Trump Ruling Lifts Profile of Judge and Raises Legal Eyebrows

Sep 07, 2022 · 728 comments
Family Nurse Practitioner (Atlanta)
My parents also fled a war-torn country, Laos, fleeing through the jungle under secrecy of night, crossing the Mekong river guarded on all sides by VietCong guns, not knowing when a shot will ring out and take my dad down, who was the only one who could swim and was towing my mom along using a fallen tree trunk. They arrived to this country and gave birth to me, and now I am afforded all the great things the US has had to offer, safe from gunshelling and communism and barbaric rule. I still value and cherish the American Dream; I have passed this love of my country along to my boys who would never dishonor the memory of my parents’ struggle to reach this country by supporting a loudmouth, selfish oaf of an excuse for former president who stands for everything but the American Dream. I wonder how this immigrant judge got it so wrong.
AndyW (Chicago)
The Dobbs decision alerted the greater public to just how dangerous and radical the Federalist Society is to the legal framework of our country. If you are a card carrying member, the GOP will eventually hand you a judicial nomination to a powerful lifelong perch. Then you can rule that corporations are people, women are second-class citizens and conservative politicians who lose elections should be treated for life as privileged royalty. Fears that Social Security‘s constitutionality will be even be questioned down the road are not paranoid or frivolous. Read their writings and theories if you want to learn what these people are really about. Also read the history of how a hyper-conservative Supreme Court once almost killed Social Security in the crib, if not for adept political maneuvering by President Franklin Roosevelt. Democrats need to spend far more time demonizing these people, because they are unhinged philosophical zealots. This judge is so radical in her deference to power, she even freaks out Federalist supporter Bill Barr. With each passing generation, Federalist Society members only get ever more radical and more dangerous to us all.
glenn (NYC)
Why any sane person is shocked by her ruling amazes me. It was a no-brainer for her. if she ruled for the Government, that would 100% kill any chances she had for nomination to any higher court, such as the Appellate Circuit or possibly the Supreme Court. The Federalist Society would never forgive her. So she kicks the can down the road. If an upper court overrules her, even completely tossing every word of her decision, her conservative creed is intact. She can hold her head up high, jaw standing OUT, and say, " I protected our great LEADER!" It won't matter that the partisan hacks above her struck her down (which is by no means a 100% certainty). But if she did the "correct" thing and ruled against trump at this level, she could kiss any chance of moving up in the Federal courts, or even going into highly lucrative private practice as a conservative lawyer..down the toilet. Money and dollars folks, always follow the dollars, they never let you down.
RS (Midwest)
The most thankful aspect of the past 6 years is that Trump opened my eyes as to how biased the government really is. When Trump was chanting "drain the swamp" I thought it was just a campaign slogan. After witnessing the complete burial of the Hunter Biden/Joe Biden corruption story I will not believe anything that comes out of this DOJ. I am willing to bet the reason for the raid and the resistance to a Special Master was to dispose of evidence that Trump has collected proving the interference of the 2016 election and rigging the 2020 election. Can you only imagine what would have happened if Merrick Garland was confirmed to the SCOTUS!!!
Indrid Cold (Point Pleasant, West Virginia)
Cannon is indisputably unqualified and biased.
Stew Pedasole (Brooklyn)
Bill Barr is quoted on Fox News saying he does not think Trump should be indicted, even if the evidence is sufficient. He is now, as he did to quash the Mueller report, so concerned about the Office of the President...not Donald Trump, and whether a current OR former President should be indicted. What would have had done if he were AG under Nixon? Would have had protected him also?? Decades later there are very few who would still think the imperial presidency is above reproach. I would think the opposite of Barr, in that an indictment of the WORST behaved President in our history would perhaps set the bar for future Presidents, since it is clear that we need some level of accountability. I don't consider the republican party or the millions of voters who voted for him twice as any sort of accountability. The fear of armed uprising is certainly real, but honestly, that to me would be better than to let it all go, and Trump set the tone for the Office of the President of The United States.
