Aileen Cannon Prioritized Donald Trump’s Reputation over CIA Assets’ Lives

I mentioned the Richey factors yesterday: the now-11th Circuit precedent laying out factors a judge should consider before nosing into the government’s warranted seizure of a subject’s property. Here’s how Judge Cannon laid them out before deciding she should nose into the government’s business.

In making this determination, the Court relies in part on the factors identified in Richey v. Smith. 515 F.2d at 1245. 9 In that case, the former Fifth Circuit counseled courts to consider, for equitable jurisdiction purposes, whether the government displayed a callous disregard for the movant’s constitutional rights, whether the movant has an individual interest in and need for the seized property, whether the movant would be irreparably injured by denial of the return of the seized property, and whether the movant otherwise has an adequate remedy at law.

As I laid out, Cannon did some crazy-ass stuff to get past the second factor, property ownership. She used materials that Trump might not even own that she herself had prohibited the government to share with Trump’s lawyers last week, then usurped the authority of the President of the United States (among other things), to claim that Trump had a property interest in the 11,000 stolen government documents the FBI seized on August 8.

Her argument about the irreparable harm that Trump faces because the government seized 11,000 documents — some highly classified — that he refused to return is still more appalling. I just want to look at one part of it, but I know you’ll all enjoy the bit where she says it would harm Trump’s reputation to be charged with a crime.

The same reasoning contributes to the Court’s determination that the third factor—risk of irreparable injury—likewise supports the exercise of jurisdiction. In addition to being deprived of potentially significant personal documents, which alone creates a real harm, Plaintiff faces an unquantifiable potential harm by way of improper disclosure of sensitive information to the public.11 Further, Plaintiff is at risk of suffering injury from the Government’s retention and potential use of privileged materials in the course of a process that, thus far, has been closed off to Plaintiff and that has raised at least some concerns as to its efficacy, even if inadvertently so. See infra Discussion III. Finally, Plaintiff has claimed injury from the threat of future prosecution and the serious, often indelible stigma associated therewith. As the Richey court wrote, “a wrongful indictment is no laughing matter; it often works a grievous, irreparable injury to the person indicted. The stigma cannot be easily erased. In the public mind, the blot on a man’s escutcheon, resulting from such a public accusation of wrongdoing, is seldom wiped out by a subsequent judgment of not guilty. Frequently, the public remembers the accusation, and still suspects guilt, even after an acquittal.” 515 F.2d at 1244 n.10; see also In the Matter of John Bennett, No. 12-61499-CIV-RSR, ECF No. 22 pp. 26–27 (S.D. Fla. July 23, 2013) (explaining that, although some courts have rejected Richey’s observation as to the harm posed by indictments, Richey remains binding on district courts in the Eleventh Circuit). As a function of Plaintiff’s former position as President of the United States, the stigma associated with the subject seizure is in a league of its own. A future indictment, based to any degree on property that ought to be returned, would result in reputational harm of a decidedly different order of magnitude.

11 When asked about the dissemination to the media of information relative to the contents of the seized records, Government’s counsel stated that he had no knowledge of any leaks stemming from his team but candidly acknowledged the unfortunate existence of leaks to the press. [my emphasis]

Yes, it is outrageous that Aline Cannon places more value on Trump’s reputation than those of hundreds of people he has falsely accused over his lifetime, most notably the Central Park Five, but also including Hillary Clinton and John Bolton, both of whom he falsely accused of the crime for which he is currently under investigation.

Yes, it is outrageous that she deems an irreparable harm the hypothetical deprivation of documents that not even the lawyer who claimed to have done a diligent search of these boxes can identify.

But consider Aileen Cannon’s logic about leaks. Here’s the exchange that, she says, amounts to DOJ’s head of counterintelligence, Jay Bratt, “acknowledg[ing] the unfortunate existence of leaks to the press.”

THE COURT: Let me ask also, there has been some discussion in the filings related to leaks or disseminations of information to the media. Are you aware, Mr. Bratt, of any such dissemination to the media, relative to the contents of the seized records?

MR. BRATT: Not on the part of anybody that I’m working with. Obviously, you know, things — I see the same things in the press that other people do. It’s bad. People are talking. If people on the Government’s side are talking about it, I’m not aware of anybody that we work with that has had contact with the press and certainly don’t condone it in any way.

Bratt not only didn’t say that anyone on the investigative team had leaked to the press, he specifically said no one he was working with did. No one who would have access to the documents — which, remember, were seized from a padlocked closet in a hallway trafficked by hotel staff and potentially visitors and infiltrators, as well as Trump’s desk drawer and, maybe, a hotel safe — none of those people have leaked to the press.

It’s pretty obvious they haven’t, because none of the leaks to the press have been accurate. The vast majority of them, in fact, can be matched to false claims Trump has made in his own filings.

Trump is leaking. The investigative team is not.

Ironically, in her order, Cannon also revealed details about the potentially privileged content seized from Trump. She’s done more leaking than the investigative team has.

And so Judge Aileen Cannon’s remedy for the risk of hypothetical leaks about Trump is to give the seized documents, including documents marked TS/SCI with compartments including, among other things, Human Source Operations, back to Trump and the lawyers who are leaking up a storm, not a single one of whom has a need to know about these Human Source Operations anymore.

Not only does Judge Aileen Cannon’s remedy for a hypothetical threat posed by leaks that haven’t happened yet, but she also has forbidden the government from continuing to criminally investigate Trump and any co-conspirators he might have. She has forbidden the FBI from using the documents to try to chase down any existing leakers of these documents (though she has allowed a damage assessment that will be virtually impossible to do without the FBI side of the investigation).

Judge Cannon is worried about a hypothetical threat to Trump’s reputation posed by the leak of materials seized from his hall closet and desk drawers, and because of that, she has prohibited the FBI from investigating Trump for willingly, knowingly, obstinately leaving stuff about Human Source Operations lying around a hotel targeted by foreign intelligence services.

For a year, Donald Trump left 325 files lying around his club, unsecured. After he gave 184 of them back in January 2022, he went to great efforts to prevent the FBI from reviewing what kind of damage he had done, delaying their access by a month. All the while, he secretly kept at least 141 more of those files in his desk drawer and hall storage room, even after it was public that he had been storing sensitive records in his poorly secured resort. The government subpoenaed him. He stalled again. He gave back 38 of those documents, while still hiding another 103, still lying around his poorly protected club. He bought a padlock, his lawyers have claimed in leaks to the press. Finally, on August 8, the FBI came and seized another 103 documents, still including documents protected as part of highly sensitive compartments that, if disclosed, could get people killed.

Judge Aileen Cannon has ruled that it is more important that Donald Trump’s reputation be protected from hypothetical leaks than that FBI be able to remedy the possibility that leaks facilitated by Donald Trump’s obstinance  and neglect could get people killed.

Donald Trump has already been given 18 months in which his obstinance has prevented the government from preventing leaks of the sort that can get people killed. Now, out of fear of hypothetical reputational leaks, Judge Aileen Cannon has mandated that Trump and any co-conspirators be given still more time to get people killed.

186 replies
      • Drew says:

        It would seem that somebody on the government side did have contact with Leonnig or her co-writer. That said, having read that story, reporters often ask questions in the form of: “I see this code on the affidavit, FRD – formerly restricted data? That’s something about nuclear weapons right?” [bit of a clarifying answer] “So was any of that in the documents at Mar-a-Lago?” [somewhat non-committal shrug that could be interpreted as kind of a nod of affirmation] “Thanks.”

