Judge Aileen Cannon heard from both sides on Thursday, on the request from the Trump team to have a “special master” appointed to review the documents the FBI seized, to determine which might be privileged or not within the scope of the warrant.
The judge said she would issue a decision “in due course.” One would think that, under the circumstances, that decision would likely be coming soon; but the problem is that any delay just gives the government more time to root through the documents, including the documents that they didn’t have any right to take, like those that may have been privileged. So, the longer we wait for the decision, the more it could compromise the documents.
The judge had already indicated that she was likely to rule in favor of President Donald Trump on the question. During the hearing on Thursday, she didn’t seem to be buying the argument that the government was putting forth that appointing a special master could be a bad thing.
“What is the harm of appointing a special master,” the judge said during the hearing. “What is your articulation of harm other than the general concern that it would delay a criminal investigation?”
She also floated the idea of letting the director of national intelligence review of the documents continue while halting the criminal investigation for a time and letting a special master review the materials.
Now, as I previously said, I’m not at all a fan of allowing the DNI Avril Haines, a Biden appointee and a protege of former Obama CIA head John Brennan, looking through all the documents and deciding what could be “damaging.” That’s essentially giving the Biden team the access to privileged documents and making the determination if something is important or not. That would be more than a little concerning.
Trump lawyer Jim Trusty blasted the raid, saying that the DOJ was just trying to find anything they could to go after Trump, that if he had an “overdue library book,” they would have tried to turn it into a criminal investigation. Trump attorney Christopher Kise said, “We need to take a deep breath. These are presidential records in the hands of the 45th president at a place which was used frequently for work during his presidency.” Trusty also bashed the photograph that the government put out with documents strewn over the floor, calling it “perfectly staged” and a “press release within their motion.”
As we noted, that very photo adds to the reasons for the special master. The government is trying to argue that this is important, classified information. But then they spread it out all over the floor and take pictures of it–then get out? They wanted to make Trump look bad, but they look bad in doing something like that.
So, we’ll have to wait and see what the judge’s decision is. But while the judge obviously sees the DOJ is just giving her gas, she needs to make the decision if there’s going to be any protection of these documents at all.