DOJ Greenlights One Of Donald Trump’s Special Master Picks

( The Department of Justice this week signaled that they were amenable to one of former President Donald Trump’s picks to serve as the special master who will review all the documents seized as part of the FBI raid at his Florida Mar-a-Lago home.

In a court filing the DOJ made, prosecutors said they would approve of Raymond Dearie serving in the role of special master. Prosecutors said that this was because of Dearie’s “substantial judicial experience,” including him presiding “over federal criminal and civil cases, including federal cases involving national security and privilege concerns.”

It’s somewhat surprising that the DOJ so quickly said they would be OK with one of Trump’s selections for the special master. Many people had believed that there would be a long fight over the choices, but that has not happened.

A reason for that is that Dearie is a respected federal judge, showing that Trump and his legal team is taking the whole process of a special master seriously.

Dearie first began serving as a federal judge in the 1980s after being nominated by then-President Ronald Reagan. In 2011, he retired, but still serves as a senior judge on the circuit in New York.

In addition, Dearie has extensive national security experience, having served for seven years on the FISA court — or the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. Dearie was one of the judges who approved a request by the DOJ and FBI to surveil Carter Page, who was a campaign foreign policy adviser for Trump. That inquiry was completed as part of a federal investigation into Russia’s potential interference in the presidential election in 2016.

In its court filing this week, the DOJ said that, in addition to Dearie, they would be amenable to either of the nominations they put forward to serve as special master — retired federal judges Thomas Griffith and Barbara Jones.

Griffith served as a judge on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., between 2005 and 2020. Jones, meanwhile, is a former prosecutor at the federal level who also has served in this same role — as a special master — for multiple high-profile investigations in recent years.

Yet, Trump’s team has said that they oppose both of the selections that the DOJ put forward. They didn’t explain why they were opposed, though. As Trump’s legal team wrote in a court filing:

“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.”

Trump’s other selection was Paul Huck Jr., a lawyer who was once at partner at the law firm of Jones Day. The DOJ opposed him, though, saying he “does not appear to have similar experience” to the other three judges who were put forth as potential selections.

At this point, it’s not certain when Aileen Cannon, the U.S. District judge overseeing the case, will decide who will serve as the special master.