Finding Special Master in Trump Secret Information Lawsuit is Hard, Legal Experts Argue

U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Grasz has given the Justice Department and Donald Trump’s attorneys until Friday to submit a list of names for consideration as a special master to evaluate the documents the FBI seized from Trump’s Florida resort.

Attorney Kenneth Feinberg, who acted as a special master for the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund, said, “If we’re talking about highly secret stuff, there’s only a relatively tiny number of individuals who would fit the qualifications of the job.”

Finding Special Master in Trump Secret Information Lawsuit is Hard, Legal Experts Argue.
This image contained in a court filing by the Department of Justice on Aug. 30, 2022, and redacted by in part by the FBI, shows a photo of documents seized during the Aug. 8 search by the FBI of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. The Justice Department says it has uncovered efforts to obstruct its investigation into the discovery of classified records at former President Donald Trump’s Florida estate. (Department of Justice via AP)

“Someone brave enough to face the storm head-on is needed. This isn’t only a matter of security. This is become a major political problem, “What he had to say was.

As an example of the difficulty, last week the nonprofit law firm National Security Counselors submitted a list of four individuals with experience on presidential privilege to the court. Since then, the four have all made public statements that either make it seem like they don’t want the position or that may be used as evidence against them by attorneys for the Justice Department or Trump.

U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon on Monday ruled that a special master should review the records seized from Trump’s Palm Beach home to weed out anything that should be kept from prosecutors, either due to attorney-client privilege or executive privilege – a legal doctrine that shields some White House communications from disclosure.

When hearing Trump’s request to withhold White House records from the January 6 select committee last year, the Supreme Court avoided answering the question of how far a former president’s privilege claims can go.

After consulting with the Justice Department, the National Archives informed Trump’s attorneys early this year that the president cannot claim executive privilege to prevent the FBI from accessing the documents in question.

Records seized by the authorities in high-stakes cases where some of the information contained within could be protected from public view are occasionally reviewed by a special master, an impartial outside expert.

Over one hundred of the over eleven thousand documents are classified as top secret, secret, or confidential, so whoever is chosen will likely require a high degree of security clearance.

In the unprecedented situation of a past president exercising the right over the prerogative of the current president, Joe Biden, a special master was called upon to evaluate whether records are shielded by executive privilege.

John Bolton, Trump’s former national security advisor and a former Justice Department official, has observed, “Appointing a special master I think may be harder than people think.” “I was wondering how many people in the world have TS/SCI clearance. How many of them have degrees in areas related to executive privilege?”

To date, none of the four probable candidates listed by National Security Counselors in a court filing last week have publicly supported the concept.

George Mason University’s public policy department dean Mark Rozell wanted to be taken off the list, telling Reuters, “Flattered that someone believes I’m competent, but I like analyzing from the outside of events.”

Former Justice Department attorney Jonathan Shaub, who has not announced if he would accept the position, slammed Cannon’s decision in an interview with Reuters on Monday, calling it “laden with misconceptions about the law” and said the judge seemed to be “bending over himself to help Trump.”

Professor of Law at Northwestern University Heidi Kitrosser is the third, but she told Reuters she doesn’t think she’ll be chosen because of criticism from conservative media and social media users who support Trump’s policies.

Mitchel Sollenberger of the University of Michigan-Dearborn is the fourth individual who claims to be uncleared.

A Justice Department spokesperson on Monday said the department is analyzing Cannon’s order without commenting on next measures. To date, Trump’s legal team has ignored repeated requests for comment.

In most earlier special master instances, the lawyers involved had a professional responsibility to keep their clients’ files private.

For instance, after the FBI raided the properties of former Trump attorneys Rudy Giuliani and Michael Cohen, a special master was appointed.

A number of lawyers have suggested that looking for recently retired judges in Florida or Washington, DC who have experience with national security cases and might have their clearance reinstated quickly is the best course of action.

Giuliani’s attorney Robert Costello stated that after the FBI raid, the government and the defense side quickly settled on retired judge Barbara Jones to fill the role of special master.