Donald Trump has already spent the past ten months trying to fend off a Special Counsel, who has gotten several key former Trump advisers to cut plea deals against him. Even as that effort continues to progress, now a Special Master has also been appointed in Trump’s criminal scandals. So what does that mean? In short, it’s even more bad news for Trump – and it’s his own fault.
The legal team for Donald Trump and Michael Cohen has been fighting in court to try to convince the judge to throw out the evidence that the FBI seized when it raided Cohen’s home and office earlier this month. Trump and Cohen tried to argue that they should be allowed to go through the evidence and toss out anything that they consider to have been protected under attorney-client privilege. That was never going to happen. But now someone is in charge of making decisions about that evidence.
Trump went on Fox & Friends this morning and tried to distance himself from Cohen. In the process he screwed up and admitted that Cohen isn’t really his attorney in most aspects. This opened the door for prosectors to push for the appointment of a Special Master to oversee the decisions about the seized evidence, along with a short timeframe for getting all the evidence sorted. After all, now that Trump has admitted attorney-client privilege doesn’t really apply, there’s little reason for any of the communications between him and Cohen to be thrown out. Trump’s team wanted a Special Master back when they thought they could drag out the process indefinitely. It’s an entirely different story now.
So now Special Master Barbara Jones is in charge of swiftly getting those seized communications sorted out, so federal prosecutors can quickly get their hands on most or all of it. What matters most here is that, because the Special Master has been appointed by a judge and falls under the authority of the Judicial Branch, there is nothing that Donald Trump can do to try to fire her. All he can do is sit back and whine, as she forks over evidence to prosecutors that will be used against both Trump and Cohen.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report