        It’s how reporters get scoops, I know some that do on much less consequential subjects. The entire WaPo story is based on a single affirmation with no more information than that. The government person could well be at a bit more of a remove than we tend to think.

        • bmaz says:

          And how do you know that in this case? Why assume DOJ as opposed to first letting of blood by the Trump team? I honestly have no idea, but am curious as to why there is a presumption that it was by DOJ.

          • Drew says:

            We don’t. I actually carefully avoided saying the DOJ. It could be the ODNI, and it could be someone who isn’t on any investigative team but somehow interfaces with somebody. It’s pretty damaging to Trump, but it could be someone on his team, even him.

            My main point is that the story is a “scoop” of the sort that has a minimal amount of verified information with the rest filled in by research, perhaps by reading the Emptywheel blog.

            • bmaz says:

              Yep and that is kind of it here, isn’t it? Leonnig and Devlin definitely have government sources. But they have Trump ones too. Odds may be Govt. Or Trump. Or interested lawyers. Never discount the last category!

              • Drew says:

                What do you mean by “interested lawyers” here? I take it that you mean more than curious and with some knowledge of national security. How would anyone have an actual stake and knowledge of the investigation if they weren’t government or Trump related?

          • Marika says:

            Carol Leonig has very good Secret Service connections. Is it possible one of the agents protecting Mar a Lago saw or heard something? Maybe it was whomever tipped off the FBI that there were still classified docs leading to the search warrant. It doesn’t have to be the DOJ

            • Drew says:

              It’s more likely that Secret Service members were part of the sourcing for probable cause for the warrant than as source for this story.

              The story said that items were seized that had these characteristics. That’s different from seeing them in Trump’s hands before the warrant. Secret Service wouldn’t have any authorization to be in or close to the investigation (in fact the biggest reason to think they *might* have talked to DOJ is that they were aware that they were seeing things they weren’t authorized to see in places where those things weren’t allowed to be).

          • Rayne says:

            That’s occurred to me.

            For example: the Biden administration is up to its ears in alligators trying to renegotiate all the ground lost after Trump pulled the plug on the JCPOA with Iran, and unfortunately after Trump’s assassination of General Qasem Soleimani in January 2020 and an election of a new Irani hardline president. What could Iran gain by rattling things a bit since it has nearly (or secretively) had nuclear capability?

            What of its opponents Israel and KSA, neither of which have been particularly supportive with this new renegotiation? Or Russia, for that matter, since Iranian oil deeply affects its ability to hurt NATO member states economically?

      • WilliamOckham says:

        I said probably and I meant probably. As in > 50% chance it was the feds. That’s a change for me. When the “nuclear documents” thing first came up, I assumed it was the Trump side leaking it in an attempt to discredit the press (assuming they knew it wasn’t true).

        Now, I think it’s slightly more likely that someone in the IC is leaking to emphasize the seriousness of the issue. There’s no evidence that any court should take notice of this leak.

      • emptywheel says:

        At least some of it, yes. But 8 ¶¶ of the story are dedicated to repeating Trump’s preferred line about it (Dawsey is on the story). And Devlin has a history of stirring things up for the purpose of stirring things up.

        • Ginevra diBenci says:

          I was surprised to see Leonnig’s name, and because of that am guessing there might be secret service sourcing backing this up. But because Barrett is main writer, I would not rule out possibility of Trump’s team leaking this to make Bratt and DOJ look like liars.

      • paul lukasiak says:

        Federal employess, sure.

        But my guess is that it came not from the DoJ, but from the Intel Community, which, after all, is charged with doing the damage assessement.

    • Bardi says:

      IANAL, as many may already know, if not by simple deduction, but, is there any way the “judge” can be impeached?

        • timbo says:

          So…impeachment is off the table ya think? Hmm. Perhaps we should not be so hasty to assume a “never” here. This ruling is wonky. For all we know, more info that may come out could cause the GQP to collapse overnight. Certainly Cannon’s ruling seems aimed at protecting Team Twitler from facing any severe consequences immediately. It all begs the question as to why Cannon bothered to burn so much good will, good will she might have retained by not performing legal dog tricks for Team Trump?

          • WilliamOckham says:

            If Pelosi was going to start impeachment proceedings against a federal judge, why would she waste time on district court judge when there’s a clear case against Brett Kavanaugh? That’s not happening either. It would be stupid, pointless, and ineffectual. Whatever you want to say about Pelosi, nobody can say she’s stupid.

          • skua says:

            Cannon might be thinking, “DJT becomes 47, loyal Cannon goes to SCOTUS”.

            “What’s the harm?” If it goes bad then she gets a gig replacing Judge Nap on Fox News.

          • Yorkville Kangaroo says:

            Would people stop saying ‘impeach Cannon’!

            She’s not going anywhere.

            AT WORST she can be pulled up for discipline but that ain’t gonna happen over this ruling.

            The remedy is the appellate court. End of story.

      • paul lukasiak says:

        perhaps the judge won’t be impeached….but why not impeach Trump a third time — -this time for stealing and mishandling national security informantion.

        • Rayne says:

          Retired federal judge Michael Luttig wrote an op-ed about the Senate convicting Trump after he has left office.

          The Constitution itself answers this question clearly: No, he cannot be. Once Trump’s term ends on Jan. 20, Congress loses its constitutional authority to continue impeachment proceedings against him — even if the House has already approved articles of impeachment.

          Therefore, if the House of Representatives were to impeach the president before he leaves office, the Senate could not thereafter convict the former president and disqualify him under the Constitution from future public office.

          The reason for this is found in the Constitution itself. Trump would no longer be incumbent in the Office of the President at the time of the delayed Senate proceeding and would no longer be subject to “impeachment conviction” by the Senate, under the Constitution’s Impeachment Clauses. Which is to say that the Senate’s only power under the Constitution is to convict — or not — an incumbent president.

          • timbo says:

            I disagree. The impeachment process is also to bar an individual who has held office from ever holding office again, correct? Therefore, an impeachment trial could almost certainly be continued if an a person charged in articles by the House was an officer of the US at the time the House voted on it. Otherwise, the prohibition from holding office again makes no sense since an individual who knew they were likely to be impeached could resign and then might hold office again without being prohibited by the Congress from doing so.

            • earlofhuntingdon says:

              The line for ponies starts around the block. This is not on Pelosi’s radar, not remotely possible to get the required votes in the Senate, a plethora of competing priorities for legislative time.

              • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

                Agree impeachment won’t work. Again.

                Silver lining: 43 GOP senators voted against impeaching Trump, who it is increasinly obvious pilfered national security secrets. That’s not nothing.

    • Brb says:

      Why does EmptyWheel delete comments on this forum which are respectful, on topic and in fact supportive of these legal precedings against trump? I can’t help but feel this is why liberals always lose in the end. You destroy your chances by rejecting all who don’t fit your narrow bandwidth. I’ve been against trump long before he was president, yet you delete my comments because I’m not a part of your particular ‘tribe’, whatever that is. I’m American. That’s what is relevant here. You have no right to dominate this conversation. It is imperative the threat of trump is destroyed, and your tactics aren’t getting it done. You need input; you need as broad an understanding as possible, yet you reject input from anyone who has a slightly different perspective than you. That is why you fail. You can’t be allowed to fail here- America is at stake. Stop being petty and self-destructive.

