Trump’s Legal Troubles Grow Without Presidency Protection

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WASHINGTON (TBEN) — A stark rejection by federal judges he has appointed. Far-reaching allegations of fraud by the New York Attorney General. It has been a week of mounting legal trouble for Donald Trump, exposing the challenges that pile up as the former president operates without the protections afforded by the White House.

The bravado that has served him well in the political arena is less useful in a legal realm dominated by verifiable evidence, where judges this week have looked suspiciously at his claims and where a fraud investigation that took root when Trump was president accusation-filled 222-page state case.

In politics you can say what you want and if people like it, it works. It’s different in the legal field,” said Chris Edelson, a presidential scientist and professor at the American university. “It’s an arena where there are tangible consequences for missteps, misdeeds, false statements in a way that doesn’t apply in politics.”

That distinction between politics and law was apparent this week in a single 30-hour period.

Trump insisted that TBEN News said in an interview that aired Wednesday that the top-secret government documents he had in Mar-a-Lago had actually been released, that a president has the power to release information “even by talking about it.” thinking”.

However, a day earlier, an independent arbitrator recommended by his own lawyers appeared skeptical when the Trump team declined to provide information to support its claims that the documents had been declassified. The special master, Raymond Dearie, an experienced federal judge, said Trump’s team was trying to “get his cake and eat it,” and that, lacking information to substantiate the claims, he was inclined to consider the records. as the government does: classified.

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On Wednesday morning, Letitia James, the New York State Attorney General, accused Trump in a lawsuit of padding his wealth with billions of dollars and habitually misleading banks about the value of valued assets. The lawsuit, the culmination of a three-year investigation that began when he was president, also names three of his adult children as defendants and seeks to prevent them from ever running a business in the state again. Trump has denied any allegation.

Hours later, three judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit — two of them Trump appointees — handed him a surprising loss in the Mar-a-Lago investigation.

The court overwhelmingly rejected arguments that it had the right to have the special captain conduct an independent review of the roughly 100 classified documents taken during last month’s FBI search.

That ruling opened the way for the Department of Justice to resume use of the classified records in the investigation. It lifted a hold placed by a lower-ranking judge, Aileen Cannon, a Trump appointee whose verdicts in the Mar-a-Lago case have been the only bright spot for the former president so far. On Thursday, she responded by removing parts of her warrant requiring the Justice Department to give Dearie and Trump’s lawyers access to the classified documents.

Between Dearie’s position and the appeals court ruling, “I think in principle there may be a growing consensus, if not an already developed consensus, that the government has the stronger position on many of these issues and many of these controversies, said Richard Serafini, a Florida criminal defense attorney and former Justice Department prosecutor.

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Certainly, Trump is hardly a stranger to courtroom drama, having been impeached in countless lawsuits throughout his decades-long corporate career, and he has displayed a remarkable ability to survive situations that seemed dire.

His lawyers did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday.

At the White House, Trump had faced a dangerous investigation into whether he had obstructed a Justice Department investigation into possible collusion between Russia and his 2016 campaign. In the end, he was at least partially protected by the powers of the presidency, with special counsel Robert Mueller citing long-standing departmental policies prohibiting charges against a sitting president.

He was impeached twice by a Democrat-led House of Representatives — once over a telephone conversation with Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the second during the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol riots — but was acquitted by the Senate on both occasions. thanks to political support from fellow Republicans.

It remains unclear whether any of the current investigations — those of Mar-a-Lago or probes related to Jan. 6 or election meddling in Georgia — will lead to criminal charges. And the New York lawsuit is a civil matter.

But there is no doubt that Trump no longer enjoys the legal shield of the presidency, even though he has repeatedly relied on a comprehensive view of the executive branch to defend his retention of data that the administration believes does not belong to him, regardless of their classification. .

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In particular, the Department of Justice and the Federal Court of Appeals paid little attention to his claims that the documents had been declassified. Despite all of his claims on TV and social media, both have noted that Trump has not presented any formal information to support the idea that he has taken steps to release the records.

The appeals court called the declassification question a “red herring” because even releasing a record wouldn’t change its contents or change it from a government document to a personal one. And the statutes that the Department of Justice cites as the basis of its investigation do not explicitly state classified information.

Trump’s lawyers have also not said in court or in legal documents that the records have been released. They told Dearie that they should not be forced to make their position known on the matter now, as it could be part of their defense in the event of an indictment.

Even some legal experts who have further sided with Trump in his legal battles are questioning his claims.

Jonathan Turley, a George Washington University law professor who testified as a Republican witness in the first impeachment trial in 2019, said he was struck by the former president’s “lack of a coherent and consistent stance on the classified documents.”

“It’s not clear,” he added, “what Jedi-style lawyers said you could release things with a thought, but the courts probably won’t embrace that claim.”

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More on Donald Trump-related investigations: https://apnews.com/hub/donald-trump

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Follow Eric Tucker on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/etuckerAP

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