on FISA warrants to surveil a former Trump advisor, Carter Page, to investigate his ties to the Russian government. Two of the four approved warrants were later declared invalid after the Inspector General found a series of misstatements and omissions in the applications by the FBI to get the court warrants to eavesdrop on Page.

“Last Thursday, the Department of Justice appealed a federal judge’s decision to appoint a special master to review specific classified files among the over 11,000 documents that Trump took with him from the White House. Trump’s case and the move to appoint a special master opened an unprecedented Pandora’s box of concerns for national security experts.

By the end of last week, the parties had submitted their list of proposed candidates, which included three former judges and Paul Huck Jr., former counsel to the Governor of Florida. The DOJ said that it did not believe Huck had the experience necessary,” Business Insider reported on Monday.

The special master would likely need to have the highest national security clearance level in the US. Ultimately, judges appoint special masters based on their expertise, so in this case, the special master would have to be deeply embedded in the national security realm, experts told Insider.


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