      [I stepped away for a bit and now I find you, also known as “Darncat” and now “the Quandary” having a temper tantrum because you have multiple comments in moderation.

      Your comments go there because you sockpuppet here and often. I’ve had enough. This is your one chance to stop fucking around. If you show up here again as anything except “Darncat” and I catch you at it, you will be blacklisted.

      Now knock it the fuck off and quit harassing the other team members and community members. /~Rayne]

      • bmaz says:

        Hi there. I would be tempted to say I did it, but can find no evidence of a prior comment by you. Did you sock puppet one under a different name? We have been here quite a while now and very much don’t need, nor going to deal with, your drive by tone policing.

        • Peterr says:

          And for the record, repeated sock-puppetting *will* get you booted, regardless of how respectful, on topic and in fact supportive of these legal proceedings against Trump you are.

          You don’t have to use your own name, but you do have to stick with just one.

      • Yorkville Kangaroo says:

        “You have no right to dominate this conversation.”

        Not that she does but, in fact, Marcy, just like Facebook and Twitter, own this platform and are at liberty to do whatever the hell they want with it.

        I haven’t been here very long but it seems to me respectful dialogue is welcomed and encouraged but malicious slander and telling others what the rules should be or that “your tactics aren’t getting it done,” usually isn’t.

    • SMF88011 says:

      It is simple – anyone that saw a classified cover sheet that says Secret Restricted Data, Secret Formerly Restricted Data, or Formerly Restricted Data could have said that they saw it and there is the “scoop”. Those would be under the purview of the Department of Energy or DOD although the cover sheets for the DOD would be Top Secret//CNWDI.

  1. Peterr says:

    DOJ needs to file a simple “possession of stolen materials” charge. The government documents belong to . . . wait for it . . . the government. File the charge and move for summary judgment. “We served a lawfully granted search warrant, and seized hundreds of government documents, none of which belong to the former president but rather belong to the US government. The documents seized are the stolen property, and the actions of the former president to illegally retain them, to disguise what he had taken, to drag out discussions with the National Archives and Records Administration, and to falsely represent to the DOJ that he had returned all of the documents in June 2022 all demonstrate his illegal possession of the documents and desire to retain them.”

    And file it in DC (per the Presidential Records Act), in Beryl Howell’s courtroom as the fruit of the grand jury investigation she is already supervising.

    • Willis Warren says:

      Makes sense, but they’d whine about proximity to the election. MG may not care. I hope he doesn’t

    • Mister Sterling says:

      It seems this is one of the best options. And to hell with the timing. I was naïve to think that the Special Master would only delay the criminal investigation by a month. The intent here is to delay it as long as Donald Trump is alive.

      It is time for an indictment.

      • Slobobba says:

        Going forward in that direction, what if… government eventually develops indisputable evidence TFG has committed serious felonies against the U.S. but he predeceases an indictment, much less a conviction, can a criminal case proceed posthumously? Basically, to have a clear record in the history, not taking into account co-conspirators, just TFG?

    • timbo says:

      Yep. DOJ should put Cannon on the hook for failing to do any due diligence with regard to the laws having to do with government property and government property rights. Beyond that, there’s this wonky notion that government counterintelligence investigators will somehow be more effective without any ability to hold responsible those who have willfully and knowingly violated valid subpoenas, valid judicial orders, and fought the consequences of what appears on its face to be a reasonable seizure under the Espionage Act and other applicable laws, etc. I hope the current Federal judicial system can survive the level of disjointed, wonky, disingenuous judicial diligence that Cannon’s ruling here represents.

    • cmarlowe says:

      Where did the section 793 espionage occur? That includes the “gathering of…national defense information.” Did that not also occur in DC? Can’t that charge be filed in DC?

      • Yorkville Kangaroo says:

        At first blush one would have to assume that removal ALL occurred in DC but ownership was in FL.

  2. bbleh says:

    Every day a NEW looney-tunes outrage! Truly Judge Cannon’s opinion is a gift that never stops giving!

    One assumes that DOJ are waiting to see the results of the discussions and eventual order concerning the SM’s identity and remit before filing any appeal (trusting Learned Opinion that it can be), but one trusts it will be loaded and ready to fire.

  3. Joseph Nobles says:

    It occurs to me that Donald Trump can suffer no real reputational harm at this point in his life. There are those of us who consider him guilty of this and a whole lot more (I know I can’t hardly think worse of the man). There are people that might give him the benefit of a doubt, but likely wouldn’t put it past him (i.e., any potential jury pool).There are his diehard supporters who will believe his innocence in the face of all evidence to the contrary. Everyone else is either supporting him while secretly considering him guilty as sin or so removed from the public discourse on this that news of an indictment would probably escape their notice as well.

    What other sizable group exists in this country or the planet? In what company could an indictment of the FPOTUS damage his reputation so greviously?

    I guess the DOJ couldn’t argue that in court, but by gum, we can.

    [Welcome back to emptywheel. Please use the same username each time you comment so that community members get to know you. You have used “boloboffin” for your previous 17 comments published here. Please let us know if you’re permanently changing or wish to revert. In either case, stick to the same name when commenting. Thanks. /~Rayne]

    • the Quandary says:

      This should be argued in court. The problem is, everything she put forth needs to be argued against- and maybe that is the point.

    • boloboffin says:

      Oh, I guess the cookies which autoload the field expired or something! Let’s revert back to boloboffin, Rayne, and sorry for the misunderstanding.

      [Thanks for checking your last message and reverting to a name we recognize. /~Rayne]

    • Riktol says:

      I was thinking essentially the same thing. His reputation is essentially unchangeable among a huge swathe of the public, both in the US and abroad.
      The hypothetical of “a public accusation of wrongdoing, is seldom wiped out by a subsequent judgment of not guilty” also seems like a really weak straw to use. There hasn’t been a public accusation, and there may never be (I’m hoping otherwise), and if he’s found guilty that hypothetical concern is irrelevant.
      Finally all the publicity about it was started by Trump, when he posted about the search in the most inflammatory way possible, as publicly as possible. If he was worried about reputational harm he’d have kept quiet.

      • Ginevra diBenci says:

        Cannon is arguing a tautology: the hypothetical harm to an indicted person’s reputation becomes the “league of its own” harm to this specific person. In other words, a legal premise for all–personalized. Monogrammed, if you will.

  4. earlofhuntingdon says:

    I’m at a loss to see how Cannon thinks she, excuse me, her client, um, the plaintiff, has met its burden in complying with any of Richey’s four parts.

    It would delight but surprise to the defense bar, for example, for her to find that the government, “displayed a callous disregard for the movant’s constitutional rights,” by obtaining a valid search warrant, based on probable cause, and approved by a federal magistrate judge, and where the search disclosed the precise evidence the government was seeking, in the precise locations it searched.

    It’s as if Cannon is saying Mr. Trump could not have committed a crime, so there could not be probable cause.

