Special master in Trump records dispute to contact National Archives

061617 AP Trump transition orders staff preserve records pic
Staff have been ordered to preserve all records and other materials related to Robert Mueller’s investigation into contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian representatives. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Special master in Trump records dispute to contact National Archives

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The special master in Donald Trump’s documents case dropped an order on the docket just hours before the former president may announce another bid for the White House.

Judge Raymond Dearie, who was appointed as the special master third-party reviewer to root out privileged items seized from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort that the former president believes should be shielded from federal investigators, said on Monday he intends to get in contact with the National Archives and Records Administration to discuss the agency’s “practices and and guidance concerning the categorization of materials under the Presidential Records Act.”

Any party who wants to comment on this consultation was directed to submit a letter of no more than three pages by Thursday.

https://twitter.com/kyledcheney/status/1589759037209735169

Among legal observers to comment on the order was former Mueller prosecutor Andrew Weissmann, who called it an “interesting” development. He and others noted that because the Justice Department is appealing the appointment of a special master in the case, the order may become moot when the Atlanta-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit rules.

Still, Joyce Alene, a former federal prosecutor, tweeted that any information the special master surfaces about NARA practices “is unlikely to help Trump.”

Government investigators are working to determine whether Trump committed a host of crimes, including those engaged with the destruction of government documents, mishandling of classified information, and obstruction.

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Trump has denied any wrongdoing and has claimed that he declassified all the records taken from his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida. The FBI raid, which took place in August, stemmed from months of back-and-forth over federal officials working to retrieve documents they say belong to the government. The FBI seized nearly 200,000 pages‘ worth of documents, which encompassed about 100 documents with classified documents, according to court documents.

Dearie also set a Dec. 1 in-person status conference ahead of Dec. 16, when the special master is expected to release his report.

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