Jack snow (Up Here)
The free thinker comment was good for a laugh…
Johnny Xerox (Los Angeles)
Biden, Garland, and the DOJ are fully responsible for federal judge, Aileen M. Cannon's decision. You made the bed now sleep in it, and stop your crying. Fifty percent of US questions the DOJ's ethics and practices. The DOJ has become an arm of the Democratic Party and the White House. Garland gets his marching order from Ron Klain in the White House. Sad but True Political Stories
IDGAF (NYC)
Is anyone surprised?
Principal Skinner (Springfield)
Is it just me, or shouldn't a judge be required to recuse themselves in the extremely unlikely event they get called on a matter regarding the President who appointed them? This looks like 3rd World, banana republic judicial standards, although it's clearly online with the "standards" of GOP politics.
Rob Woodside (White Rock)
Many have found Barr's Pauline conversion to supporting the Justice Department as puzzling after he twisted the Meuller report into "No Collusion, No Obstruction". Barr's surprising conversion happens just on the release of the memorandum his two lackeys wrote justifying Barr's assumption that Trump could do no wrong. It is still puzzling why the Justice Department fought so long and hard to keep it secret. Now that it's out, it's clear that Barr and his lackeys obstructed justice with the lie "No Collusion, No Obstruction". So it appears that Barr is now supporting the Justice Department to curry favour in hopes of avoiding Obstruction of Justice charges for him and his lackeys.
PGB (Boulder, Colorado)
Why is this so complicated? The documents Trump took when leaving the White House belong to the government not to him. Therefore, return them. He had his opportunity to sort anything personal before leaving the White House. It's too late now. Furthermore, it's one thing to determine, in the present, what documents/materials/actions form an "executive privilege" but, in hindsight, months , years later? No.There are too many moving parts to make such determination long after the fact. Thus, appointing a special master to perform such a task is a waste.
Larry Fearing (Ohio)
This judge is correct. This needs to be investigated fully. Because it seems obvious that the FBI is in the pocket of the president Biden. The FBI and the doj cannot become politically involved. And if the FBI and the doj has done nothing wrong they have nothing to fear. The only reason that they are afraid of having a special master looking into the warrant and the raid is because they are guilty. Let the truth come out and let people start going to prison
Karen (California)
@Larry Fearing Yes, let Trump go to prison. The biggest problems with a special master are the time it will take ("justice delayed is justice denied" - but that is Trump's purpose) and finding a special master who has the required security clearance, not a simple task considering the nature of the classified documents. The FBI and DOJ involvement wouldn't have even been necessary if Trump had turned over the government's documents to the government, at the National Archives. He delayed, argued and evaded for 15 months before calling in the DOJ and FBI in May. Even then, he evaded and lied in response to a subpoena (if you or I had done that, we'd be in jail right now). If he had turned over all the documents to the National Archives in January 2022, that would have been the end to it.
Jonathan (Decatur)
Donald Trump stole highly sensitive and classified documents belonging to the federal government. Many people including former CIA directors and NSA chiefs have been prosecuted for much less.
Elizabeth (Philadelphia)
@Larry Fearing hopefully if justice plays out fairly and according to the facts so far presented the first person to go to prison will be Trump
James Jones (Syracuse, New York)
There is no mystery. This is simply another case of a TRump nominee being a highly partisan right wing REppublican politician masquerading as a judge. They base their rulings on their politics and ideology and Not the Constitution or Law. This also explains the political rulings of the Supreme Court which, in the case of Dobbs v Women's Health, for the first time in Supreme Court history revoked a Constitutional right.
Dave (New Jersey)
A complete waste of time/ delaying tactic by a partisan judge/ Trump appointee, who should be removed from the case, and possibly from the bench. https://theweek.com/donald-trump/1016421/legal-scholars-criticize-judges-laughably-bad-ruling-in-favor-of-trump-special
A Blinkin (Chicago)
If sound reasoning gets a bad outcome, poor reasoning must step in. Ain't that so, "Your Honor"?