    • Artemis says:

      I think that is precisely her thought (he could not have committed a crime) and a lot of ppl are overlooking the forest for the trees. She thinks the DOJ is overreaching in a partisan manner by trying to criminalize the PRA (which I believe doesn’t have teeth) by applying other statutes. Not that I agree with her, but I think that is the essential crux of the Trump team outrage. It only really works if you ignore the existence of the other statutes (which is rich) and instead only focus on the PRA & that he is a former president so he should get special consideration. But if you think about it from the victim- and entitled- mentality coming from team Trump, the argument sorta makes sense.

      • Cheez Whiz says:

        Late to the party, but I want to document this. The 1st thing our host cites in the opinion is the judge laying out 3 requirements from Richey that must be satisfied to grant Trump relief. My IANAL brain immediately saw that as “here are the hoops I must jump through, now how do I construct 3 arguments to satisfy them?”. That is not victim mentality, that is gaming the system. The assumption of deference to authority allows her to construct flimsy and specious arguments with very limited repercussions, if any, to her. Mission accomplished.

        • Artemis says:

          I think the victim mentality and the entitled mentality are two sides of the same pathological coin. I meant victim mentality as in they think these issues are a mere technicality and the DOJ is only going after Trump bc he is ex-president. I meant entitled mentality as in they think the normal rules shouldn’t apply to an ex president and thus are trying to game the system bc the ends justify the means. I agree with you.

    • bmaz says:

      Earl, the defense bar has been interested in this from the second Garland thought it would be okay to unseal a redacted affidavit. And here we are even further down the rabbit hole. The discussions of how to use this for defendants in the future is rampant. Will it work? My guess is not often, but even if you think it will get squished like a bug, do you not paper the record anytime even remotely possible?

      Not just in SDFL, but anywhere. State courts too. It is now no longer a frivolous filing because of this bullshit. In any even possible case, you now have to try. That is the idiocy that Garland and Cannon have fostered. This is exactly what happens in search and seizure law.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Chock up another success for the fascists, who need to disable belief in government and law enforcement, and its ability actually to function, whenever they cannot use it to protect themselves and advance their own agenda.

      • Ginevra diBenci says:

        bmaz, this sounds like the most forceful argument I’ve seen for why DOJ must appeal–so Cannon’s ruling does not become precedent.

        • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

          Agree completely. This was a shocker:

          It is now no longer a frivolous filing because of this bullshit. In any even possible case, you now have to try. That is the idiocy that Garland and Cannon have fostered.

          One wonders whether Cannon remains clueless about this point, or at what point she’ll recognize the mess she’s making.

  5. PieIsDamnGood says:

    “Plaintiff is at risk of suffering injury from the Government’s retention and potential use of privileged materials in the course of a process that, thus far, has been closed off to Plaintiff”

    The process has been closed off to Trump? What is she referring to? The filter team didn’t include Kash?

    • timbo says:

      Indeed. Perhaps it would be good if Cannon could actually acknowledge the true seriousness of what laws have almost certainly been broken here. Again, she’s in “Don’t show me, I don’t want to know!” mode here. DoJ and other national security institutions in this country need to make it abundantly clear that what has happened here is a serious, serious violation of national security, and that acting like it isn’t, like pretending that this was all okay, isn’t going to fly.

      • Sonso says:

        To echo what you’re saying, almost nobody is discussing the VERY long term repercussions for “national security”, and the billions of dollars that have been, and will be, wasted to recover from this incident. I know that bmaz has eschewed the “T” word, but traitorous applies, I think. The nation is devolving into a Lord of Flies group of petulant adolescents, and the adults are being dragged down with it. I sympathize with Rayne’s position on getting to work (although in Wyoming, that’s really rolling a stone uphill), and continue to do my part. I will agree with a lot of posters, though: if the country doesn’t go Blue in November, we’re probably doomed.

  6. der says:

    It is possible that Judge Cannon and/or her clerks believe, as all Trump MAGA followers do, that the election was stolen and Trump is still President and that his Executive Privilege claims are rightful ones. That he was storing national security documents properly at his residence in exile, Mar-a-Lago, and he has standing. Also believing that the “Biden Justice Department”, the FBI and a Leftist Deep State are persecuting him and should pause in their pursuit of what appears to be an injustice. That her orders are on solid legal grounds and in line with the belief that Biden is not the President elected by a majority of voters.

    • Rayne says:

      The election isn’t in question and the documents sought by DOJ and NARA aren’t election related.

      Unless you think some of those classified documents he has no right to possess contain proof his election was skewed by foreign influence…in which case you’d think he’d make that claim that foreign influence cost him 2020. Amazingly, he hasn’t said that.

        • bmaz says:

          Hi there. Your prior attempted comment is in moderation because you have been nothing but an annoying and cloying irritant since wandering into this site. All your comments will now sit in moderation until somebody wanders by and decides one or another is actually worth approving. So far your batting average would not be good. Any more questions or demands?

          I apologize, you have not one, but three, blurts waiting in moderation. Sorry, you only asked about one. This is not your playground on demand pal.

    • timbo says:

      Some of her statements contradicted that notion, while at the same point others seem to beg that precise question. In other words, the internal consistency in Cannon’s statements and ruling in court are lacking with regard to what she believes…other than that she needs to help Team Twitler do their lawyering job for them rather than require that those clowns actually present a case that meets minimal standards.

  7. TXphysicist says:

    It’s literally institutionalizing the Trumpist victimization complex into the justice system at every scale.

    Like when Alito, shortly after the Dobbs ruling, delivers the keynote speech at a religious summit warning about the dangers of persecuting religion.

    Pathetic, projecting, cowards.

  8. earlofhuntingdon says:

    I’d like to see the government’s appeal, concerning why Judge Cannon, when sitting in a civil trial, does not have the authority to enjoin the government from pursuing a criminal investigation. As a former appellate lawyer in the criminal division of the USA’s office in the SDFL, until the end of 2020, Ms. Cannon should be aware of the arguments and precedents.

    • punaise says:

      I’m confused about references to “trial” and “defense”… when charges have yet to be filed?

      Speaking of indictment timing (stipulating that one is thoroughly deserved, despite the nefarious forces rowing in the other direction with their thumbs heavily on the scale of mixed metaphors): I’m in the camp of those who agree that it should happen after the election. I know it ‘s not supposed to be a political decision in any form, and everyone* has the right to vote, but this layperson doesn’t want to risk stirring up the MAGA rubes and flipping turnout in their favor. They’re going to flip out regardless.

      • Drew says:

        I don’t think there’s any real question that the indictment won’t be handed down, or at least unsealed to the public until after November 8. There are 13,000 documents to sift through for evidence, and I would think that Garland would want this to be extremely methodical & thorough-taking no chances in terms of an “airtight” case–since even in such a case there’s a risk of losing.

        I have seen it suggested that DOJ do a really quick indictment in the District of Washington, to tactically outmaneuver Judge Cannon. That would be the only way it would get charged before then, though I have no idea whether it would really accomplish its purpose.

  9. Sue 'em Queequeg says:

    I guess we now know what it takes to irreparably blot the escutcheon of the Self-Escutcheon-Blotter in Chief.

  10. SteveB says:

    It was noticeable that team Trump went on to the front foot flooding the zone with ‘information’ about what the search might or might not uncover, in an effort to try out potential ‘defences’ which might resonate with their supporters, one of which was the ‘planting documents’.
    That was always a big tell they were afraid that what was being legitimately seized would be a huge problem for them. And their realisation that the false accusations of planting wouldn’t fly in the face of professionally conducted search, meaning they quietly dropped the explanation’ shows how panicked they were. The ‘reputational harm’ suffered is entirely due to their chosen methods of using the media to defend themselves.
    And they cared little for threats to FBI agents whose names they wilfully left unredacted in the material they publicly released.

