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Legal Expert: DOJ Leaks In Trump Case ‘Reinforce’ Claims He’s Politically Targeted

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


A legal expert blasted the U.S. Department of Justice over a number of leaks to the media regarding cases involving former President Donald Trump, saying they “further reinforce” Republican claims that the probes are politically motivated.

The criticism comes after the leaking of a sealed opinion from a judge claiming that Trump deliberately misled his counsel about classified documents discovered at his Mar-a-Lago residence.

A former federal judge wrote in a sealed filing last week that prosecutors provided “compelling preliminary evidence” suggesting that Trump “knowingly and deliberately misled his own attorneys about his retention of classified materials after leaving office.”

U.S. Judge Beryl Howell, who recently resigned from her post as the chief judge of the D.C. district court, stated in a filing that prosecutors in Special Counsel Jack Smith’s office had presented sufficient initial evidence indicating that the former president had committed criminal offenses.

As a result, the attorney-client privileges asserted by two of his lawyers could be overridden, according to the report.

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In her undisclosed filing, Howell mandated that Evan Corcoran, a lawyer representing Trump, comply with a grand jury subpoena to testify on six separate lines of investigation that he had previously protected under attorney-client privilege.

Howell concluded that prosecutors had met the prima facie standard required to override Corcoran’s privilege by demonstrating initial evidence that Trump had committed crimes. However, the judge emphasized that the prosecutors must meet a higher standard of evidence to pursue charges against Trump, and even more evidence to prove his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, the report continued.

But constitutional expert and Georgetown law school professor Jonathan Turley has argued that the leak of the sealed filing was “deeply troubling” and a continuation of a “pattern of selective leaks that are designed to influence public opinion.”

“This is a continuation of a pattern of leaks related to Trump investigations that extend seven years, through the Russian collusion investigation,” Turley said.

“These leaks make a mockery of the system,” Turley added, noting that they “further reinforce the narrative of Donald Trump that the Department of Justice is engaging in unethical or improper means to target him in election year.”

“These leaks have one overriding common denominator: they all tend to undermine Donald Trump and to implicate him in the alleged crime,” Turley said, adding that Garland has expressed “no interest in investigating his own department.”

Trump’s lawyers met with Justice Department officials on Monday in connection to the federal investigation into his handling of classified materials.

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The investigation culminated in an unprecedented FBI raid of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida in August, which was roundly criticized at the time.

Last month, some Republicans suggested that the Republican-led House jump-start new investigations into Clinton after special counsel John Durham’s report cited her campaign as being responsible for the phony ‘Russian collusion’ allegations against her rival, Donald Trump.

“The media was in on this from the beginning, in my view. They’re the ones who were willing to launder out Hillary Clinton’s phony, made-up information about Donald Trump,” Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.) told Fox News, adding it was “the same information that she used with her friends at the upper echelon of the FBI to start the ‘Crossfire Hurricane’ investigation.”

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Ahead of the 2016 election, the Justice Department and elements within the FBI had launched at least four investigations into the Clinton Foundation and Hillary herself, who was accused of violating laws governing the handling of classified materials after it was discovered that she had her own personal email server located in her New York home while serving as President Barack Obama’s secretary of state.

She was also under investigation for allegedly destroying classified materials and emails that were under congressional subpoena.

All four were dropped ahead of the 2016 election when it was believed that she would beat Trump.

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