Washington (AFP) – Stark Divorce by Federal Judges eye. Long-term fraud allegations by the Attorney General of New York. It’s been a week of mounting legal troubles for Donald Trump Challenges pile up The former president operates without the protection of the White House.
Courage that has served him well in the political arena is less useful in a legal field dominated by verifiable evidence, where judges this week considered his allegations with skepticism and where a fraud investigation emerged that took root when Trump was still in the public eye in a 222-page lawsuit. full of allegations.
In politics, “You can say whatever you want and if people like it, that works. In a legal world, it’s different,” said Chris Edelson, a researcher on presidential powers and government professor at American University. in a way that does not apply in politics.”
This distinction between politics and law was apparent in this one-hour 30-hour period.
Trump insisted on Fox News in an interview that aired Wednesday that the top-secret government records he held at Mar-a-Lago have already been declassified, and that the president has the power to declassify information “even by thinking about it.”
The day before, however, An independent arbitrator recommended by his attorneys He appeared skeptical when the Trump team refused to provide any information to support its claims that the documents had been declassified. special mr, Raymond DerryA veteran federal judge said Trump’s team was trying to “get his cake and eat it,” too, and that, in the absence of information to support the claims, he was tempted to look at records the way the government does: classified.
Wednesday morning, Letitia James, New York State Attorney General, Trump accused in a lawsuit of stuffing his net worth into billions of dollars and routinely misleading banks about the value of valuable assets. The lawsuit, the culmination of a three-year investigation that began when he was president, also lists three of his adult sons as defendants and seeks to prevent them from running a business again in the state. Trump has denied any wrongdoing.
Hours later, three judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit — two of whom were appointed by Trump — handed him a shocking loss in the Mar-a-Lago investigation.
The court overwhelmingly rejected the arguments that he was entitled to the special master to conduct an independent review of Nearly 100 classified documents Taken during an FBI search last month.
This ruling opened the way for the Justice Department to resume its use of classified records in its investigation. It lifted a decision imposed by lower court judge Eileen Cannon, a Trump appointee whose rulings in the Mar-a-Lago case have so far been the only bright spot for the former president. On Thursday, it responded by striking out parts of an order that asked the Justice Department to grant Derry and Trump’s attorney access to classified records.
Deere proceeded on his own, giving the Trump team until September 30 to identify errors or errors in the FBI’s detailed inventory of items taken in the search.
Between Derry’s position and the Court of Appeals ruling, “I think there may be a developing consensus, if not a consensus that has already developed, 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 the former attorney general at the Ministry of Justice.
Trump is certainly no stranger to courtroom dramas, having been impeached in numerous lawsuits throughout his decades-long career, and showing remarkable resilience in seemingly dire situations.
His lawyers did not immediately respond Thursday to a request for comment.
At the White House, Trump faced a serious investigation over whether he obstructed the Justice Department’s investigation of possible collusion between Russia and his 2016 campaign. In the end, he was at least partially shielded by the power of the presidency, With Special Counsel Robert Mueller Citing old ministry policy prohibiting an incumbent president from being indicted.
He was impeached twice by the Democratic-led House of Representatives – Once over a phone call With the leader of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky, The second time during the riots on January 6, 2021 at the Capitol — but was acquitted by the Senate on both occasions thanks to the political support of his fellow Republicans.
It remains unclear whether any of the current investigations — the Mar-a-Lago case, the Jan. 6 investigations, or interference in Georgia’s elections — will lead to criminal charges. The New York lawsuit is a civil case.
But there is no doubt that Trump no longer has the legal shield of the presidency, even though he has repeatedly relied on an extended view of the executive branch to advocate for keeping records that the government says are not his, regardless of their classification.
Notably, the Department of Justice and the Federal Court of Appeals paid little heed to his assertions that the records had been declassified. Despite all his claims on television and social media, both indicated that Trump has not provided any official information to support the idea that he has taken any steps whatsoever to declassify the records.
The appeals court called the issue of declassification “misleading” because even declassifying a record would not change its content or transform it from a government document into a personal one. The laws that the Department of Justice cites as the basis for its investigation do not expressly refer to confidential information.
Trump’s lawyers also declined to say in court or in legal memos that the records had been declassified. They told Derry that they should not be forced to reveal their position on the issue now because it might be part of their defense in the event of an indictment.
Even some of the legal experts who have sided with Trump in his legal battles are skeptical of his assertions.
Jonathan Turley, Professor of Law, George Washington University Testified as a Republican witness In the first impeachment proceedings in 2019, he said he was struck by the “lack of a coherent and consistent position from the former president on confidential documents.”
“It’s not clear what lawyers like Jedi have said that you can declassify things with an idea, but the courts are unlikely to adopt that claim,” he added.
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