Come one! Come all! See the fabulous stalling of Donald Trump’s legal team!


Donald Trump

Coup attempt

Fig. 1. Original: The White House. Derivative work: J. J. Messerly, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

I am not a lawyer but I’m assuming this is just another stunt, utterly without legal merit, meant to prolong the proceedings:

In a court filing on Monday night, [Donald] Trump’s lawyers responded to a “draft management plan” written by [Raymond] Dearie. The plan asked Trump’s lawyers to provide details about documents that the former president has publicly claimed were declassified. Trump had previously claimed that the documents were his property.[1]

It seems the special master, Raymond Dearie, thinks, this being a civil suit filed by Donald Trump, that Trump bears the burden of proof for assertions that any documents the government claims are classified are in fact not classified.[2]

In their filing, lawyers for the ex-president refused to respond to the request, explaining it could hinder a future defense for Trump should he later be indicted over the mishandling of the government documents.[3]

[Raymond] Dearie bristled at the effort by [Donald] Trump’s lawyers to resist his request for proof that Trump actually attempted to declassify any of the 100 documents that the Justice Department recovered from his estate. Without evidence from Trump, Dearie said his only basis to judge the classification level of the records was the fact that they all bear markings designating them as highly sensitive national security secrets — including some that indicate they contain intelligence derived from human sources and foreign intercepts.[4]

Of course this allays my suspicions not in the least:

The former president’s legal team also took issue with [Raymond] Dearie’s proposed timeline for completing the assessment of the documents and their privilege claims. Though he has until the end of November to complete it, Dearie’s plan suggests he could complete the process by October 7.

“We respectfully suggest that all of the deadlines can be extended to allow for a more realistic and complete assessment of the areas of disagreement,” the lawyers said.[5]

Which is, of course, to say they intend to argue every last document. Even more pathetic is that they scarcely disguise this intention.

Notably, the delay [Donald] Trump’s lawyers want would push [Raymond] Dearie’s work past the midterm elections. The [Department of Justice] doesn’t appear to oppose most of the special master’s action plan.[6]

Donald Trump wanted a special master. A real judge would surely insist that he deal with that special master in good faith. But it’s clear Trump has himself a very friendly judge,[7] who I’m sure will bend over backwards, even do somersaults as his lawyers come running to mommy. So I’m guessing that, yet again, what happens will be almost anything other than what ordinarily should happen.

It’s certainly something to consider that if the white Christian nationalist plan to establish a competitive authoritarian regime succeeds—I increasingly think it won’t[8]—this will become the norm.

Jennifer Rubin, “If Garland sincerely believes in the rule of law, Trump is in deep trouble,” Washington Post, September 19, 2022,

Perry Stein, Devlin Barrett, and Shayna Jacobs, “Special master prods Trump lawyers: ‘You can’t have your cake and eat it,’” Washington Post, September 20, 2022,

Chris Walker, “Trump’s Lawyers are Already Bickering With the Special Master, Whom They Picked,” Truthout, September 20, 2022,

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