Updated Nov 22, 2022 - Politics & Policy

DOJ and Trump lawyers spar over special master in Mar-a-Lago case

he Mar-a-Lago Club is viewed on Tuesday, November 8, 2022 in Palm Beach, Florida.

Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida. Photo: Phelan M. Ebenhack for The Washington Post via Getty Images

A federal appeals court on Tuesday heard oral arguments in the ongoing dispute over the use of a special master to review the classified documents seized at former President Trump's Mar-a-Lago residence.

Driving the news: The Department of Justice has urged the Atlanta-based appeals court to terminate the special master requirement, saying it is hindering its investigation into Trump's handling of classified records.

  • Sopan Joshi, assistant to U.S. Solicitor General, asked the court to reverse the "extraordinary judicial intrusion."
  • Lawyers for Trump argued for the continued use of a special master. James Trusty, an attorney for Trump, said that the court should begin with a "broader premise."
  • "There's not a situation in the history of this country where a sitting president authorized a raid of a presidential candidate's home," Trusty said.

The big picture: The hearing comes days after Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed a special counsel to oversee the federal criminal investigation into Trump's handling of the documents.

  • Judge Aileen Cannon in September sided with Trump in appointing a special master to review the seized items and "potentially privileged material subject to claims of attorney-client and/or executive privilege," per a court filing.
  • Cannon appointed veteran Judge Raymond Dearie to sift through the documents seized at Mar-a-Lago.
  • The oral arguments come on the same day that the Supreme Court rejected Trump's emergency application asking it to block a Democratic-led House committee from obtaining his tax returns.

What to watch: It is not yet clear when the court may offer a ruling on the special master issue, AP reports.

Go deeper: Trump's special master jam

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