The U.S. Department of Justice signaled in a court filing this week that it is open to accepting one of former President Donald Trump’s picks to be the special master who reviews the documents that the FBI seized from Mar-a-Lago last month.
Prosecutors said in a court filing that they would approve of Raymond J. Dearie for the role due to his “substantial judicial experience,” which includes presiding “over federal criminal and civil cases, including federal cases involving national security and privilege concerns.”
The DOJ suggested on their end that the special master should either be former federal judge Barbara S. Jones or former federal judge Thomas B. Griffith.
“The government understands that each of the three candidates with prior judicial experience also currently employs staff who could assist in timely performing the duties assigned to the special master,” the filing said. “In selecting among the three candidates, the government respectfully requests that the Court consider and select the candidate best positioned to timely perform the special master’s assigned responsibilities.”
U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon ruled earlier this month in favor of allowing a special master to review all the documents that were seized during the raid.
Former U.S. Attorney General William Barr called the Trump’s request for a special master to review the items that were seized during the raid “a bit of a red herring” during a recent interview.
“The only documents that have been taken, it seems to me, that there’s a legitimate concern about keeping away from the government and insulating the government from would be documents relating to his private lawyer communications, him as an individual and his outside lawyers,” Barr said. “If there’s stuff like that, fine, identify it. There doesn’t appear to be much of it. I’m not sure you need a special master to identify it.”
“But what people are missing is that all the other documents taken, even if they claim to be executive privilege, either belong to the government because they’re government records — even if they’re classified, even if they’re subject to executive privilege, they still belong to the government and go to the Archives,” he continued. “And any other documents that were seized, like news clippings and other things that were in the boxes containing the classified information, those were seizable under the warrant because they show the conditions under which the classified information was being held. So, I think it’s a red herring … at this stage, since they have already gone through the documents, I think it’s a waste of time.”