After the Donald Trump raid, a court on Monday granted the former president’s request for an impartial examination of the confiscated documents. Legal experts consider the judge’s reasoning outrageous.
For Donald Trump, this was the first good news in the Mar-a-Lago case. Judge Eileen Cannon announced in writing Monday that documents confiscated from the former president’s property will be examined by a special representative — and that US authorities will no longer see them until then. But to many legal experts, the decision of the 41-year-old from Florida who was appointed by Trump in 2020 is a hair-raising miscalculation.
Stephen I. Vladeck, a law professor at the University of Texas, commented on Cannon’s decision: “This was an unprecedented intervention by a federal judge amid an ongoing criminal and security investigation.” At the New York Times monastery. CNN Analyst and Former Federal Prosecutor Jennifer Rodgers judges: “The judge’s decision appears to many legal experts, including myself, too weak in his legal analysis.”
Donald Trump has asked for a “special master” for the FBI’s investigations
Cannon on Monday upheld a lawsuit brought by Trump’s legal team and ordered the appointment of a neutral special agent to review more than 11,000 government records confiscated by the FBI in Mar-a-Lago on August 8 and investigate his “requests for his return.” targeting. The judge allowed the so-called Special Master to filter not only materials that might be subject to attorney-client privilege, but also documents that would fall under executive privilege. Executive privilege is the right of the President of the United States to keep certain information about the activities of his office secret from Congress or the judiciary. It is usually used in the interest of national security or to keep private government conversations confidential and cannot be cited for personal reasons.
Cannon also prevented federal prosecutors from further examining and investigating the use of the confiscated materials until the special master had completed his work. At the same time, the National Intelligence Agency granted an exception: it could continue to examine and use documents “for the purposes of intelligence classification and national security assessment.”
From ‘weird’ to ‘unsustainable’: Legal experts criticize judge’s ruling
The ban on investigation, use, and a supposed division of labor — the separation between “investigative purposes” and “national safety assessment” — faces a lack of understanding among experts. “It’s impossible to reconcile these two decisions,” said Jimmy Gorelick, deputy attorney general under President Bill Clinton. At the Washington Post Abbey.
David Alan Sklansky, a professor of law at Stanford University, confirmed in the “New York Times” that he is glad that the work of the intelligence agency can continue given its importance. However, there is an inherent contradiction in allowing law enforcement to use files for this purpose while preventing them from using them in an active criminal investigation. “It’s an odd situation where one part of the executive can use the materials while another part can’t.”
Paul Rosenzweig, a former attorney general and Homeland Security official, finds harsher words in the newspaper. It is outrageous that the Department of Justice is prohibited from questioning witnesses in government files, many of which have been classified as classified and already reviewed by federal agents. “It seems to me that this is a really unprecedented decision by a judge,” Rosenzweig said. “Stopping the ongoing criminal investigation is simply untenable.”
Many experts also find it questionable that Cannon cited executive privilege as an argument in its decision. After all, Trump is no longer a president, but a private individual, and it’s about documents belonging to the federal government, not Trump. “The judge does not seem to understand the essence of executive privilege,” legal scholar Peter Shen was quoted by The New York Times as saying. There is no basis for extending the authority of the Special Representative to review material that may also fall under executive privilege. The newspaper wrote that this privilege is usually used to protect the deliberations of the internal executive branch from divulging information to foreigners. However, the Department of Justice is itself part of the executive branch, and no court has ever ruled that a former president can invoke the privilege to keep documents from his term away from the executive branch itself.
Even Trump’s former attorney general William Barr only shook his head at Cannon’s ruling: Barr said the judge sidestepped the question of whether the former president’s potential claim of executive privilege could trump the current president’s annulment of himself. im US-Sender Fox News. “The law here, I think, says very clearly that the Department of Justice should be able to review these documents.”
Law professor: “This ruling is ridiculous.”
Cannon also justified her appointment as a special counsel with the potential damage Trump would incur. “In addition to the fact that important personal documents may be withheld from him, which in itself represents real harm,” the 76-year-old faces “potential, immeasurable harm from improper disclosure of sensitive information to the public,” the judge wrote. He hinted in a footnote that the Justice Department could release the files to journalists.
Cannon highlighted Trump’s standing as a former president. “Because of the former attorney general’s position as President of the United States, the stigma attached to expropriation is in itself,” she wrote. “Future prosecution that depends to what degree to which property was to be returned will damage the image on a very different scale.”
Ronald Sullivan Jr., a professor at Harvard Law School, calls the judge’s reasoning “weak at best” in The New York Times and gives “undue weight” to the fact that Trump is a former president. “I find that to be a huge problem,” he explains, stressing that the criminal justice system must treat everyone equally. “This court pays special attention to the former president that ordinary ordinary citizens do not get.”
Samuel W. Boyle, a professor of law at Duke University, agrees with Sullivan on the paper. “For any honest attorney with experience in federal criminal courts, this ruling is very poor, and the written justification is very flimsy,” the newspaper quoted him as saying. “Donald Trump gets something that no one else in federal court gets, he gets for no good reason.”
Former Deputy Attorney General Neil Katial provided legal analysis for Canon im US-Sender MSNBC Even if it was “terrible” and “terrible,” and engraved, “Honestly, any of my new law students would have written a better opinion.” Andrew Wiseman, a veteran DOJ legal analyst and MSNBC legal analyst, called the ruling “outlaw” and “crazy.”
Former Trump Attorney General Barr, like many legal experts, recommends that the Department of Justice take action against Cannon’s decision: “I think the verdict was wrong and I think the government should appeal it. It’s very flawed in many ways. I think the appointment of a special master will continue.” .
The ministry has not yet decided whether to follow Barr’s advice. He probably doesn’t share his optimism either. Because the appeal will be heard by the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, Georgia—six of the eleven judges there have been appointed by Trump.