Federal Judge Rejects Biden DOJ’s Request To Charge Trump
by Liza Carlisle
December 10, 2022
When the Biden FBI raided the Trump family home in Florida, it began a web of tangled legal proceedings for both former President Trump and the Biden Department of Justice. The raid was an unprecedented action against a former president and is still being volleyed about in the justice system as judges rule against each other.
The FBI stated that they were searching for “classified” documents that the former president should not have in his possession, despite the fact that the FBI had already visited the location of the boxes of documents at Trump’s invitation, and there was a request by the FBI recorded for additional locks on the storage area where the documents were located.
Former President Trump has repeatedly publicly stated that he had cooperated fully with the FBI over the documents in the past, that the documents in question were those that he himself has de classified before leaving the Oval Office, and that they were slated for his upcoming presidential museum, hence his possession of them. When documents are declassified, they still retain their original “classified” markings.
Trump requested a special master to be involved in the process of reviewing the documents as a witness and buffer between Trump and the FBI. He was granted that request, and a special master was appointed for this specific duty. On Thursday, the Trump legal team was dealt a blow when his effort to have a special master appointed to oversee the classified documents ended. Trump had initially won that request, which paused the DOJ investigation, but a later panel of judges overturned the order and allowed the probe to continue.
Given that Trump was appointed the special master in fairness, the reversal is concerning for his team and now there is another legal move againt Trump in the matter.
Slay News reports that according to multiple sources, the DOJ is pushing to hold Trump and his legal team in contempt in the continued legal struggle over the classified documents. The DOJ sought the contempt of court ruling after it said the Trump legal team was not responding properly to a subpoena that was issued in May, directing Trump to return all “documents with classified markings” (which could also include documents that had been declassified) in his possession. Trump did not comply with the subpoena, simply because it was not directed at him.
The subpoena was directed to Trump’s custodian of records. However, it has not yet been established who that person is.
The DOJ in recent weeks asked the chief district court judge for the District of Columbia, Beryl Howell, to hold Trump’s office in contempt after prosecutors were unable to get the former president’s lawyers to designate a custodian of records to certify all records were returned, the Guardian reported.
The Guardian went on to not that “If the Trump legal team could not find someone to certify under oath that all documents bearing classified marking s had been returned, the department is said to have communicated that it would seek a judicial sanction.”
Of course, Trump’s position is that he has a right to the documents, and that they were unlawfully seized, not handed over.
Now there has been a ruling in that matter. A federal judge has rejected the request from Joe Biden’s Department of Justice (DOJ) to charge President Donald Trump with contempt over documents seized by the FBI from his Mar-a-Lago home in August.
In dismissing the request, Judge Beryl Howell reportedly told DOJ officials to resolve the dispute with Trump’s lawyers themselves.
MSNBC reporter Ken Dilanian said the ruling appeared to imply that the Department of Justice had so far been unable to link Trump personally to the classified documents for an indictment.
After the judge’s ruling, Trump spokesperson Steven Cheung condemned the actions of the DOJ in a statement, Slay News reported.
“The President and his counsel will continue to be transparent and cooperative, even in the face of the highly weaponized and corrupt witch-hunt from the Department of ‘Justice,’” said Cheung. “Hillary Clinton was allowed to delete and acid wash 33,000 emails after they were subpoenaed by Congress, yet absolutely nothing has happened to hold her accountable,” he noted.
Cheung continued, “If the Department of ‘Justice’ can go after President Trump, they will surely come after any American who they disagree with,” Cheung continued. “President Trump is the only one who stands in the way of the un-American weaponization of law enforcement.”
The ruling was made behind closed doors in a U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. CNBC noted that the hearing was sealed because it related to grand jury proceedings. The Department of Justice had no comment on the matter.
Trump last month announced his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024, as several investigations that have been ongoing but not resulted in charges against the former president continue.