Trump, DOJ glove up for fight, each suggest rival ‘special master’ nominees to review Mar-a-Lago docs

Former President Trump and the Department of Justice each submitted two candidates on Friday to serve as an independent court-appointed special master to review the Mar-a-Lago documents seized in the thuggish raid by the FBI.

(Video Credit: NewsNation)

It is unclear why the two parties involved would submit candidates for an independent review. That would seem to be contradictory and a conflict of interest.

The Justice Department’s candidates put forth in a new court filing are Barbara S. Jones, who is a retired judge nominated by former President Bill Clinton, and Thomas B. Griffith, who is a retired appeals court judge nominated by former President George W. Bush

Jones is a partner with the law firm Bracewell LLP. Her specialty is internal investigations, arbitrations, and mediation. She has served as a special master in at least two other cases.

Griffith is a special counsel at another high-profile law firm, Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP. His expertise includes appellate litigation and congressional and internal investigations. Griffith is also a lecturer at Harvard Law School.

Raymond J. Dearie, who is a former federal judge nominated by former President Ronald Reagan, and Paul Huck Jr., who is a former general counsel to then-Florida Gov. Charlie Crist were suggested by Trump’s legal team.

Dearie served on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. Huck is a former partner of the prestigious Jones Day law firm.

On Monday, sparks will fly as each side will respond to the other side’s proposed candidates, according to NBC News.

The court filing lays out the contested areas of dispute between Trump and the DOJ concerning the scope of the document review.

Trump’s side wants the special master to have access to all seized materials. That includes classified documents. They also assert that the special master should rule whether executive privilege applies.

The Department of Justice is against those suggestions. They contend that executive privilege should be submitted to the National Archives.

U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, who is a Trump appointee, approved Trump’s request for a third-party to review the seized material. The ruling by Cannon also temporarily halted parts of the DOJ’s investigation.

The Justice Department intends to appeal the judge’s ruling to the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit.

The DOJ is incensed over the ruling and claims that a special master appointed by the court will be tasked with reviewing documents so sensitive and classified that FBI agents and DOJ attorneys needed additional security clearances to review them.

Trump’s attorneys are arguing that “unchecked investigators” can’t be trusted to separate out privileged documents. On the opposite side, the Justice Department is asserting that the classified documents found at Mar-a-Lago belong to the government and are not Trump’s “personal records.”

Cannon has said she’ll decide “exact details and mechanics” of the special master process “expeditiously” following the submission of proposals by both sides, but it is unclear when the judge will rule or what form that ruling will take.

In the end, the final appointment of the independent arbiter rests with Cannon and she purportedly does not have to choose from any of the four candidates submitted.

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