September 25, 2022
Why Won’t 9/11 Special Master Kenneth Feinberg Take the Case of Trump Documents?

Lawyer Kenneth Feinberg estimates that he has taken on about “half a dozen” of the nation’s toughest assignments as Special Master over the years.

He oversaw the Victims Compensation Fund on September 11 during the administration of former President George W. Bush. He managed a similar fund for the victims of the Deepwater Horizon spill during the Obama administration. He also oversaw CEO salaries for companies that received government bailouts during the 2008 financial crisis.

However, in an exclusive interview, he told CBS News senior investigative correspondent Katherine Herridge that if asked become a special teacher in the case involved seized documents The answer from the Florida residence of former President Donald Trump will be no.

“I wouldn’t,” Feinberg said on Friday. “I don’t have that skill set. I’ve had some security clearances over the years. I still have security clearances. But that level of security clearance, along with the specific, specialized expertise that I think a person should be able to do Will, assures me that I’m not the right person for the job.”

To a question whether he has been contacted, Feinberg replied, “Thank God, no.”

Feinberg said the special master would have to “brace” himself for a “politically charged assignment” in which he could receive credible threats and his background checks could be conducted.

“It’s a political appointment,” Feinberg said. “Now I agree that there are very important national security concerns. But it’s already, you know, if you’re asked to do that, arm yourself one way or the other, they’re going to see that.” It’s how you behaved in grammar. School. And it doesn’t matter 70 years ago, or 60 years ago. I mean, this is the kind of political war we’ve been seeing in the last decade. And this Very problematic.”

A special master is an independent third party appointed by a court or executive branch to act on its behalf. The range of tasks performed can vary widely. In this case, Feinberg said the skills required for the job are “unique.”

“First of all, does the particular master’s resume have — highly sensitive national secret information? Is there someone with that experience and that approval to review these highly sensitive documents,” Feinberg said.

He said that in cases where he has been appointed, such as the Deepwater Horizon and 9/11 cases, there was “no objection” to his appointment and that “all parties” were “expecting a speedy resolution.”

Those cases included compensation for victims. He said Trump’s case is different.

“This case will be politically charged from the start,” Feinberg said. “Would anyone be willing to brace themselves to take the heat? Because there will be heat.”

Feinberg also questioned whether courts should also have a role to play in assessing the security threat posed by the storage of documents containing classified marks found at Mar-a-Lago.

“The idea that the judiciary would essentially interfere with the work of a highly efficient executive branch to classify documents – I don’t think it’s a good idea for the judiciary to get involved,” he said, noting that an appointment The case The Special Master for the case will be reviewed by the Appellate Court.

“And the idea that this is a judicial act, I’m very suspicious of it,” Feinberg said. “Departments and national security agencies, the CIA, they have information and valuable insight into all of this. And I’m not sure that a federal judge, district court or appellate court really has the sophistication and experience that is able to create Those findings are second-guess purportedly.”

The Justice Department and Trump’s legal team had by Friday to submit a list of potential Special Master candidates acceptable to both parties. Feinberg doubts that a “consensus candidate” exists.

“I think it is very likely that the judge will have to appoint someone whom he deems appropriate on the objection of one side or the other,” he told Herridge. “I don’t see the two sides getting together. But again, if there’s going to be a particular master, the appellate review will await.”

In any case, he has some advice for any of those potential candidates.

“What makes these tasks so unique and so difficult is the emotional overhang, the political overhang,” Feinberg said. “And I would ask, or I would suggest to anyone who is considering it: Think long and hard. There have been people in the national security system for years who have amazing resumes, exemplary service to the people of this country. Now You’re being asked to take a charge that has the potential to tarnish that reputation and bring you into political polarization.

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