    They care not one jot for the risks of harms they cause others in the reckless pursuit of self interest, victimising others while simultaneously claiming false victimhood to rile up their base.

  11. bidrec says:

    I had a clearance in the Navy so I was learning about handling secrets at the same time as I was learning seamanship. The language used is analogous to that used to describe a boat. Spaces are compartmentalized to prevent a leak from one compartment spreading into another (“dog the hatches” means close the watertight doors). So, Trump is violating the law by combining compartmentalized information. It is supposed to be kept separate. Further the the captain of a ship that runs aground loses his command, and his reputation, and he cannot claim as a defense that there was no intent to run it aground.

    TFG, The Former Guy, is referred to in Navy parlance as “a dead hand on the tiller”. He may have been important but he is no longer in the chain of command.

    I know of a veteran who was fired from his civilian job for answering the phone with his military title “commander”. Give it up.

    • P J Evans says:

      One of my senior cousins was a naval officer (Corps of Engineers), and when he got out, he stopped using his rank for anything that wasn’t related to it.

      • Rugger9 says:

        It’s not the ‘Corps of Engineers’ in the USN, that’s an Army designation. We’re just ‘engineers’ or ‘snipes’.

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            You mean construction battalions? :-)

            Wiki’s error is like failing to distinguish between soldier and Marine.

          • Rugger9 says:

            The Seabees do have an important job and it’s done under unpleasant conditions in many cases. There was a story making the rounds back in the day that sort of relates to them.

            When the Navy built a new NAS they’d put in the runways and support buildings, then ask Congress for money for the nicer stuff. The Air Force OTOH would build the nice stuff (like golf courses, etc.) and then ask Congress for the money to build the runways. Guess who got paid.

            OT: FWIW, Marine is also an acronym (so is Navy).

          • Rugger9 says:

            The Marines and sailors did not always mix well, but it’s more like brothers. There were times where we engineers had to remind them about their manners similar to how Mr. Snipes did it.

            Long ago and far away the Marines had gone way over the line with one of the engineers (who were trying to do their job) and so we decided all of the maintenance was due for the Marine berthing. We meggered the electrical system (the sound of exploding capacitors was…interesting) and shut off the water, A/C, etc. and let the Marines stew for a week. After that, no more problems.

            Within the engineering community there are nicknames for all of the ratings (i.e. electricians, mechanics, electronic techs, etc.) but I won’t bore the board with them.

    • Rugger9 says:

      Answering the phone as “Commander” is too, too much and makes me wonder about why there is so much overcompensation. Now, it is appropriate for retirees to sign off as ‘CDR, USN Ret.’ on written communications for example in a manner similar to someone referring to a graduate degree. After all, they’ve earned it.

      Otherwise, as PJ notes correctly, there is really no reason to invoke rank unless it’s within a chain of command.

      • bidrec says:

        I agree with you but note that Trump’s North Star in the person of Roy Cohn was friends with the Duke and Duchess of Windsor and that would have impressed a boy from Queens.

    • John Paul Jones says:

      That’s how Robert A. Heinlein got blacklisted for war work: signed a letter to the editor as regular Navy when he was, in fact, retired. Didn’t help that the opinions expressed in the letter were deemed socialistic.

    • SMF88011 says:

      I am like you – someone that has been trained on how to handle classified materials. I have held a TS clearance for over 3 decades and a DOE Q Clearance for almost as long. EVERYTHING we were taught not to do was on full display with what was found at MAL. Just a close look at the cover sheets tells us all we need to know about the materials there – they should have never been taken out of a SCIF or VTR. MAL has neither.

      • bidrec says:

        I had a clearance for communications, to fix Teletype. Near our building there was a computer that had a Teletype terminal as a console. They had a contract with a civilian contractor who had to drive six hours to get there if the Teletype did not work. I had a top secret clearance but I did not have a clearance for where the computer was. It was impossible to boot up the computer if the Teletype was down. I eventually got clearance to go in there. This was a big deal and one of the operator supervisors was so angry about it that he would go into the break room and sulk when I was there. Everyone was cleared in the building and knew how to behave around classified material so the only piece of equipment that was under lock and key was a Sears Kenmore vacuum cleaner. For vacuuming chad.

      • P J Evans says:

        That photo was giving me the willies. Those are should-be-locked-up-securely docs, and anyone who has them stashed in ordinary file boxes with personal stuff has demonstrated they’re not qualified to have any classified docs in their sight.

  12. OldTulsaDude says:

    Shitshow describes this ruling and this judge but not this country. But it may yet, if actions like this cannot be overcome.

    • P J Evans says:

      Just to make this clear: it was information on the nuclear capabilities of other countries. Not what you’re making it sound like.

      • Unabogie says:

        I did not say they were US nuclear secrets, I said he had nuclear documents in his pool closet. I think, if anything, I was being kind.

      • SMF88011 says:

        It is still classified under the law once it gets into government hands unless it has been declassified. Then it would fall under National Defense Information and wouldn’t be released.

        SOURCE: I was an Authorized Derivative Classifier for a US Department of Energy National Laboratory

    • Fran of the North says:

      The plot thickens as they say, and I realize that I may be on very thin ice. Feel free to rain holy fire on me if I have transgressed.

      There are a very few allies who have acknowledged nuclear capabilities and who might be the subject of this report: United Kingdom, France, Pakistan and India. There is a certain deniability as to whether or not Israel has nuclear weapons, but it is understood by most informed observers that they do.

      Trump has done his level best to righteously upset the U.S. intelligence services over the past 6+ years. Thankfully for him, most of our attack dogs are closely chained. If he is going to be brought to justice by the U.S. government, it will be through a court of law.

      I’m not sure that the intelligence services of the main allies above, MI6, DGSE, and Mossad have the same interest in observing the rule of law. Mossad in particular has absolutely no qualms about getting their hands very dirty to send a message. That and the fact that Trump already shared Israeli sourced intelligence with the Russians Lavrov and Kislyak at a meeting at the White House in May of 2017 might have Mossad looking to solve a problem and send a message.

      If I were Trump, I’d voluntarily surrender my passport.

      • SMF88011 says:

        I have to be very careful on how I respond to this question without violating the law.

        Documents that are about a foreign country’s nuclear programs are often classified once they enter US Government hands – if they are atomic/nuclear design/power/weapons information, they WOULD be classified as soon as they enter US hands. If they have been declassified, they would still be protected as National Defense Information; often the designs/power/weapons material match or are based on US designs.

        These documents could have a bigger target than your United Kingdom, France, Pakistan and India comment suggests. Any country that has atomic/nuclear designs/power/weapons programs could be part of these documents and therefore been subject to a classified report. An example would have been our knowledge about Israel’s nuclear program. We KNOW they have nuclear weapons thanks to Vanunu BUT they maintain a policy of nuclear ambiguity and won’t admit if they have them or not. If we have a report that says Israel has x number of nuclear weapons or that they have nuclear-armed Jericho missiles, it would be classified because we haven’t acknowledged Israel has a nuclear weapons program according to Vanunu.

