At some point soon, Judge Aileen Cannon is going to start working her magic for Donald Trump in the documents indictment brought by Special Counsel Jack Smith. A jurist who would assert anomalous jurisdiction to challenge a warrant based on nothing more than “he used to be the president,” order the Justice Department to lump national security secrets in with normal discovery, and countermand her own special master’s order for Trump to declare exactly what he’s accusing the government of having planted on him is clearly immune from shame. But since the vicissitudes of the judicial wheel sent Trump back to her warm embrace, Judge Cannon has been playing it normal.
(At least insofar as we can see, although there is some unexplained activity on Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart’s docket regarding the original warrant to search Mar-a-Lago back in August of 2020.)
Judge Cannon’s first order of business was to task the defendants’ attorneys with getting their security clearances underway post haste to deal with the large volume of classified evidence at issue in this case.
On or before June 16, 2023, all attorneys of record and forthcoming attorneys of record shall contact the Litigation Security Group of the U.S. Department of Justice, if they have not done so already, to expedite the necessary clearance process for all team members anticipated to participate in this matter, and thereafter file a Notice of Compliance no later than June 20, 2023.
As national security lawyer Kel McClanahan told me at the Opening Arguments podcast, this order reflects a convenient fudge under the Classified Information Protection Act (CIPA), which governs prosecutions involving classified evidence. (Just Security has an excellent piece on CIPA here.)
CIPA requires the Justice Department to expedite the clearance process for lawyers in cases involving classified evidence. There’s a decent argument that this violates the separation of powers, but the issue has thus far not been litigated, sparing each side the risk of a bad ruling. In practice, the court orders the lawyers to seek this expedited clearance review, and the DOJ provides it, so, as yet, Judge Cannon is still coloring inside the lines.
There may still be an issue here, though, since the only lawyer on Trump’s team admitted to practice in the Southern District of Florida is the state’s former Solicitor General Chris Kise. But, as journalist Marcie Wheeler previously noted, Kise was at one point registered as a foreign lobbyist for Venezuela, which may complicate his effort to get a clearance.
It was originally understood that Kise was simply appearing at Tuesday’s arraignment as a placeholder for the “law firm to be named later.” But at that hearing, when questioned by Magistrate Judge Jonathan Goodman whether he was appearing temporarily or permanently, Kise responded, “Permanently, Your Honor.” Look for howls about the DEEP STATE if and when Kise runs into difficulty securing that clearance.
Meanwhile Trump has returned to screaming for the return of “his” documents because FOURTH AMENDMENT:
SO NOW THAT EVERYONE UNDERSTANDS THAT THE PRESIDENTIAL RECORDS ACT, PLUS THE CLINTON SOCKS CASE, TOTALLY EXONERATED ME FROM THE CONTINUING WITCH HUNT BROUGHT ON BY CORRUPT JOE BIDEN, THE DOJ, DERANGED JACK SMITH, AND THEIR RADICAL LEFT, MARXIST THUGS, WHEN ARE THEY GOING TO DROP ALL CHARGES AGAINST ME, APOLOGIZE, AND RETURN EVERYTHING THAT WAS ILLEGALLY TAKEN (FOURTH AMENDMENT) FROM MY HOME? THIS WAS NOTHING OTHER THAN ELECTION INTERFERENCE!!!
Last year when Trump challenged the sufficiency of the warrant issued by Judge Reinhart, Judge Cannon ordered the government to grant Trump’s lawyers unrestricted access to the classified documents and even allowed the former president to assert executive privilege to block the DOJ from using them to prosecute him. Lord only knows what craziness is in store this round.
United States v. Trump [Docket via Court Listener]