September 5, 2022
Read the full text of Trump appointed Judge Cannon’s dangerous order stating she will appoint a special master in the Mir-a-Lago document seizure.
Much will be written about Judge Cannon’s bizarre, and dangerous order, essentially a corrupt gift to Donald Trump for appointing her to the federal bench, and much will be said as the broadcast media attempt to analyze this twist in American law and politics. While the purpose of this post is not analysis but instead making the full text of the order available to all, nevertheless the following three points are of such dire consequence that they must at least be pointed out here.
First, the order defies all previous American law by placing Donald Trump above the law in matters of criminal prosecution. As the court wrote: “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.” In this and similar statements, Judge Cannon sets the stage for a new and ominous chapter in American legal history in which former presidents under criminal investigation are given preferential, kid glove treatment that an ordinary citizen would never receive.
Second, Judge Cannon sets forth the equally unprecedented, strained, and dangerous conclusion that Donald Trump is entitled to have a special master filter documents for those which might be protected by executive privilege. This notion is not only unprecedented, it is bizarre and unworkable as it results in both a current president (who is undoubtedly entitled to executive privilege) and a former president (who is not) concurrently exercising executive privilege, and in this particular case exercising it against each other. The legal quagmire this position creates goes beyond creating presidential and former presidential combatants, it also pits the DOJ, an executive branch of government, against a former president, not to mention a former president who is the subject of one or more criminal investigations by the DOJ. In ruling in this way, Judge Cannon has allowed herself to be played by Trump’s judges who carefully muddled attorney client privilege (which Trump is entitled to) with executive privilege (which Trump is not entitled to).
Third, Judge Cannon’s order perfectly enables Trump’s well known stalling tactics by enjoining (prohibiting) the DOJ from any further review and use of the materials that Trump illegally held and which the FBI legally, with a search and seizure warrant issued by a judge, seized. In her order, Judge Cannon wrote: “The Government is TEMPORARILY ENJOINED from further review and use of any of the materials seized from Plaintiff’s residence on August 8, 2022, for criminal investigative purposes pending resolution of the special master’s review process as determined by this Court.” This order will most certainly stall the DOJ investigation, perhaps substantially, though the DOJ presumably will still be able to carry out the investigation of Trump, for example by questioning witnesses. Fortunately, for the sake of American national security, Judge Cannon did not prohibit other members of the intelligence committee from reviewing and using the seized documents: “The Government may continue to review and use the materials seized for purposes of intelligence classification and national security assessments.” In other words, Judge Cannon was comfortable with the documents being reviewed and used, just not by any governmental branch investigating Donald Trump for the crimes he so obviously committed by illegally hoarding (and perhaps selling to foreign adversaries) presidential documents at Mir-a-Lago.
Judge Cannon’s order appointing a special master and imposing restrictions on the DOJ’s review and use of the illegally held documents seized at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence can be viewed in the online reader below or viewed in a larger format by clicking on the link “Cannon Appoints Special Master” below the online reader. Clicking the “Download” button allows the full text of the document to be downloaded to your device. You can also share this post on Twitter and Facebook.
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