You know the story: Trump brought thousands of government documents to his home at Mar-A-Lago, his resort in Florida, where security is very lax. That trove of documents included many that were Top Secret or otherwise classified. He appealed to a judge he appointed and she granted his desire to have the trove reviewed by a “special master,” which will delay the process of retrieving the documents by many months. The judge was confirmed one week after Trump’s election loss in 2020.

Public Citizen, a nonpartisan ethics advocacy group, sent out the following request:

Donald Trump got caught hoarding government documents at his compound in Florida. 

As we saw throughout his presidency, Trump has difficulty understanding the distinction between what belongs to him and what belongs to the American people. 

Yesterday, a judge who was appointed by Trump ruled that all 11,000 documents recovered in the FBI’s lawful search of Mar-a-Lago must be reviewed by a “special master” before the Department of Justice can use them in its criminal investigation of Trump’s improper paper grab. 

  • Our friends Norman L. Eisen and Fred Wertheimer have an excellent article in Slate today that explains this “incredibly flawed” ruling.
  • One crucial point they make is that it is impossible that documents stamped “top secret” or “classified” belong to Trump personally or are protected by attorney-client privilege.
  • More generally, presidential records belong to the U.S. government, not an individual president.

It comes down to a simple question: Is Donald Trump above the law or not?

Add your name if you agree that no person in America should be above the law. Not Donald Trump. Not anyone. The ruling by a Trump-appointed judge to require a special master to review the documents recovered from Mar-a-Lago — which are the rightful property of the American people, not Donald Trump — is wrong.

Thanks for taking action. 

For justice, 

– Robert Weissman, President of Public Citizen 

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