      • Just Some Guy says:

        That is a ridiculously melodramatic comment. No foreign power’s spy agency is going to “do” anything to Trump, especially not Mossad.

  13. Pedro P says:

    Why all the anonymous leaking if the case is air tight.
    I’ll look forward to hearing all the new conspiracy stories.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      The leaking is from Trump, not the FBI or DoJ. The most likely reasons are to keep Trump in the headlines – he needs it like oxygen or another Big Mac – and to spin the news before the facts set in.

      • Peterr says:

        See also “Barr, William, and the Muller Report”, wherein Team Trump tries to get their version of Truthiness accepted before the facts can catch up.

      • Rugger9 says:

        I agree, and it goes way back for the GOP, such as when Karl Rove staged a break-in long ago while running for office so he could blame his opponent. Lots of examples are there to be found.

        • Yorkville Kangaroo says:

          And straight out of the Rat Fucker playbook, chapter and verse. Why do you theink he’s resurfaced once The Donald became a ‘thing’?

  14. Scott Rose says:

    Another factor worsening the appearance of Cannon’s judicial misconduct is that we know, during the Trump years, a historically unprecedented number of our human intelligence assets have been killed in action.
    Surely the judge should be considered responsible for knowing that, when deciding whether protecting Trump’s reputation should be given more weight than the safety of our intelligence assets.
    I dare even say that an alert judge should be thinking that Trump’s disparagement of intelligence agencies, early in 2017, delivered in front of the CIA’s Memorial Wall, is a “clue” to some of his unforgivable later statements and actions.

  15. Paulka says:

    Can someone explain to me how a “wrongful” indictment could be blot on Trump’s escutcheon? I mean, let’s be real, no one’s opinion of Trump is going to change after he is indicted.

  16. Frank Probst says:

    The two sides have to agree on a list of possible Special Masters by Friday? That’s pretty optimistic, I think.

    • Peterr says:

      Not gonna happen.

      If there is no agreement, both sides are supposed to put their suggestions and arguments to the judge, and she will decide. That is by far the preferable option for Team Trump.

      Deny and delay are the words of the day.

      • Nick Caraway says:

        And now with the nuclear wrinkle, the list of lawyers who are qualified to be special masters, AND hold the requisite security clearance, is going to be rather short, no? And how many people would be qualified to serve on said master’s staff in order to get the thousands of docs reviewed?

        • timbo says:

          Nope. These are not US nuclear secrets but the secrets of other nations. US nuclear secrets, particular weapon relate secrets, are covered under completely different laws than intelligence gathered about other countries nuclear programs.

          • Rugger9 says:

            Not so sure what the secrets are, since no one has seen the docs from this board or anywhere else in the media. It’s clickbait, and Individual-1 has the most to gain from the confusion. Cui bono analysis applies here. Who profits?

            • pseudo42 says:

              I too am concerned that the story was planted by dirty tricksters. But the WaPo article today was written by two reporters who were covering federal law enforcement and national security dating back to before W’s 2004 campaign (keywords W, AWOL, Killian documents, and CBS). So I would hope the reporters understand that risk and that they consider that exact cui bono question.

          • pseudo42 says:

            The laws are different if and only if US-held secrets about foreign nuclear capabilities have been downgraded to another category of “safeguarded…defense information” in accord with 42 U.S. Code § 2162, which requires NRC and DNI to agree to such a downgrade; or, in case of a difference of opinion between NRC and DNI, POTUS decides. Otherwise, just like US atomic secrets, foreign atomic secrets remain restricted data and are subject to the Atomic Energy Act as amended.

            Incidentally, downgraded foreign atomic secrets remain safeguarded unless they become declassified. The way I read Obama’s Executive Order 13526 section 3.3 (g), only the Secretary of Energy can fully declassify such downgraded secrets.

            • SMF88011 says:

              Even if they are declassified they are protected as National Defense Information. This is because this information is often a US design or closely matches our designs. Very little details are allowed into the public domain.

            • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

              Arguing over declassification seems to muddy things.

              The basic point is that Trump did **not** ‘own’ the documents, and had no right whatsoever to have them in his possession — the fact the FBI had to enter MAL, which (according to one of Guiliani’s ex’s) has an underground tunnel system, underscores the danger of what Trump has done.

              But how on earth a federal judge can claim that Trump ‘owned’ documents — to which he had absolutely no right — is mind-bogglingly dangerous.

              Please don’t conflate classification with theft.

          • SMF88011 says:

            Close but no cigar. It depends on the type of nuclear secret. If it is a atomic/nuclear design/power/weapon design that match or are based upon US plans it would be classified under this area. It would be classified under something like TS//SCI with a warning notice of CNWDI on it too.

            • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

              What you say may be true; NatSec is not my field.

              The point remains, the documents could have consisted of an Arby’s takeout napkin, a hamberder wrapper, and a post-it. If those were the property of the US government, Trump had no right to take them, no right to have them in his possession.

              The fact that a member of the federal judiciary appears to be creating legal pretzels to stall matters is beyond the pale.

      • skua says:

        If Cannon taps a SM who is unacceptable to DOJ and the departments / agencies in charge of NDI etc then DOJ would seem to be forced to appeal.

        Assuming Cannon knows this then her making an unacceptable choice would show that she values creating further delays over having the SM working and allowing this investigation to proceed.

        Any obvious errors in this?

        • timbo says:

          I would think they would appeal before such an appointment as there are serious questions of this judge being biased against aggressively protecting national secrets if doing so might sully the reputation of Twitler.

          • skua says:

            I’m looking at what’s come up the drain as a consequence of the MAL raid and thinking DOJ would try to avoid risking further exposure to Trumpist judges if they can. More so with a fascist SCOTUS sitting on top of the pile.

            LOL – all going well we’ll get to see what eventuates in public.

            • skua says:

              The majority anti-abortion ruling is fascistic in its treatment of women. But I think I’ve pushed too far with “fascist SCOTUS”.

                • skua says:

                  If Il Duce was standing before me I’d know he was a fascist as he’s what I expect a fascist to look like. Which is pretty silly of me. And I know they won’t look like Il Duce.
                  Taking control of women’s bodies to direct them towards birthing a child evokes multiple elements of fascism; the need to safeguard the continuance of the (threatened) folk, the strength and productivity of the human body yoked to service the folk, an exercise of control and invasive power by the leaders.
                  Think I’ll mark the SCOTUS majority as “well on the road toward fascism”.

                  • Rayne says:

                    Germans didn’t recognize fascism for what it was after the Reichstag burned and before Kristalnacht. Il Duce actually called his ideology fascism and subsequent political parties reflected this (Fasci Italiani di Combattimento to Partito Nazionale Fascista) — I mean, if they have to be that blunt about it, the plot’s been missed.

                    We’re up to our neck in fascism. We’ve simply been conditioned by the right-wing for so long not to use the F-word that we struggle to do so because it doesn’t look yet like the Holocaust is upon us.

      • jeco says:

        Nobody can seriously expect Cannon will select a fair & capable SM after seeing her lawless ruling. She is out to delay and ultimately completely sabotage the MAL investigation. Her corrupt SM will take forever and a day and will make decisions that will totally hamstring any prosecution in the district. The only way to preserve trump’s reputation (such as it is) is for Cannon to prevent an indictment and conviction for espionage and obstruction and she’s going all in on this effort.