Grabski (Morris County, NJ)
Cannon is a real judge, nominated by the president/approved by the Senate Reinhard is a magistrate, without either the nomination nor the approval
A Blinkin (Chicago)
@grabski: a magistrate judge is a real judge with real power and they are indeed nominated and approved like "real" judges. They get 14 year appointments, which is not chopped liver.
Theodore R (Englewood, Fl)
Yet another nail in the coffin holding the remains of Americans' respect for and tolerance of an unelected, lifetime-tenured judiciary.
Democracy Counts (Kansas City)
I don't think Judge Aileen Cannon will go down in history as truly protecting Trump's reputation as a former president. Instead, she has destroyed her own reputation. She had hinting that Trump was “forum shopping,” yet she did not recuse herself. I hope she goes down in infamy.
AS5577 (USA)
@Democracy Counts spot on!
mary (connecticut)
The rule of law trump his lived by his entire pathetic life is skirting the due process of the law; denial, fake news playing victim because they are 'after me', then a game of 'whack a mole' to delay, delay, delay. I applaud Judge cannon's order granting him a special master. I share this piece of an article I read as to why; “Former President Donald Trump’s legal action in federal court complaining about the search of Mar-a-Lago has been the legal equivalent of Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride: a constantly moving target of screwups, strange arguments, and eye-popping judicial actions,” (San Diego attorney Chris) Truax writes. “On Monday, however, Judge Aileen Cannon issued an order that brings a little clarity to the situation — though certainly not closure.” I share with great certainty the JD team has and will continue to cross every t and dot every i throughout the investigation. Yes it will take time but the movie will end with the caption "Donnie fought the law and the law finally won."
Cj (NYC)
Let’s not forget she was appointed AFTER TRUMP LOST the election FOR THE VERY JURISDICTION where he was keeping our stolen national secrets. Coincide? I think NOT!!!
The Lone Protester (Frankfurt, Germany)
It is not the fact that she made a ruling in favor of TFG that is of concern. Rulings are the job of judges. It is the effect of what she said that causes eyebrows to be raised. Carving out a special place in the law for a FORMER president (who just happened to have appointed her) is judicial activism at its sycophantic worst, a "crime" for which Republicans (a vanishing species) used to condemn judges appointed by Democratic Presidents. Mitch, where are you? Kevin, aren't you upset? Lindsey, you, as an attorney by trade and Republican by temperment, should be incensed.
Atikin (Citizen)
When did it become fashionable (or at least useful?) to appoint such poorly qualified people to the judiciary? (Looking at you, here, Barrett and Thomas).
Grabski (Morris County, NJ)
@Atikin Now do Sotomayor G.
Mark In The Mist (Seattle)
It is only now dawning on the Democrats what the GOP has been doing all these years in stuffing the judiciary with these people. They are only now understanding that judges are the ones who determine what the law actually is. They can literally say the Constitution means almost anything they want. Opposing them is impossible if one is to actually observe the law. We got to this point because McConnell broke with tradition and denied Garland a hearing and then rushed Coney Barrett through in record time. Also note that he had zero qualms about abolishing the filibuster for judicial confirmations while Dems wring their hands about tradition. The Dems need to wake up and make the courts rational again or we will be chained to judges making up laws that enshrine a fascist regime in perpetuity
Uji10jo (Canada)
Give and take. It's all business for Trump.
Doris (Hansford)
“Raises legal eyebrows”? How about being straightforward about this: Cannon is a Trump-appointed lightweight groomed by the anti-democratic, noxious Federalist Society, who has absolutely no business being a Federal judge. This ruling will be studied for years as an example of a purely partisan, dictator-worshipping perversion of our legal system. And she wouldn’t even accept an amicus brief by some of the GOP’s most venerated legal minds. I’m sorry, but this opinion and this “judge” are pure, unmitigated trash.
