The FBI launched an unprecedented raid of Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence on August 8. A month later, US District Judge Aileen Cannon issued a ruling granting the former president’s request for a special master. Trump recently explained his selection of Judge Raymond Dearie, a former FISA Court judge who issued one of the search warrants allowing investigators to surveil Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, as that special master.
Trump sat down for an extensive interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity on September 21. Not one to mince words, Hannity asked why he approved a special master who signed a warrant on former campaign aid Carter Page. “That was surprising,” Hannity proclaimed.
Trump replied that he felt Dearie “got stung very, very badly” by the FBI when a subsequent legal review of the underlying data justifying the search warrant revealed the FBI was flawed. “The FBI lied to him,” the former president explained. Conventional wisdom says Dearie will pay particular attention this time to any so-called evidence presented by the federal government.
As a special master, Dearie’s duties include reviewing all the documents and other material seized by federal agents for any items covered by executive or attorney-client privilege or that are personal and beyond the scope of the warrant. If necessary, the special master will hold evidentiary hearings, “compel, take, and record evidence.” At the end of his review, Judge Dearie will submit his findings and recommendations to Judge Cannon in November for a final decision regarding what materials federal officials can keep and which items must be returned to Trump.