In his last act before today’s election, Special Master Raymond Dearie issued the following order:
I’ve added the new dates to the timeline below.
The December 1 status conference, which has attracted the most attention, is scheduled for such time as Dearie will have had a chance to review the two sides’ disputes. More importantly, it comes after the 11th Circuit will have this issue fully briefed — and could well have decided to stop the entire process. It will also come after most results of the election will have been decided. It will be public, so Trump will have to make his bid to claw back all the documents he stole before the press.
The notice that he will consult NARA is a bit more interesting. As Dearie notes, this was specifically permitted in Judge Aileen Cannon’s order of appointment. At the first status hearing, Dearie said he would alert Trump before making such consultation. This order serves primarily to tell Trump that this is his chance — while his team is writing their 11th Circuit response and drawing up their general document — to weigh in. But nothing will prevent Dearie from making this consultation.
Dearie knows a good deal about what NARA will say, because the Presidential Records Act is clear. Any document Trump saw as President is a Presidential record. Most of Trump’s claims so far are without merit, even ignoring that the documents were seized with a valid warrant and have evidentiary value.
But the order will ensure that Trump makes a three-page argument about how he is above the PRA. And it’ll provide another authority on which Dearie can rely to rule that Trump cannot convert government documents to his personal property by the mere act of stealing them.
Update: Tweaked timeline.
October 13: DOJ provides materials to Trump
By October 14: DOJ provides notice of completion that Trump has received all seized documents
On or before October 14: DOJ revised deadline to 11th Circuit
October 18: Phone Special Master conference
October 20: Deadline for disputes about Executive Privilege and Presidential Records Act on filtered material
October 24: Date Trump unilaterally declares his deadline to comply with Dearie’s order
October 25: Trump rethinks and submits his version of disputes
October 26: Both sides agree to brief general issues; Dearie resolves the remaining privilege issues and accepts briefing dates
November 2 (21 days after notice of completion): Trump provides designations for all materials to DOJ
November 7: Dearie reveals he will consult with NARA
November 8: Election Day; Principal briefs due to Dearie
November 10, 2022: Trump revised deadline to 11th Circuit; deadline to complain about consultation with NARA
November 12 (10 days after November 2): Both sides provide disputes to Dearie; response briefs to Dearie
November 17: DOJ revised reply to 11th Circuit
December 1: Status conference
December 16: Dearie provides recommendations to Cannon