Trump opposes DOJ’s Mar-a-Lago special master candidates but doesn’t say why


Former President Donald Trump opposes the Justice Department’s two proposed candidates to be the special master overseeing a review of evidence that the FBI seized from Mar-a-Lago last month, he told a federal judge on Monday.

But the Trump team declined to give its reasons for objecting to the pair – retired federal judges Barbara Jones and Thomas Griffith – at this time.

“Plaintiff objects to the proposed nominees of the Department of Justice. Plaintiff believes there are specific reasons why those nominees are not preferred for service as Special Master in this case,” the Trump lawyers wrote.

The Justice Department nominated Griffith, who served as a judge on US Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, DC, from 2005 to 2020, and Jones, a former federal prosecutor who has been a special master in several recent high-profile investigations.

The Trump team suggested lawyer Paul Huck Jr., a former partner at the Jones Day law firm and a contributor to the conservative legal organization the Federalist Society, and retired Judge Raymond Dearie, who served as a federal judge in New York since 1986, when he was nominated by former President Ronald Reagan.

Trump and the Justice Department have also disagreed on other key aspects of the special masterls responsibilities, including how long the review should take, who is responsible for paying the special master, and what type of documents are subject to review.

The Justice Department has not yet weighed in on Trump’s proposed candidates.

The Trump lawyers argue the court didn’t ask for detailed reasoning, and they are trying to be “more respectful to the candidates from either party.”

“Plaintiff also submits it is more respectful to the candidates from either party to withhold the bases for opposition from a public, and likely to be widely circulated, pleading,” Trump’s lawyers wrote. “Therefore, Plaintiff asks this Court for permission to specifically express our objections to the Government’s nominees only at such time that the Court specifies a desire to obtain and consider that information.”

This story has been updated with additional details.

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