A federal judge on Friday rejected the Department of Justice’s request to hold former President Trump and his legal team to hold them responsible over the continued legal battle regarding classified documents found at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence during an FBI raid.
The judge overseeing the case, Judge Beryl Howell, reportedly told the two parties to dispute the issue themselves and find a mutual agreement on their own.
The DOJ claimed that Trump’s team was not responding properly to a subpoena in May after they requested documents with classified markings.
However, a Trump spokesperson, Steven Cheung, argued that his legal team was cooperating fully.
“The president and his counsel will continue to be transparent and cooperative, even in the face of the highly weaponized and corrupt witch-hunt from the Department of Justice,” Cheung said in a statement adding, “if the Department of ‘Justice’ can go after President Trump, they will surely come after any American who they disagree with... President Trump is the only one who stands in the way of the un-American weaponization of law enforcement.”
After 90 minutes in the courtroom, sources said that the judge questioned prosecutors on how she could hold Trump’s team in contempt, noting that Trump’s lawyers have taken steps to alleviate the Justice Department’s concerns that there may still be records in Trump’s possession.
Howell also asked prosecutors why the custodian of records needed to attest that all documents had been returned despite Trump’s lawyers already informing the DOJ that they had searched four locations and found two documents with classified markings, which said documents were returned to investigators.
An MSNBC reporter suggested that the ruling implied that the DOJ has failed to tie Trump to the classified documents for indictment.