On Monday, POLITICO reported that although former President Donald Trump has earned a victory against the FBI investigation into his hoard of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago with the appointment of a special master, he now faces a much greater challenge in actually convincing that special master of helping him obstruct the investigation.
"Now, his team of lawyers is preparing to test whether they can replicate their fortune in front of a potentially more skeptical audience. And the first indication, offered in a filing on Monday night, suggests a tougher road ahead," reported Kyle Cheney. "The court-appointed 'special master' reviewing documents the FBI seized during the Aug. 8 search has asked the former president to disclose details about any materials he claims to have declassified before calling them his property."
"In a court filing Monday, Trump’s attorneys urged Raymond Dearie, the senior federal judge based in Brooklyn, to drop a component of his plan that includes asking Trump for those details," the report continued. "Disclosing those during the review, Trump’s attorneys said, was not a requirement of U.S. District Court Judge Aileen Cannon’s order appointing Dearie as special master. And, they added, it could harm Trump’s defense against any forthcoming criminal charges."
Trump's team also urged Dearie to clarify whether he would have to file future Fourth Amendment challenges to the investigation with the same magistrate judge who approved the FBI's search of Mar-a-Lago.
Dearie was recommended by Trump's legal team — with no objection by the Justice Department — in large part because he played a role on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance (FISA) court that approved the warrant against former Trump ally Carter Page as part of the Russia investigation, and Trump, who has long claimed this was an abuse of power, is hopeful Dearie will see it the same way and be hostile to the FBI.
But legal experts have noted Dearie is widely respected in the U.S. legal profession, without any significant allegations of partisan or ideological bias levied against him.