221123213112 Donald Trump File 111522

Trump’s classic delay and divert legal strategy is running out of road



CNN

A trio of new defeats has extended former President Donald Trump’s legal losing streak as he seeks to face investigations into his hoarding of classified documents and his 2020 election campaign.

In another major victory for the Justice Department on Thursday, days after it won convictions from far-right Oath Keepers insurgents, an appeals court allowed a third-party review of material taken by the FBI from Trump’s Florida resort. discontinued. Thursday’s order could allow prosecutors to proceed more quickly as they investigate possible violations of the Espionage Act and whether Trump or aides obstructed justice over material carelessly stored to which he may not be entitled under the law.

In another blow to the former president on Thursday, a federal judge ordered former Trump White House lawyers to provide additional grand jury testimony after rejecting Trump’s claims rooted in attorney-client or executive privilege.

The two lawyers declined to answer certain questions during a previous appearance before the grand jury in the criminal investigation into the US Capitol uprising. Both this case, and the case focusing on documents Trump took from the White House, are now being overseen by special counsel Jack Smith.

On another legal front threatening Trump, his former short-lived national security adviser Michael Flynn has become the latest acolyte of his to be ordered to testify before a grand jury in Atlanta. This investigation looks specifically at Trump’s 2020 bid to reverse his swing state loss.

Another day of tough courtroom losses for the former president matched a similar flurry of disappointments in the Mar-a-Lago and Georgia probes and over his failed attempt to keep his tax returns private, which Trump world before Thanksgiving rocked. The Justice Department’s string of major victories finally calls into question one of Trump’s lifelong strategies for avoiding accountability — using the courts to delay or stall cases against him in endless litigation.

And the rulings by judges, in some cases Republican appointees, also send a message that Trump’s massive and often inflated claims of executive and attorney-client privilege are an unreliable shield against scrutiny. Trump’s penchant for appealing all the way to the Supreme Court — and the conservative majority he’s built — doesn’t seem to be working so far either, after the high court declined to intervene on his behalf in several key cases in recent weeks.

Taken together, this pattern of futility reinforces a principle that cuts to the heart of the American legal and political systems – that Trump, even as a former president, is entitled to no more deference under the law than any ordinary citizen.

In some ways, the former president sought protections that might be due to him in office, even though he is no longer commander-in-chief. This belief may also be part of Trump’s motivation for launching his 2024 presidential campaign early – as he claims he is the victim of political persecution to once again inflame his base supporters against the Washington establishment.

“Donald Trump’s approach anytime he’s under investigation for anything is to delay and use the courts as a mechanism to delay – and for him it works because he’s a former president. We’re all tangled up in questions about can you prosecute or impeach someone who’s running for president,” Connecticut Democratic Rep. Jim Himes, who sits on the House Intelligence Committee, said on CNN. “However, it does not work in the courts. He loses almost all the time in the courts,” Himes told CNN’s Alex Marquardt on “The Situation Room.”

The Justice Department’s success in removing Trump’s legal obstacles to his investigations could also move the country toward resolving one of the most vexing questions that haunts any modern political campaign: Will a former president running for office again? the White House run, and has a history of inciting violence to further his anti-democratic goals, face criminal charges?

The latest courtroom setbacks for him also come as the House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021 uprising prepares to issue a final report, which, judging from its hearings, paints a devastating picture of Trump will outline his actions. The panel will meet Friday to debate whether to make any criminal referrals, although such a move would not force the DOJ to act as it conducts its own investigations.

The major legal ruling Thursday overturned a lower court ruling by a Trump-appointed judge, Aileen Cannon, who appointed a third-party official known as a “special master” to review thousands of pages of documents released from Mar-a – removed, to sift. Lago through a court-approved FBI search in August. The bureau found 103 classified documents under that drawer. In its ruling, a three-judge panel in the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals said Cannon should never have intervened in the case and that it does not meet the standard of extraordinary circumstances that merit intervention in Justice Department investigations .

“It is indeed unusual for a warrant to be executed at the home of a former president — but not in a way that affects our legal analysis or otherwise gives the judiciary license to interfere in an ongoing investigation,” the court said.

Essentially, the Justice Department argued that if a precedent was set for Trump to have a special master, almost every other citizen in the country would be entitled to a similar step.

Norm Eisen, a legal and ethics expert who served as special counsel to the House Judiciary Committee during Trump’s first impeachment, described Thursday’s ruling as a “stunning rebuke of Judge Cannon, but also (of) Donald Trump and his lawyers .” He told CNN: “The court is making the point if we apply this ruling across the board to all Americans, to anyone who gets a search warrant, the justice system could not work.”

Trump’s legal team is considering whether to file another appeal with the Supreme Court on behalf of the former president, sources familiar with the discussions told CNN.

Trump’s sweeping claims of presidential and personal privilege, which were a hallmark of his presidency when he challenged the congressional investigation, have translated into his multiple legal battles since leaving office.

However, on Thursday, Washington, DC, District Court Chief Judge Beryl Howell ruled that former White House counsel Pat Cipollone and his deputy, Patrick Philbin, must appear before the grand jury again. The two previously testified in September but declined to answer certain questions citing Trump’s privilege claims. Neither attorney responded to CNN’s request for comment. And Trump, as usual, is expected to file an appeal. CNN reached out to his representatives.

New developments surrounding Cipollone and Philbin came two days after another sign emerged that the investigation was reaching deep into the former president’s former inner circle.

CNN first reported that former Trump adviser Stephen Miller testified to the grand jury on Tuesday. Miller, one of Trump’s closest ideological soul mates, speechwriters and the architect of tough immigration policies, may be in a position to help prosecutors uncover what was on Trump’s mind in the days and hours leading up to the Capitol uprising has.

His appearance was the latest sign that the courts and the justice system are slowly working through the aftermath of the worst attack on democracy in modern American history and that Trump’s efforts to stave off the investigation forever may ultimately fail.

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