The Justice Department has appealed Trump-appointed Judge Aileen Cannon’s incomprehensible and widely criticized ruling granting Donald Trump’s request for a special master to review materials seized in the August 8th FBI search of his Mar-a-Lago estate. DOJ Prosecutors challenged Judge Cannon’s decision to halt its federal probe into the ex-President’s removal and storage of classified documents after leaving the White House in January 2021 – citing national security risks and concerns within the intelligence community.
“[I]n order to assess the full scope of potential harms to national security resulting from the improper retention of the classified records, the government must assess the likelihood that improperly stored classified information may have been accessed by others and compromised,” Justice Department counterintelligence chief Jay Bratt argued in the filing. “But that inquiry is a core aspect of the FBI’s criminal investigation.”
MSNBC’s Larry O’Donnell gave a scathing summary of the DOJ’s motion, saying “The Justice Department conducted a kindergarten class on national security in its motion today for the judge.”
Wow…so basically Judge Aileen Cannon didn’t realize the FBI is part of the intelligence community until yesterday’s DOJ motion.
Larry O’Donnell ~ “The Justice Department conducted a kindergarten class on national security in its motion today for the judge.”
Good points here. pic.twitter.com/eoXRouolbV
— Christopher Webb🇺🇸VOTE (@cwebbonline) September 9, 2022
“No special master can possibly have any authority over classified material.”
Chief of Counterintelligence and Export Control of the National Security Division Jay Bratt and United States Attorney Juan Antonio Gonzalez sought a temporary stay of the court’s order on Thursday, “limited to the Order’s directives with respect to the seized classified records.” They assert that that part of the opinion “will cause the most immediate and serious harms to the government and the public.”
Pointing out that the law and precedent are in favor of the DOJ, a stay pending appeal is both warranted and appropriate – re-iterating again, that the former President has no claims to executive privilege in this matter because the materials retrieved belong not to him, but the United States government.
“Plaintiff has not shown that he had standing to seek relief, or that this Court properly exercised its equitable jurisdiction, with regard to the classified records. The classified records are government property over which the Executive Branch has control and in which Plaintiff has no cognizable property interest,” the DOJ filing read.
The Department of Justice and Trump each submitted two choices for special master consideration.
The DOJ proposed a G. W. Bush-appointed judge, Thomas Griffith, who served on the DC Court of Appeals for 15 years. Griffiths served as a legal advisor for both sides during former President Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial and was counsel to the U.S. Senate. Barbara Jones, a Clinton nominee and a former special master in multiple cases involving Trump’s inner circle, rounded out the federal government’s choices.
“The government will suffer irreparable harm…”
Trump’s two nominees include attorney Paul Huck Jr., who represented the former President’s 2016 campaign and is married to Eleventh Circuit of Appeals judge Barbara Lago, who was considered a potential Trump SCOTUS nominee, creating a potential conflict of interest.
But curiously, the ex-President’s second pick, Raymond Dearie, is one of the judges who approved federal investigators’ requests to surveil Trump campaign advisor Carter Paige in the probe into foreign interference in the 2016 election, CNN reports.
As O’Donnell points out, the FBI is a part of the intelligence community, and there is “no reason” for the appointment of a special master, per the DOJ. As Judge Cannon continues to receive backlash and criticism for her seemingly partisan decision that wilfully disregarded both precedent and the rule of law – the law enforcement body of the Justice Department is the only one within the IC that has the authority to address the security risks imposed by the issues at hand.
The Trump Train is crashing, and Judge Aileen Cannon is going to find it difficult to stand on the quicksand she’s claimed as solid ground. The Dept. of Justice has made clear its intent to appeal if Cannon continues to forget what the law and her position on the District Court dictate.
Read the motion here.
Follow Ty Ross on Twitter @cooltxchick
Please consider supporting the fund. Thank you!