WASHINGTON (AP) – Full denial by federal judges he appointed. Far-reaching allegations of fraud Attorney General of New York. It’s been a week of worsening legal troubles for Donald Trump, exposing cumulative problems. as the former president is acting without the protection provided by the White House.
The bravado that has served him well in the political arena is less appropriate in the legal arena, where verifiable evidence dominates, where judges this week looked askance at his allegations, and where a fraud investigation that began when Trump was still president erupted into the public eye. review into a 222-page state lawsuit filled with allegations.
In politics, “you can say what you want, and if people like it, it works. It’s different in the legal realm,” said Chris Edelson, researcher on presidential powers and professor of public administration at American University. “This is an arena where there are tangible consequences for mistakes, misdeeds, false statements, which is not applicable in politics.”
This distinction between politics and law was evident during one 30 hour period this week.
In an interview with Fox News that aired on Wednesday, Trump insisted that the highly classified government records he had in Mar-a-Lago had in fact been declassified, and that the president has the right to declassify information “even if he thinks about it”.
However, the day before, an independent arbitrator, recommended by his own lawyers, looked taken aback when Trump’s team refused to provide any information to support his allegations of declassifying the documents. Special Master, Raymond Dearya seasoned federal judge, said the Trump team, too, tried to “get their pie and eat it” and that, in the absence of information to back up the claims, he tended to treat the tapes the way the government does: classified.
On Wednesday morning, New York State Attorney General Letitia James charged Trump with the lawsuit. in that he adds billions of dollars to his net worth and routinely misleads banks about the value of valuable assets. The lawsuit, which is the culmination of a three-year investigation that began when he was president, also names three of his adult children as defendants and aims to bar them from ever running a company in the state again. Trump denies any wrongdoing.
Hours later, three judges of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit — two of them nominated by Trump — declared him a stunning defeat in the Mar-a-Lago investigation.
The court overwhelmingly rejected arguments that it had the right to have a special master independently verify some 100 classified documents. made during an FBI search last month and said it was not clear why Trump should be “interested in or needing” the tapes.
This ruling opened the way for the Justice Department to resume the use of classified recordings in its investigation. It lifted the arrest imposed by Trump-appointed lower court judge Eileen Cannon, whose decisions in the Mar-a-Lago case have so far been the only bright spot for the former president. On Thursday, she rescinded parts of her order that required the Justice Department to give Dirie and Trump’s lawyers access to classified records.
Deary followed his own orders, giving the Justice Department until September 26 to file an affidavit confirming that the FBI’s detailed inventory of items seized during the search was accurate. Trump’s team will have until September 30 to identify errors or errors in the inventory.
Between Dirie’s stance and the appeals court’s decision: “I think there can basically be a developing consensus, if not a consensus already, that the government has a stronger position on a lot of these issues and a lot of these controversies.” said Richard Serafini, a Florida criminal defense attorney and former Justice Department prosecutor.
To be sure, Trump is no stranger to court drama, having been ousted in numerous lawsuits over his long business career and has demonstrated a remarkable ability to survive in seemingly dire situations.
His lawyers did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.
At the White House, Trump faced a dangerous investigation into whether he obstructed a Justice Department investigation into possible collusion between Russia and his 2016 campaign. After all, he was protected, at least in part, by the power of the president with special adviser Robert Mueller. citing the department’s longstanding policy of not arraigning an incumbent president.
The Democratic-led House of Representatives impeached him twice, once by telephone. with Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky for the second time due to riots at the Capitol on January 6, 2021. — but was acquitted by the Senate both times thanks to political support from other Republicans.
It remains unclear whether any of the current investigations will be prosecuted – the Mar-a-Lago investigation or the investigation related to January 6 or election interference in Georgia. A lawsuit in New York is a civil matter.
But there is no doubt that Trump no longer enjoys the legal shield of the presidency, even as he has repeatedly relied on an expansive view of the executive branch to protect his retention of documents that the government says are not his, regardless of their classifications.
Remarkably, the Justice Department and the federal appeals court paid little heed to his allegations about the declassification of documents. Despite all his statements on television and social media, both noted that Trump did not provide any information to support the idea that he took any steps to declassify the tapes.
The Court of Appeal called the issue of declassification a red herring because even declassifying the recording would not change its content or turn it from a public document into a private one. And the statutes that the Justice Department cites as the basis for its investigation do not explicitly mention classified information.
Trump’s lawyers also did not claim in court or in legal briefs that the tapes had been declassified. They told Dear that they should not be forced to reveal their position on the matter now because it could be part of their defense if charged.
Even some legal experts who have otherwise sided with Trump in his legal battles question his claims.
Jonathan Turley, George Washington University law professor who testified as a Republican witness during the first impeachment proceedings in 2019, he said that he was struck by the “lack of a consistent and consistent position of the former president regarding classified documents.”
“It’s not clear,” he added, “that the Jedi-like lawyers said it was possible to declassify things with thought, but the courts are unlikely to accept that assertion.”
Learn more about Donald Trump investigations: https://apnews.com/hub/donald-trump
Follow Eric Tucker on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/etuckerAP.