        I suspect it goes against his judicial grain but Garland has to recognize that Cannon is totally politicized and is sabotaging a fair investigation and he can’t pussy foot around wasting, 6, 12, 18 months as she makes unsupported, non legal decisions to save trump’s already foul reputation. He’s got to blast the case out of her control and charge trump and his confederates in DC. All hell is going to break loose when trump is charged, there’s no nice way to do it, no good time to do it, no way to do it that saves his reputation or doesn’t fire up his base.

        The alternative is to admit it’s too politically fraught to charge a wannabe autocrat which will put him and his violent supporters on political steroids. They’re stupid but will see that if threats of violence can prevent legal consequences for the most heinous crimes then they’re legally bulletproof and the 2024 election can be dictated by their violence.

        Garland promised justice without fear or favor, he can’t deliver on that promise while letting a local judge hijack the process.

        • skua says:

          A future in which Trump’s base come to believe, whether accurately or misguidedly, that they can stop DOJ indicting their leaders by threatening and performing violent acts would push a democratic republic towards breaking point.

  17. Thomas Paine says:

    Based on the reporting I heard tonite on MSNBC, the sensitivity of much of these documents is such that NO human with a JD eligible to be a Special Master exists or can be cleared to see this stuff in a timely manner EXCEPT Barack Obama, who would be unacceptable to the Trump team. What does the Judge do then ?? Doesn’t the Biden Administration hold the “ Trump” on this ? If no Special Master can be found, can the DoJ just indict on unlawful possession of the documents turned over PRIOR to the search and on evidence of Obstruction, like the Exhibit 2A photo which is now in the public domain ? Judge Howell would likely find a way for Justice to be done in the DC Circuit.

    • timbo says:

      What a bunch of loony nonsense—Obama is not going to be a special master for anything having to do with this case.

      What the judge should be doing is balancing the rights of the government to enforce the Espionage Act and related national security laws within a Constitutional framework. That includes equal application of the laws. So far, the judge hasn’t even acknowledge that the government has a right to its own records and property. So far, this judge doesn’t seem so interested in equal application of these laws, deferring to ex-President’s rather than hold to the premise that ex-Presidents shouldn’t be allowed to act like dangerous idiots just because they once were elected to the highest office in the land.

      • Burnt says:

        Delurking to ask does Obama have a security clearance currently? Hell, has he ever had one? As a US senator serving on foreign relations and homeland security he would have presumably seen classified docs. And obviously he saw all the secrets as President, but his access was predicated on the offices he held not on jumping through the hoops to get a clearance. And I believe he gets the courtesy briefings afforded former presidents (except for the former guy) but isn’t that sort of magic access granted by Biden and not part of the formal process ordinary gov’t employees go through?

        • Thomas Paine says:

          It is up to Biden. I suspect he does, but Trump explicitedly does not. Trump could never pass an SSBI, for obvious reasons. Trump is likely a spy for Putin at this point.

          I brought up Obama because there may not be anyone else clearable who is NOT already in the Administration. This Special Master scope and qualification set may be literally impossible to meet in any person acceptable to both Trump and the DoJ.

          • bmaz says:

            No, it is not “up to Biden”. Burnt is correct. And Biden insta-granting Obama clearance would be one of the dumbest moves in history for a sitting President.

          • bmaz says:

            Nope. Somebody on Twitter, a generally very smart person, suggested Anthony Kennedy. He doesn’t have that clearance either.

            • SMF88011 says:

              He would easily be cleared however the IC has numerous counsels that have already been cleared for materials of this level as part of their job duties. See post below about that.

      • TXphysicist says:

        Bro, T-Paine wasn’t making a case for the appointment of Obama, they probably meant to point out how small the pool of potential special masters could be.

        And that’s possibly one of intended endgames, right? Cannon: “Oh, wow, what’dya know, we couldn’t find a suitable special master to review these docs, what a bummer. So much for the investigation!”. It’ll be more eloquent than that, legal jargon and all, but yeah. And I know how stupidly juvenile this speculation is, but I’m trying out #LooseCannon stratagems, here. Sorry again, I know bmaz hates rank speculation. :/

        Yeah, we got more nuclear secrets deets tonight, but we’ve known for a while just how high of a security clearance these docs involve. It’s probably part of the bad faith calculus by now.

        • bmaz says:

          I would like to repeat that the “pool of potential special masters” is nowhere even close to as small as people keep yakking about. There are many, and they are out there and could be properly impartial. The far better question is whether there are any Trump and DOJ could agree on. That pool is likely very small.

          • TXphysicist says:

            That is an important distinction, agreed, and Cannon will have a much tougher time shutting it down with an argument based on “Oh well they couldn’t agree on a special master” vs. “there are no qualified special masters”.

            Thank you for giving me a bit of hope. I gotta read more of these threads before I post. The volume of comments here has gotten yuge over the last few years. You guys are doing something right :).

              • Steven Smith says:

                I’ve seen a few suggestions to the effect that the best way to cut the Gordian knot wrt the complexities in SDFL is for the DC GJ to just indict now, based on whatever solid charges they can; that seems like a good idea, but needs to be done post haste. When does the GJ meet this week? I seem to remember it’s on a Thursday. Waiting with bated breath…

                • fly by night says:

                  IANAL, so this may be an incredibly stupid question: Can they? Cannon allowed the intel community to continue their damage assessment but told DOJ to stop using the seized documents. Does that mean they are also prohibited from using those materials to indict?

    • SMF88011 says:

      The reporting on MSNBC is not correct. There are numerous cleared attorneys throughout the IC that could be cleared in a timely manner if they are not already cleared to that level. I know of at least 10 off the top of my head that have already been cleared to the SCI level and then just have to be read into programs if they haven’t already been cleared for it.

      Here is the thing about classification and job roles – you need to be cleared for the highest level of classification that you may be exposed to. Administrative and support staff is a prime example. Let’s say you are an IT tech supporting a nuclear program. To be able to fill the role of the job, you need the IT tech to be cleared to the highest level a program operates because in the course of their job duties they will have administrative access to the IT systems that contain that data.

      An example of this was when I was at Los Alamos. I received 5 calls in a row from my boss on a Saturday afternoon. I wasn’t on call but decided to answer the 6th call. She told me that I was needed in the Ad Building SCIF conference room ASAP. I asked why she was calling me when I wasn’t on call. She said the other person that was on call wasn’t cleared to fix the projector issue in the conference room and I needed to go fix it.

      I went in, did the various things I needed to do with security to access the SCIF and entered the conference room. As soon as I opened the door, I saw numerous people dive to cover up the projector – one of whom was a Deputy Director of the Laboratory. When he saw it was me, he said “It’s okay. The IT tech has a higher level of clearance than me.” They relaxed, I uncovered the projector, and fixed the issue. For me to fix the issue that they were having, I had to be cleared beforehand to that level of information. It didn’t make any sense to have me cleared only to a specific level and then be read in on things on an ongoing basis; it would take too long, be inefficient, and waste everyone’s time while I was being read in. I had no need to know of what was going on specifically but was cleared nonetheless because my job role required it.

    • Yorkville Kangaroo says:

      There would be heaps of people with the appropriate clearance available. DoJ will probably offer up an extensive list while The Donald’s will probably attempt to make the case that there are very few at all.

  18. Michael Scott says:

    “Plaintiff faces an unquantifiable potential harm by way of improper disclosure of sensitive information to the public.”

