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Trump's legal woes mount without protection of presidency

81 1 0
23.09.2022

Stark repudiation by federal judges he appointed. Far-reaching fraud allegations by New York’s attorney general. It's been a week of widening legal troubles for Donald Trump, laying bare the challenges piling up as the former president operates without the protections afforded by the White House.

The bravado that served him well in the political arena is less handy in a legal realm dominated by verifiable evidence, where judges this week have looked askance at his claims and where a fraud investigation that took root when Trump was still president burst into public view in an allegation-filled 222-page state lawsuit.

In politics, “you can say what you want and if people like it, it works. In a legal realm, it’s different,” said Chris Edelson, a presidential powers scholar and American University government professor. “It’s an arena where there are tangible consequences for missteps, misdeeds, false statements in a way that doesn't apply in politics.”

That distinction between politics and law was evident in a single 30-hour period this week.

Trump insisted on Fox News in an interview that aired Wednesday that the highly classified government records he had at Mar-a-Lago actually had been declassified, that a president has the power to declassify information “even by thinking about it.”

A day earlier, however, an independent arbiter his own lawyers had recommended appeared skeptical when the Trump team declined to present any information to support his claims that the documents had been declassified. The special master, Raymond Dearie, a veteran federal judge, said Trump's team was trying to “have its cake........

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