Trump Special Master Has 'No Patience' for Records Tiff (Newsmax)
By Charlie McCarthy | Tuesday, 18 October 2022 03:12 PM EDT
The special master reviewing documents seized from Donald Trump's Florida estate took a hard line Tuesday with lawyers for the former president and attorneys for the Justice Department.
U.S. District Senior Judge Raymond Dearie encouraged lawyers on both sides to narrow their disputes about the documents so his review can be completed by a Dec. 16 deadline.
Dearie warned Trump's lawyers that their initial efforts to claim certain records were personal and not presidential might be lacking enough detail, Bloomberg reported.
"Where’s the beef? I need some beef," Dearie told attorneys during a telephone status hearing.
The judge said there was a "certain incongruity" to lawyers claiming that at least one document was both personal to Trump and covered by executive privilege.
"Unless I'm wrong, and I've been wrong before, there's a certain incongruity there," Dearie said, USA Today reported. "We’re going to have to deal with that sooner rather than later."
Dearie also scolded Trump lawyers and DOJ attorneys regarding a dispute over a document — an unsigned June 2017 letter from Trump's personal law firm at the time to former special counsel Robert Mueller during his investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election — the former president says is shielded by a privilege for legal materials, Bloomberg said.
Both sides argued over who was responsible for confirming whether Trump’s attorneys sent the letter to the government.
"I have no patience for either one of you on this point," Dearie warned, directing the attorney to sort out what he deemed to be a factual issue of whether it was sent or not. "I don’t want to be dealing with nonsense objections."
Lawyers for both sides have until Nov. 12 to provide Dearie with a list of documents that potentially could fall under personal, attorney-client privilege or executive privilege.
The judge also said the number of non-classified documents seized at Mar-a-Lago by FBI agents is 21,792, much less than the 200,000 pages estimated, USA Today reported.
USA Today reported that a vendor estimated the larger figure based on the length of typical business documents, according to a DOJ lawyer.
Tuesday's hearing came while the DOJ waits for a decision concerning its appeal asking to overturn a judge's appointment of the special master.
Trump is under investigation for retaining government records, some of which were marked as highly classified, at his Palm Beach, Florida, home after leaving office in January 2021. The government also is investigating possible obstruction of the probe.
Reuters contributed to this story.