WASHINGTON (TN) — Clear disapproval by federal judges He appointed. far-reaching fraud allegations by the Attorney General of New York. It’s been a week of widening legal troubles for Donald Trump, with challenges As the former president operates without the protection afforded by the White House.
His well-served bravado in the political arena is of little use in a legal realm dominated by verifiable evidence, where judges have questioned his claims this week and where there has been a fraud investigation, when Trump was still president. were burst into public view. A 222-page state lawsuit filled with allegation.
In politics, “you can say whatever you want and if people like it, it works. In a legal realm, it’s different,” says Chris Adelson, a presidential powers scholar and American University government professor Said. “This is an area where wrong steps, misdeeds, false statements have tangible consequences which are not applicable in politics.”
This distinction between politics and law became apparent this week in a span of just 30 hours.
Trump insisted to Fox News in an interview aired Wednesday that the highly classified government records he had at Mar-a-Lago were in fact declassified, that a president has the power to declassify information “even thinking about it.” .
A day earlier, however, an independent arbitrator recommended his own lawyers. When the Trump team declined to present any information to support their claims that the documents had been declassified, they were skeptical. Special Mentor, Raymond DearyA veteran federal judge, said Trump’s team was trying to “eat his cake and eat it,” and that, absent information to support the claims, he was inclined to treat the record the way the government did: classified.
On Wednesday morning, New York State Attorney General Letitia James charged Trump in a lawsuit To reduce their net worth by billions of dollars and habitually mislead banks about the value of prized assets. The lawsuit, the culmination of a three-year investigation that began as President, also names three of his adult children as defendants and seeks to prevent him from running a company in the state again. Trump has denied any wrongdoing.
Hours later, three judges on the US Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit — two of whom were Trump appointees — handed him a shocking defeat in the Mar-a-Lago investigation.
The court overwhelmingly rejected the argument that it was entitled to an independent review of about 100 classified documents from the Special Master Taken during last month’s FBI search.
That decision opened the way for the Justice Department to resume the use of classified records in its investigation. It removed the hold held by a lower court judge, Eileen Cannon, a Trump appointee whose decision in the Mar-a-Lago case was the only bright spot for the former president. On Thursday, it responded by striking down parts of its order requiring the Justice Department to give Dearie and Trump’s attorneys access to classified records.
Dearie complied with his own order, giving the Trump team until September 30 to identify errors or inaccuracies in a detailed list of items the FBI discovered.
Between Dearie’s position and the appeals court’s ruling, “I think there may be a fundamentally developing consensus, if not an already developed consensus, of the government’s strength in many of these issues and in these disputes.” The situation is there,” said Richard Serafini, a Florida criminal defense attorney and former Justice Department prosecutor.
To be sure, Trump is hardly a stranger to courtroom drama, having been deposed in numerous lawsuits during his decades-long professional career, and he has demonstrated a remarkable ability to avoid situations that She was looking serious.
His lawyers did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday.
At the White House, Trump faced an alarming investigation into whether he obstructed a Justice Department investigation into possible collusion between Russia and his 2016 campaign. Ultimately, he was protected, at least in part, by the power of the presidency, along with special counsel Robert Mueller. Citing long-standing department policy prohibiting the impeachment of a sitting chairman.
He was impeached twice by the Democratic-led House of Representatives – once over a phone call. Rioting in the Capitol for the second time, January 6, 2021, with the leader of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky — but was acquitted by the Senate on both occasions due to the political support of fellow Republicans.
It is unclear whether any current investigations – investigations related to Mar-a-Lago One or January 6 or Georgia election interference – will produce criminal charges. And the New York trial is a civil matter.
But there is no question that Trump no longer enjoys the legal armor of the presidency, even though he has repeatedly leaned on a broad view of executive power to defend the government’s retention of records. It is said that they do not belong, whatever their classification.
Notably, the Justice Department and the federal appeals court have ignored his claim that the record was declassified. For all his claims on TV and on social media, both have noted that Trump has not presented any formal information to support the idea that he took any steps to make the records public.
The appeals court called the declassification question a “red herring” because even declassifying the record would not change its content or change it from a government document to a personal document. And the statutes the Justice Department cites as the basis for its investigation do not explicitly mention classified information.
Trump’s lawyers have also stopped short of saying in court or in legal brief that the record was declassified. He told Dearie that he should no longer be forced to disclose his stance on the issue because it could be part of his defense in the event of an indictment.
Even some legal experts, who have otherwise sided with Trump in his legal fights, are skeptical of his claims.
George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley testifies as a Republican witness In the first impeachment proceedings in 2019, he said he was struck by the “lack of consistent and consistent position from the former president on classified documents”.
“It’s not clear,” he said, “what lawyers like J.D. said you can declassify things with a view, but the courts are unlikely to accept that claim.”
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