The latest response filed by lawyers for former President Donald Trump in the special main dispute before Judge Aileen Cannon smacks of the extremism and desperation perhaps born of being maneuvered into a legal corner by Attorney General Merrick Garland’s Department of Justice.
Instead of filing a concise response to the DOJ’s carefully tailored request to Canon Judge to partially suspend its own order just enough to allow investigators access to classified documents, Trump’s legal team begins with a rambling “introduction” that takes up nearly a quarter of its filing in which it characterizes the whole of the case as simply “a dispute over document storage” that wrongfully criminalizes Trump’s possession of his own presidential and personal records.
Trump lawyers use quotation marks around the word “classified,” implying that the very classification of any document is suspect, say only a special master can begin to “bring order to the chaos,” and argue that the DOJ tries to “skip the process and continue”. directly to a predetermined conclusion. It’s all on the first page.
The DOJ’s decision to restrict its legal argument to merely seeking access to classified documents is a smart move because it plays to the strongest part of its argument, which is that it is not possible to investigate a case involving classified documents without access to the documents. Trump’s lawyers have no choice but to attack the DOJ’s very decision to investigate.
For example, their use of the phrase “predetermined conclusion” clumsily attempts to mimic the cliched “judgment rush” language used by legendary criminal defense attorney Johnnie Cochran in his successful closing argument in the murder trial of OJ Simpson. But the finding Cochran was challenging was the finding of a criminal investigation, that OJ Simpson had committed murder. In contrast, Trump’s lawyers are trying to control the process of the criminal investigation itself.
The classification mess is another example of forced brutality on the part of Trump’s lawyers, as their dismissive statement shows: