If Donald Trump thought the special master assigned to review records seized during an an FBI search of Mar-a-Lago last month would do him some special favors, he was mistaken.
Federal Judge Raymond Dearie repeatedly chided the previous president’s lawyers for refusing to offer evidence to back up Trump’s claim that every one those highly sensitive documents related to national security that were discovered in his Florida residence and personal club were actually declassified.
Nonetheless, Dearie seemed skeptical. He told Trump’s lawyers on Tuesday that if they are going to not actually assert that the records have been declassified and if the Justice Department makes a suitable case that they continue to be classified, then “so far as I’m concerned, that’s the tip of it.”
“You may’t have your cake and eat it,” is how Dearie summed up his position.
Although Trump keeps claiming that every one of the records believed to have been in his possession were declassified, his lawyers haven’t made that argument to the court, though they’ve repeatedly asserted that a president has absolute authority to declassify information.
Julie Edelstein, a Justice Department lawyer, told the court she was hopeful that the department could get the documents digitized and provided to Trump’s lawyers by early next week, in response to the AP.
Edelstein also noted that the DOJ had given Trump’s legal team a listing of 5 vendors approved by the federal government for the needs of scanning, hosting and otherwise processing the seized records.
Dearie told Trump’s lawyers to agree on a vendor this week, in response to The Recent York Times.
Trump’s lawyers argued in a separate filing on Tuesday that the Justice Department had not proved that the records remained classified.
“Within the case of somebody who has been president of the US, they’ve unfettered access together with unfettered declassification authority,” James Trusty, certainly one of Trump’s lawyers, said Tuesday.
Dearie reminded the lawyers that they were those with the burden of building the previous president’s right to relief ― not the Department of Justice.
Dearie’s cake comments gave many Twitter users food for thought.
He said “I assume my view of it’s that you could’t have your cake and eat it“.
In other words, that’s nice if Donald Trump‘s lawyers don’t need to present evidence of classification at this juncture, but then Dearie would take a look at them as classified documents.
— Jennifer Taub 🌻 🇺🇸 (@jentaub) September 20, 2022
Don’t look now but a judge showed up today within the MAL matter– Special Master Raymond Dearie, who put an end to Trump’s foolishness about “perhaps he declassified” by saying you’ll be able to’t have your cake and eat it too. Looking forward to discussing on @DonLemonTonight at 11 PM ET.
— Harry Litman (@harrylitman) September 20, 2022
JUDGE DEARIE: You may’t have your cake and eat it too.
TRUMP: I never declassified the cake and the FBI planted it. If this guy doesn’t give me my cake, there shall be trouble the likes no bakery has ever seen.
— Mr. Newberger (@jeremynewberger) September 20, 2022