The DOJ's opposition to the special master exposes a nefarious motive
When the federal judge ordered a special master to review the documents seized from Mar-a-Lago to determine whether the FBI possessed documents subject to "attorney-client and/or executive privilege" claims, I considered it a Pyrrhic victory because the DOJ had already reviewed all the documents. I was more interested in whether the DOJ insisted that the appointed special master have a security clearance to review classified or top-secret material. Failing to do so would be a giveaway that the whole "classified information" claim was a scam.
On Thursday, however, the DOJ went one step farther and did something that, to my mind, strongly indicates that its raid on Mar-a-Lago was intended to obtain and protect information that would be embarrassing to Obama, Biden, and the Deep State. Instead of complying with the court's order to submit the names of special masters, it fought back against a special master entirely by filing a motion stating that, unless the trial court reversed its order, it required that the court enter a stay pending an appeal to the 11th Circuit.
Coincidentally, just today, Broc Smith of Reality Bites sent me a cartoon that seems perfectly appropriate for this post.
The claimed reason is that the order, to the extent it affects allegedly "classified" material, compromises national security:
[T]his motion is limited to the Order's directives with respect to the seized classified records [fn. omitted] because those aspects of the Order will cause the most immediate and serious harms to the government and the public.
There are two problems with this request. First, it cannot be said often enough that the materials in Trump's possession by definition are not classified. The president of the United States of America has plenary power regarding document classification, something that overrides completely any bureaucrat's little rubber stamps and labels. As the Supreme Court said in Navy v. Egan, 484 U.S. 518 (1988),
[t]he President, after all, is the "Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States." U.S.Const., Art. II, § 2. His authority to classify and control access to information bearing on national security and to determine whether an individual is sufficiently trustworthy to occupy a position in the Executive Branch that will give that person access to such information flows primarily from this constitutional investment of power in the President, and exists quite apart from any explicit congressional grant. See Cafeteria Workers v. McElroy, 367 U. S. 886, 367 U. S. 890 (1961).
The various processes for classifying or declassifying documents apply to the bureaucrats who work for the president, not to the president himself. Whatever he does with the documents automatically overrides their allegedly classified status. Thus, when Trump removed those documents from the White House, they were instantly and automatically declassified.
Second, Washington, D.C., is crawling with people who have security clearances that allow them to see "classified" and even "top secret" documents. If no existing special master candidate has that clearance, it's easy to provide an expedited clearance, given how important this matter is. In other words, assuming solely for the sake of argument that the documents are "classified" or "top secret," that is no bar to having someone with a security clearance review them to determine whether they are subject to attorney-client or executive privileges.
Thus, the DOJ's motion signals that, for the Biden administration, the issue isn't that Trump had allegedly classified documents in his office. Were that the case, as noted, it would be easy enough for a special master with security clearance to review them. The Biden administration's concern, instead, is that no one outside the administration looks at those documents. The best explanation for this particular paranoia is that the documents reflect badly on the Biden administration and, by extension, on the Obama administration, and the Deep State itself.
I sure hope that Trump's lawyers understand what just happened here. The DOJ's actions can be understood to mean that the real reason behind the raid on Mar-a-Lago was to be a clean-up operation to sweep up all documents that could harm Biden, Obama, or anyone in those men's administrations.
Image: The most politicized attorney general in American history. YouTube screen grab.