On Tuesday, a Florida judge informed two lawyers representing former President Donald J. Trump, neither of them licensed in the state, that they had bungled routine paperwork to take part in a suit filed following the F.B.I.’s search this month of Mr. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home and private club.
“A sample motion can be found on the Court’s website,” the judge instructed them in her order.
Mr. Trump has projected his usual bravado, and raised millions of dollars online from outraged supporters, since federal agents descended on the property more than two weeks ago and carted off boxloads of material including highly classified documents. But something is different this time — and the errant court filing offered a glimpse into the confusion and uncertainty the investigation has exposed inside Mr. Trump’s camp.
The documents investigation represents the greatest legal threat Mr. Trump has faced in years, and he is going into the battle shorn of the protective infrastructure and constitutional armor of the presidency. After years of burning through lawyers, he has struggled to hire new ones, and has a small group of lawyers of varying experience.
He is facing a Justice Department he no longer controls, run by a by-the-book attorney general, Merrick B. Garland, who has pursued various investigations into Mr. Trump methodically and quietly.
Mr. Trump is serving as his own communications director and strategic adviser, seeking tactical political and in-the-moment public relations victories, sometimes at the risk of stumbling into substantive legal missteps. [Continue reading…]