The Justice Department is accusing former President Donald Trump and his legal team of “playing games” in their fight to withhold thousands of recordings from Trump’s Mar. -a-Lago is in the hands of a private owner appointed by the court.
Trump’s lawyers say his order to stuff items in the White House and take them to Mar-a-Lago was automatically designated as his personal record. But at the same time, his lawyers say that if special counsel Raymond Dearie rejects that argument about some documents he’s reviewing, they should have an opportunity to say they’re covered by the administration.
“The Special Counsel doesn’t like this kind of gamesmanship,” administration officials said of Trump’s position.
The documents from Trump’s team and the DOJ, which were unsealed Monday morning, responded to Dearie’s request that the two sides present what he called “international issues.” he sought to correct it as he sifted through nearly 3,000 documents and decided what evidence to send to the district. judge Aileen Cannon on the records must be returned to prosecutors in their criminal trial.
Dearie’s recommendations to Cannon are due Dec. 16 — though it’s unclear when he will rule on the matter or whether he will agree to his requests.
DOJ is seeking to simultaneously overturn Dearie’s appointment and block the private equity rule before the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. Prosecutors previously successfully argued for the 11th Circuit to stay part of Judge Cannon’s ruling that ordered Dearie to turn over 100 documents and classified documents seized from Mar-a-Lago and instructing the FBI not to use their illegal activities. investigation.
The agency said its inability to access thousands of documents not seized from Mar-a-Lago hindered its ongoing investigation, an argument it reiterated in at their release on Monday.
“The government’s need for these resources is clear, and the Special Counsel must reject the prosecution’s attempts to use unsubstantiated and unsupported allegations to delay the trial,” they wrote in the Monday.
They also accused Trump’s legal team of offering “incoherent and unfounded reasoning” to support their claims about the documents under the Presidential Records Act, which Trump said was “implying he can “consider” otherwise the President’s records. personal records by fiat.”
“Such a proclamation of the PRA defeats the entire purpose of the law by allowing a President to designate all of his official records as ‘personal’ records and then remove them upon leaving the White House,” he said. DOJ chief Jay Bratt said in a release. . “The PRA’s detailed definitions of ‘Presidential Records’ and ‘Personal Records’ are reduced to mere speculation.”
And even if Trump was right in his claims, the DOJ said it was a “red herring” for their right to access the documents as part of their ongoing investigation.
“Documents that were combined or stored with classified material at Defendant’s residence were lawfully seized by the FBI pursuant to the terms of a court-ordered search warrant because of to the ongoing investigation by the government,” Bratt said. “That interest exists whether it is personal paper or government records. Unless there is a valid and legitimate claim, all such documents must now be turned over to the investigative team.”