Let’s bring in Mark Smith, a former member of the Trump transition team and a constitutional attorney. Mark, good morning. It’s great to see you. What is your take on the appointment of Special Master and where do things go from here?
Well, obviously, from a public relations point of view, this is a huge victory for President Trump because the Department of Justice said they did not want a Special Master appointed because it was not needed. And why wasn’t it needed? According to the Department of justice, it’s because the Department of justice could be trusted to filter through the relevant information. Anything that should not be turned over to the investigative team would be set aside. But here you have an independent federal judge saying, I hear what you’re saying, Department of justice, but I’m not going to agree with you here. We need an independent third party that has no connection to the Department of justice to make this determination. The other interesting thing, if you look at the court order, is apparently some of the documents that were supposed to have been filtered out already were exposed improperly to the investigative team. And the judge says, in light of that, I simply cannot trust the Department of justice to do the job itself, and we need an independent person in here. So, again, it is a blow to the Department of justice as to how long it will be a blow, the DOJ is in their investigation, hard to say, but for the moment, it’s a win for Donald Trump.
You mentioned how long the DOJ is complaining this will delay this process. Mark, why are they in such a rush here when investigations like, oh, I don’t know, say, the Durham investigation is taking a very long time?
I’m not really sure. The Department of justice is really in a rush at the end of the day, because keep in mind, that President Trump has been out of office for over a year and a half, which is not exactly a fast time, and they’ve been talking about these documents for, again, just about 18 months. So what is the rush here? I’m not sure. At the end of the day, there really is a rush. But certainly, that was their position in court in front of this federal judge. They wanted to move with speed because it’s so important. But one does wonder, well, why did it take them 18 months if this is so important? It’s not like these documents and the President were unknown they’ve known about this. So, yes, I think that might be a litigation position, but at the end of the day, one wonders, are they really moving with speed? It’s not so clear.
Yes, we’re sort of at the start of this right now. Let’s jump to the end of it. How do you see all of this playing out? And ultimately, do you think the former president is going to face charges as it relates to these documents?
I’m not sure he’s actually going to be indicted. But remember, sometimes the lingering concern about being indicted or charged with a crime is a punishment in and of itself. Because the mere fact that we’re having this conversation today about whether or not President Trump is going to be charged with a crime demonstrates that in terms of a public relations political point of view, it’s something that we’re talking about. Right. We’re not talking about the midterms so much. We’re talking about President Trump, who hasn’t been president for almost upward going towards two years, right? And yet we’re still talking about him. So how does this all play out? There’s the question of what will happen in the court system. I’m skeptical they will actually charge him. But in terms of the ongoing political ramifications of this, we’re going to keep talking about this because it’s a big deal because he’s a former President of ISIS and a potential future presidential candidate. So of course it’s going to remain in the headlines. Yeah.
Republicans during the Midterms can’t take the bait on this. They need to keep the messaging on the economy and on the border and the like. Mark, before we let you go, one word that jumped out at me and all the reports yesterday from this judge’s taxes mentioned that Trump’s taxes were taken. Could there be a connection between these so-called records cases, which is what the DOJ is calling it, and some of these tax investigations of Donald J. Trump that are going on throughout the country?
Well, you know, at the very beginning of this country, our Founding Fathers, when they wrote the Constitution, were very concerned with what we’re known as general warrants, which basically was when the British soldiers would just go into a person’s home randomly and go through all aspects of it looking for evidence of an unspecified crime. And that’s why we have the Fourth Amendment in the US. Constitution today. And yet here we have a situation. If you look at the warrant request, they basically said, if you see anything relating to the four years that President Trump was the President in any respect, then you should take that. And that is apparently what happened down at Mara Lago. That is not consistent, in my view, with the Fourth Amendment. That seems to be a general warrant of the exact sort of thing our Founding Fathers were worried about when they wrote the Constitution to try to limit government power and protect individual liberties.
Yeah. The judge yesterday, as Todd said, said that some of the things that were taken have to do with tax accounting information, and medical records as well. Does it sound like any of that has to do with the National Archives? Somewhere to come on that front? For sure. Mark, thank you so much.