    He’s a twice-impeached, one-term loser. Has this judge never heard of a “libel-proof plaintiff” before?

    His “reputation” could not fall any further (outside of Trumpland’s alternate universe, of course).

    American defamation law does not trump American criminal law!

    • sand says:

      “I was going to sue her for defamation of character, but then I realized I have no character.” – Charles Barkley – a character if there ever was one.

  19. Tom-1812 says:

    Judge Cannon doesn’t seem to understand and seems hopelessly naive about the true character of Donald Trump. In order for the former President to be worried about his reputation, he would need to have some sense of shame. But Trump clearly has no shame; that’s why he lies so frequently and so effortlessly, and why he’s not fazed when his lies are exposed.

    Trump also has no sense of personal honour and thinks anyone who does is a sucker and a loser. That, at least, is his opinion of the Marines who gave their lives for their country at Belleau Wood in 1918, as was reported during Trump’s visit to France in 2018 to commemorate the centenary of the end of the Great War.

    I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that Trump is laughing at Judge Cannon for her exalted opinion of his fine, upstanding character (not!) To refresh her memory of who Trump is, I hope the Judge watched the two-hour Frontline special tonight about the events leading up to the January 6th attack on the Capitol.

    • Just Some Guy says:

      With jurists such as Cannon, as with pretty much the rest of the right-wing in America, it’s not a matter of “naivete” about Trump. It’s entirely about expedience.

  20. paul lukasiak says:

    A question–
    I’m pretty sure that the Grand Jury that issued the subpoena back in May was from DC. And that the records that were seized in Mar-a-lago were meant to be presented as evidence to that same DC Grand Jury.

    Can that Grand Jury now subpoena the records recovered from Mar-a-lago from the FBI and/or “special master”, thereby removing the documents from the control of Cannon, and giving the DC Courts authority?

  21. x174 says:

    filing charges definitely sounds like the best option.
    anything that goes through judge i lean’s absurd order–working with drump’s flunky lawyers to come up with names of a super-special master or appealing–should be avoided. nothing good’s gonna happen if she’s involved in any way. she has shown us her hand–actually gave the middle finger to all Americans. she’s beyond biased and prejudicial–she is distorting the relevant facts, ignoring the law, and generally just making it up as she goes along, apparently without a care in the world about her reputation as a fair and careful judge of facts and the law. other than drumpf, i can’t think of another person who has destroyed their reputation faster than judge cannon. maybe drumpf has threatened her and her family. hard to believe that there appears to be no real remedy. this is some incredibly fucked up shit.

    • skua says:

      Pretty sure there are multiple possible remedies. (Unless you mean a way to force Cannon to act reasonably?) And that DOJ is currently weighing the costs and risks of each way forward.

  22. TXphysicist says:

    Ehhhhhhh did anyone else see the Page Pate & co. CNN panel of lawyers last night? It was the most surface level, uncritical analysis of Cannon’s ruling this side of Fox that I’ve seen so far.

    I’m pretty sure John Malone and Chris Licht are ushering in a fascist-adjacent future for CNN, because, y’know, profits and bottomline and stuff. Am I wrong??

    @ReallyActivist had a good thread about the business pressures dictating this, but I’ve lost the thread, OH NO, 10 SECONDS OF EDIT LEFT WOOOOO

    • skua says:

      A very very brief brush with the new CNN has me thinking they’re going to stenograph anything that they think will get clicks. Judgement / discernment / the facts / the public good / truth / accuracy be damned.

      Flood the zone with anything popular.

      • ScorpioJones, III says:

        CNN’s effort at “fair and balanced” balancing includes the addition of John Yoo to its discussions. That name rings a bell for some reason.

    • bmaz says:

      The term “fascist” gets thrown around recklessly and too often, and seems wrong here. But CNN is headed in an extremely bad direction under Chris Licht. Jeff Zucker was sane in comparison. And Zucker was not great at all.

      • eskimo says:

        There is no rest for the wicked … maybe for bmaz, but in general, your mission, should you accept it … at least on here the AI hasn’t wrecked everything normal.

  23. Jenny says:

    OT, however Frontline “Lies, Politics and Democracy” aired last night.
    FRONTLINE’s season premiere investigates American political leaders and choices they made that have undermined and threatened democracy in the U.S. In a two-hour documentary special premiering ahead of the 2022 midterms, FRONTLINE examines how officials fed the public lies about the 2020 presidential election and embraced rhetoric that led to political violence.

    • Tom-1812 says:

      What I liked about the program was that it ignored the buffoonish aspects of Trump’s public persona and instead focused on how he has acted with deliberate and malign intent over the past six years or more to reach the position of power he currently holds in American politics. There wasn’t a whisper of Trump being deluded, detached from reality, or living in a fantasy world; the Trump Frontline depicted knows what he’s doing all the time.

      I also liked the fact that neither the narrator nor any of the people interviewed spoke of Trump or members of the GOP as actually believing that the 2020 election was rigged. In fact, it showed Adam Kinzinger stating the same thing that Eric Swalwell has said in the past; i.e., that when the cameras and reporters aren’t around, virtually none of the Republicans in Congress speak as if they think Trump really won the 2020 election.

      • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

        There wasn’t a whisper of Trump being deluded, detached from reality, or living in a fantasy world; the Trump Frontline depicted knows what he’s doing all the time.

        I had dismissed Trump as a loon and demented. He’s quite a conman and showman.

        • Yorkville Kangaroo says:

          These binaries are exactly why the MSM have always been a waste of time when reviewing The Donald’s actions.

          You CAN actually be all of the above at different times and at the same time.

  24. Sabine Farm says:

    The decision of Judge Cannon with respect to a SM determining whether executive privilege applies to the 11k docs taken fromMAL by DOJ , excluding the taint team 520 docs, is beyond the subject matter jurisdiction of the USDC , SDFL. That determination rests , solely , by statute , the PRA, with the USDC for DC. As a result Judge Cannon,s order with respect to the 11k Records is a nullity, since it was rendered without subject matter jurisdiction. Subject matter jurisdiction can not be waived. It can be raised at anytime. The DOJ should include this issue in a motion to Judge Cannon and, simultaneously .move in USDC for DC for a ruling on exec priv. applying to these docs and a stay of ,further , proceedings in Fl. On exec priv. Issue. judicial economy is the rationale in addition to specific statutory jurisdiction over this issue. This is a practical attempt to cut the procedural Gordian Knot that Judge Cannon’ s erratic decision presents. By god, in footnote 16 , the court decision states the lack of jurisdiction. This is a problem for the law professor’s specializing in Fed. Practice and Procedure to solve.( I saw a post by the brilliant Professor Wheeler where even she says she does not have sufficient knowledge of Fed.Prac& opinei inthis regard. Me too.)

  25. Cosmo Le Cat says:

    A few days ago I saw an Emptywheel tweet suggesting that the DOJ should return all August 8 documents to Trump except those that are classified, then immediately re-subpoena them. Heck, I would include the classified stuff along with a contingent of secret service agents (unless Cannon sensibly decides that classified material can’t be subject to privileges). I presumed the subpoena would come from DC, as would a search warrant after the barest minimum time to respond to the subpoena. I don’t know if Marcy wrote that in jest or anger, but the idea is intriguing. Comment?

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