Trump Attorney to Newsmax: DOJ Against Independent Review (Newsmax/"Wake Up America")
By Sandy Fitzgerald | Monday, 15 August 2022 11:05 AM EDT
The Department of Justice is opposing a request from former President Donald Trump's attorneys seeking an independent special master to review records that were seized from his Mar-a-Lago estate, even though that process would allow it to appear more impartial following the raid, one of the former president's attorneys, Alina Habba, said on Newsmax Monday.
"In these types of situations what happens is the attorney handling it will ask that there be an independent special master, which is an attorney that gets appointed to oversee and to make sure everything is done correctly," Habba said on Newsmax's "Wake Up America," explaining that the master would be independent of both Trump's side and that of the DOJ."
"It's a neutral party," Habba said. "Think of it much like a mediator. They just make sure that the t's are being crossed, the i's are being dotted, and there's no funny business."
A decision will be made soon, she added, but "optically, it's a good idea," said Habba. "I think that you need to look impartial, especially given the negative impact that this has had on the country right now. I would try and look as open to having as much transparency as possible."
Meanwhile, there has been a great deal of speculation about whether Trump would be disqualified from running for office in 2024 if he would be charged and convicted of the statutes listed on the warrant to search his home.
According to the warrant application, which was unsealed Friday, the DOJ said it had probable cause to believe Trump violated the federal Espionage Act, which prohibits possession or transmission of national defense information.
Further, the warrant application said the DOJ believed he allegedly broke other statutes in connection with mishandling government records, including one law that says it's illegal to mishandle government documents, classified or not.
"If you look at this old, antiquated statute, which is probably part of the reason why they brought these three statutes in on the warrant, they say that if you are charged and convicted of these, you would be disqualified from running for president," said Habba. "You can take from that what you want. What people are saying is that it had to do with Jan. 6, that it had to do with a lot of things."
However, she warned that banning Trump from running would "cause so much mayhem" and would be a "monstrous mistake."
"Just understand, he was cooperating," said Habba. "They had been on-premises prior. He had had a subpoena that they coordinated an effort with his team to come in. They told us to lock it up. They locked it up. So why? Why did you need after two months to have this insane raid?"
The whole matter, she added, "just seems like selective justice. I think that's why so many people on the left are well, are like, Wait a second. This is not the America I signed up for."
But if Trump is indicted, it could "conveniently" come when the midterms are close, as an October surprise, "much like the Russia hoax … but I hope not. I hope not," said Habba.
Meanwhile, Habba had compliments Monday for New York Attorney General Letitia James and her team after they questioned Trump last week as part of a civil investigation into his family's business practices.
"They couldn't have been more courteous," she said. "We all got along. The president at one point went around the table and shook her hand."
Habba also said James' reaction to Trump was "very genuine … it was a very humanizing moment, and I think it was important, especially given what our country looks like right now, to see that people on opposing sides can sit down and be real and genuine and like each other."
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