Former President Donald Trump and the Justice Department have put forward the names of two candidates to serve as a court-appointed special master who would examine documents seized from Mar-a-Lago during an FBI raid last month.
In a new court filing, the Justice Department proposed Barbara S. Jones, a retired judge nominated by former President Bill Clinton, and Thomas B. Griffith, a retired appeals court judge who was nominated by former President George W. Bush.
The Trump team proposed one retired judge, Raymond Dearie — also the former top federal prosecutor in the Eastern District of New York — and a prominent Florida lawyer, Paul Huck, Jr.
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Trump’s request for the appointment of a “special master” to independently review material seized in an FBI raid on his Florida home, was not welcomed by prosecutors. The Justice Department said it does not believe the arbiter should be permitted to inspect classified records or resolve potential claims of executive privilege.
Both sides will respond to the other’s proposed candidates on Monday.
Trump’s attorneys have pressed for the special master to have access to all seized materials, including documents with classification markings. According to the attorneys, the special master should determine whether executive privilege applies, without having to consult with the National Archives and Records Administration.
However, the Justice Department opposes, arguing that any claims of executive privilege should be submitted to the National Archives.
The Justice Department proposed an Oct. 17 deadline for the special master to complete the review process. But, the Trump team said the work could take as long as three months.
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The Justice Department had said a special master was unnecessary in part because it had already completed its own review of the seized documents.
According to a summary of its position outlined in a filing Friday night, the Trump team disputes the idea that the Justice Department’s “separation of these documents is inviolable” or that a document with classification markings should be forever regarded as classified.
The lawyers say that if any document is a presidential document then Trump has an “absolute right of access to it.”
“Thus, President Trump (and/or his designee) cannot be denied access to those documents, which in this matter gives legal authorization to the Special Master to engage in first-hand review,” the filing states.