Mueller prosecutor: Trump has 'the world's worst set of facts' in Mar-a-Lago docs case
Donald Trump (Photo: By Nicole S Glass/Shutterstock)

Tuesday afternoon, Donald Trump's lawyers are set to appear in court with their hand-picked special master, Judge Raymond Dearie.

Ahead of the meeting, Dearie asked the Trump team for some specifics about the former president's claim that he declassified documents. The claim never appeared in any of the court filings from Trump's lawyers, but it did appear in Judge Aileen Cannon's decision.

Trump's team refused, saying there would be a "time and place." The assumption from the legal analysts online was that the lawyers were unwilling to make such comments in writing because it wouldn't be true.

At the top of Lawrence O'Donnell's Monday evening show, he hammered home the claim from Trump's lawyers that they were saving the information for his criminal defense if he's indicted. It's the first indication publicly that Trump and his team anticipate that he will be criminally indicted.

Olivia Troye, the former Homeland Security aide to Mike Pence said, "so, basically, Judge Cannon humiliates herself for Trump and now he's decided he won't cooperate with the special master. Classic Trump. Just ask Mark Meadows or Michael Cohen."

Former appellate defender Teri Kanefield called it outright "cuckoo."

"Trump asked for a special pre-indictment remedy, but he doesn't want to answer questions because it is pre-indictment?" she tweeted. "The reality is that he doesn't want to lie in a declaration."

Other legal experts were cracking jokes. Tristan Snell of Mainstreet Law said, "How long until Trump demands a Super Special Master to oversee the Special Master that suddenly isn’t going his way?"

In a discussion with O'Donnell, former Justice Department attorney Andrew Weissmann called the recent report "the world's worst set of facts" for Donald Trump because he was told by former White House lawyer Eric Herschmann that he would likely be investigated if he didn't turn over the documents and Trump turned over some of the documents in response.

"In order to bring a criminal case, the key issue in any upcoming prosecution, is how is the government going to prove knowledge and intent of Donald Trump," said Weissmann, who previously served in Robert Mueller's special counsel probe. "You could not ask for anything better than a lawyer meeting with the person you are thinking of indicting and telling the person, this is what the lies. This is why you have to do it. Having been a defense lawyer, this is like the world's worst news — is a witness who is a credible, upstanding lawyer."

Weismann predicted a very interesting "up and down" over the next few weeks.

National security attorney Brad Moss explained that someone like Eric Herschmann could legally talk to the Justice Department despite Judge Aileen Cannon's hold on the documents seized at Mar-a-Lago because she did come back to the DOJ and claim that their investigation could continue.

Herschmann was talking to Trump about the first set of documents prior to the FBI search and would give information based on that piece of the investigation. He will likely testify that he made it very clear that the records were not Trump's and they belonged to the government. So, his testimony would ensure the DOJ could prove that Trump was aware of the law and that ignoring it was part of his intent.

"This is the world's worst set of facts for him," Weissmann said of Trump's situation. "The fact he returned some but not all makes it clear he knew exactly what he was being told by Eric Herschmann. Let's assume he's the only lawyer who saying this. Even I agree with Brad that he will not be the only lawyer. But even if he was the only one it, shows that [Trump] knew the import and deliberately decided to keep other documents. He can't say had no idea where they were because there were too many. It's too important."

See the clip of the conversation below or at this link.

World's worst set of facts