Dearie, a seasoned and highly respected jurist, expressed skepticism about Trump’s arguments about how the review should be done, stressing his desire to move quickly. His appointment order — issued by U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon of Florida — is due to expire at the end of November, he said.
Cannon ordered the third-party review after Trump filed a lawsuit, saying the review was necessary to filter out material covered by attorney-client privilege, as well as personal items not available to investigators.
As Dearie continues to sift through the roughly 11,000 documents seized at Mar-a-Lago, the Justice Department is asking an appeals court to reopen its criminal investigation into the materials marked classified because Cannon barred investigators from using the seized materials. special master review.
Dearie warned that Trump will have to declassify or shut up
“If the government gives me clear evidence that they are classified documents, and you, for whatever reason, choose not to pursue a declassification claim, then the classified documents case remains prima facie for me, and as far as I’m concerned, that’s over,” Dearie told Trump’s lawyers at the hearing.
The Justice Department is asking an appeals court to exclude about 100 documents from Dearie’s review and has said the documents should remain classified until the government reviews them.
Trump’s lawyers, on the other hand, have argued that the court should not make any assumptions about the classified status of the documents, while vaguely implying that the documents may be declassified. But Trump’s lawyers have stopped short of confirming in court that Trump himself declassified them, and in a letter to the special master on Monday, Trump’s lawyers said they did not want to release that information about the declassification at this stage of the investigation. It was telegraphed that it could be part of Trump’s defense if he is indicted.
Trump’s lawyer, Jim Trusty, said on Tuesday that, until he saw the documents, Trump’s legal team was not ready to fully disclose its defense or specifically address the declassification issue. Dearie acknowledged that there was a legal strategy at play, but noted that there was also the practical issue of what recommendation he should make to Cannon.
“My view is you can’t have your cake and eat it,” Dearie told the Trump team.
Dearie emphasizes the need for speed, risking any tactic to delay Trump
Dearie made it clear that the review would have to move quickly to meet Cannon’s mandated pre-December deadline.
“I will not rush, but we have a lot to do and a rather short period,” he said.
The comments came after the Trump team, in a letter to the special master on Monday, sought to delay some of the interim deadlines proposed in a draft plan circulated between the parties. Specifically, Trump’s lawyers objected to the proposed Oct. 7 deadline for inspection and classification of materials to be reviewed by Dearie.
The draft of the plan offered by Dearie is not yet public, so it is not clear what other interim periods the judge has in mind.
At the hearing, Trusty denied that they wanted to renew the schedule as a delaying tactic.
“It’s not about delaying, we also want a resolution on these things,” Trusty said, though Dearie didn’t seem to buy their arguments on the timeline.
There was tension over whether Trump or the judge should see sensitive material
Dearie stressed that he took seriously the need to protect government secrets, highlighting the government’s “very strong obligation” to ensure that highly sensitive information is not leaked.
He emphasized that if he could make his recommendation to Cannon about certain classified documents without him or Trump’s lawyer revealing the material, he would do so.
“It’s a matter of knowing,” Dearie said, referring to the standard used in court cases to determine when those with security clearances can view classified materials.
The Justice Department echoed Dearie’s point, with lawyer Julie Edelstein noting that some of the department’s investigators still don’t have the special clearances they need to see particularly sensitive documents.
Trump’s team pushed back against the idea that some sensitive material could be excluded from review themselves. Trusty said it’s “amazing to hear from the government that the president’s (regular) lawyers don’t need to know.”
Dearie brings a serious and focused approach to the work
From the moment he entered the courtroom, Dearie indicated that he took the job seriously and thought about the task at hand.
He took the chair wearing not a judicial robe, but a dark navy suit; in the role, he is not serving as a judge, but as a consultant in the district court of Florida.
As the hearing progressed, Dearie cut straight to the chase, without mincing words.
“I will do the best I can with the time we have,” he told the parties.
He also indicated that he saw his role as limited, insisting that he would closely follow the directions of the Florida judge who appointed him. He told the parties that he was responsible for making a “discrete” number of legal judgments.
The DOJ suggests it may go to SCOTUS if necessary
Planning for the special grand jury review is underway as the Justice Department has asked the 11th Circuit to intervene in the case, and on Tuesday, government lawyers indicated they would appeal to the Supreme Court if necessary.
The Justice Department is asking the Court of Appeals to block the use of classified material in the Justice Department’s criminal investigation. The DOJ also requests that those documents be excluded from the special principal examination.
If the department were to lose in the 11th Circuit, Edelstein suggested, “it’s likely at that point it would consider other appellate options,” raising the possibility that the Justice Department could ask the Supreme Court to intervene.
Not much is known yet about the next steps
The hearing remained unsettled as to the timing of the next steps in the review.
Dearie gave Trump’s lawyers until Friday to tell Trump’s lawyers which vendor to use to scan and store copies of the records for parties to access through review among the options presented by the Justice Department, but the rest of the timeline is still unclear. establish
After scanning the documents and making them available to the parties, the next step would be to log the documents according to the four categories established by Cannon, with disagreements between the parties as to how the records should be logged, and take them to Dearie. his taken From there, Dearie will make recommendations to Cannon on how to resolve these disagreements.
The four categories Cannon established are: personal documents deemed privileged, personal documents not privileged, presidential records deemed privileged, and presidential records claimed not privileged.