On Tuesday, Special Master Dearie made clear that he intended to side with the DOJ over the classified documents that it seized from Donald Trump’s home, after Trump failed to offer any evidence to support his claim that he was entitled to the documents. The next day, the Court of Appeals took a hint and ruled that the classified documents were exempt from the Special Master process and that the DOJ could immediately resume working with them. But the Special Master is still in place to sort the other seized evidence – and by now Trump is surely wishing the Special Master didn’t exist.
Today, Dearie ordered Trump’s legal team to tell him whether or not they’re asserting that the FBI planted evidence at Trump’s home. This puts Trump and his attorneys in a difficult situation. If they make this claim to Dearie, then they’re stuck with that as a defense, and may not be able to introduce other reasonable doubt defenses at trial that conflict with it. But if they tell Dearie that they’re not asserting evidence was planted, they may not be able to introduce that as a defense at trial. So either answer harms Trump’s prospects at trial.
At this point we wouldn’t be shocked if Trump asks his pet judge Cannon to pull the plug on the Special Master process entirely. But in such case the DOJ would then be left to make its own decisions about the rest of the seized evidence, which would also be bad for Trump.
Donald Trump has gone his entire criminal life without ever being the target of a federal criminal investigation, without ever being on the wrong end of a search and seizure warrant, and without having ever been on the verge of criminal indictment. He’s quickly learning the hard way that the parlor tricks he’s used to BS his way through life simply don’t work in the federal criminal court system.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report