Trump’s Special Master Asks Him If FBI Lied

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

Raymond Dearie, the special master to review documents seized during the highly political raid on his Florida family home, has given President Donald J. Trump an opportunity to identify the materials that Trump claims were “planted” by investigators and gave him until Sept. 30 to answer the question of whether or not the FBI lied.

The left is celebrating the move, believing that Trump will not be able to produce any evidence, adding that Trump’s special master pick has turned into what they believe is a headache overall.

“A push by Donald Trump’s lawyers to appoint a special master in the Mar-a-Lago documents case has quickly lost its main utility, with an appeals court restoring the Justice Department’s access to the documents with classified markings.

Halting the Justice Department’s review of those documents — and by extension, slowing its criminal probe of Trump — appeared to be its essential aim. In the end, it bought about two weeks’ worth of delay,” the Washington Post reported on Thursday.

Vox reported that the updates to the special master were ‘Trump’s defeat in the Mar-a-Lago “special master” case,’ adding that “even Trump’s own appointees had no patience for the rogue judge who sabotaged the DOJ investigation into the former president.”

“The United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit’s decision in Trump v. United States utterly savages former President Donald Trump’s efforts to slow down a criminal investigation into classified documents that the FBI seized from Mar-a-Lago, his Florida residence. It is equally dismissive of Cannon, the Trump-appointed federal district judge in Florida who ordered the Justice Department to halt this criminal investigation, at least temporarily,” Vox reported.

The unprecedented move to have Trump’s home raided by Democrats, who loved watching Trump’s family home disrupted, happened on August 8, 2022.

“After the FBI search of his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Trump and his lawyers have publicly insinuated on multiple occasions without providing evidence that agents planted evidence during the search. “Planting information anyone?” Trump wrote on his Truth Social platform Aug. 12,” NBC News reported, adding:

“In a filing Thursday, Senior U.S. District Judge Raymond J. Dearie of New York, the court-appointed special master, ordered the government to turn over copies of all non-classified items seized in the case to Trump’s lawyers by Monday.

He then ordered Trump’s team to submit a “declaration or affidavit” of any items in the inventory that were removed from Mar-a-Lago that the “Plaintiff asserts were not seized from the Premises,” meaning items that were put there by someone else.”

Dearie also asked Trump’s lawyers to identify any items that were seized by agents but not listed in the inventory. “This submission shall be Plaintiff’s final opportunity to raise any factual dispute as to the completeness and accuracy of the Detailed Property Inventory,” he wrote.

Both sides were ordered to appear for a status conference on Oct. 6.

“The ruling was not the first time that Dearie — whom Trump’s team had proposed for the role of special master — has pressed the former president’s lawyers for details about their allegations,” CBS news reported.

On Thursday, POLITICO reported that there was an update in the situation of the special master with some extra details:

“The undersigned has determined that the efficient administration of the Special Master’s duties requires the assistance of the Honorable James Orenstein,” Dearie’s proposed plan for the document review said. The order said Orenstein “has experience with complex case management, privilege review, warrant procedures, and other matters that may arise in the course of the Special Master’s duties.”

Orenstein spent 16 years as a federal magistrate in the same Brooklyn courthouse where Dearie sits. Orenstein drew attention several years ago for his role in what was semi-sarcastically dubbed “the magistrates’ revolt” — rulings from a smattering of federal magistrate judges across the country questioning government tactics in warrant applications seeking electronic data.

In 2016, Orenstein issued a controversial ruling rejecting prosecutors’ arguments that a two-century-old federal law gave the government the right to command Apple to assist in unlocking an iPhone used by an alleged drug dealer. The judge’s pro-privacy stance in that matter may have led the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to appoint him to a list of approved friends of the court who provide their perspective on surveillance requests.

Dearie proposed that the former magistrate, who has a top-secret clearance, be paid $500 an hour for work on the Trump documents case. The federal judge who named Dearie as special master, Florida-based Aileen Cannon, has previously ruled that Trump must assume all expenses related to the review.

Dearie said in the Thursday order that he would not be compensated for his work because he’s still being paid his judge’s salary, but that expenses such as Orenstein’s fees must be paid in full and on time or Trump could face court sanctions.

While the seven-page proposal the special master issued on Thursday bears Dearie’s name and a form of electronic signature, metadata attached to the document indicates that Orenstein — who retired from the court in 2020 — was involved in drafting it. Dearie’s chambers did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether Orenstein helped prepare the proposal to involve him in the case.

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