AR (Virginia)
"Trump Ruling Lifts Profile of Judge" The Elise Stefanik of judges, doing dirty work for a loser who couldn't agree to lose.
Jim Steinberg (Fresno, Calif.)
A disgrace.
northlander (Michigan)
Pat Sayjak is ready to serve.
Welcome Canada (Canada)
The judge was on sale, a real knock out prize!
PATRICK (Pennsylvania)
I understand the situation partly. If Trump is prosecuted, it will come out about his previous relationships with Justice. The safety of the nation takes precedence over any harm Justice might incur reputationally or criminally that will have been forgotten over time, but not a conflict that would arise over a failure to act to be remembered for centuries.
Sierra (Maryland)
If there were ever a case for recusal, this judge certainly had one. The American judiciary needs reform.
A.L. Hern (Los Angeles, CA)
Being appointed to the bench by the case’s plaintiff is a serious and unambiguous conflict of interest that should trigger mandatory recusal according to SCOTUS Chief Justice Roberts’s rules that govern conduct of the federal judiciary. Why has the Justice Department not already sued to have the ruling set aside and sent to another judge? No one’s asking that it be a Democratic-appointed jurist; even one picked by George W. Bush will suffice.
Progressive (Upstate NY)
How is it that a federal judge appointed by Trump is not required to recuse herself in a decision directly affecting the person who appointed her to a life-long position on the federal bench?! Not only is her decision itself outrageous from a legal point of view, her failure to recuse herself should result in her impeachment, which should be undertaken immediately! She should be removed from this case at the very least.
AS5577 (USA)
@Progressive I agree with everything you say. maybe this could be appealed for the very reason you state above.
SensibleAmerican (U.S.A.)
The obvious problem is, any person appointed as a special master has to have high enough security clearance to read through the documents, which even many high ranking government officials (including those in the DoD don't have). Lawyers who are Trump caliber shouldn't be allowed within 100 yards of them and still should be blindfolded.
Ron (32763)
It only raises eyebrows amongst the uninformed, uneducated and the politically biased. The judges “IRAC” writ has numerous citations and legal precedents throughout. Trust me I’m no fan of Trump, however this is well within the new norm as founded by the DOJ, FBI and Biden administration.
A.L. Hern (Los Angeles, CA)
@Ron And your citations and qualifications for making this appraisal are…what, exactly?
An Observer (Earthling)
@Ron You are certainly entitled to your own opinion. No issue there. But a casual observer would notice that you put your own opinion high above that of former General William Barr in regard to judge Cannon's flawed decision. (His words). As far as legal maters are concerned, what William Barr said would make your opinion pure nonsense.
jim (wauchula Fl.)
@An Observer I liked one comment I read of her,( She semes to be a Freethinker)? if that is true, I like her.
Rev. Jim Bridges (Fate, TX)
I would like to see a list of all those Senators who voted for the sitting of this judge! I'd also like to hear what each of them says about Cannon's reasoning.
Voter (Chicago)
This court ruling is moot. The law specifies that such action can only take place in the federal court in Washington DC. Trump's judge-shopping must fail.
FR (PA)
With the aid of Judge Cannon, Trump has earned his place in history as the “man” who made America the puppet of a dictator who would rule and destroy the world. Men of character could not see it coming. Men of character would not believe it could happen. A “man” of no character could thereby imperil a world his country intended to preserve.
AS5577 (USA)
@FR those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. Voltaire
Kbu (california)
Cannon recounted how her mother fled Cuba at the age of 7 and said her maternal grandparents “were forced to leave everything they had.” “They taught me always to be thankful for this country and to cherish our constitutional democracy,” she said. And yet she loves a Castro like dictator like Trump who attempted and continues to attempt to take away the very freedoms her mother cherished and by violence. Cannon is certainly not honoring her mother and is quickly abandoning this country she swore under oath to protect from foreign and domestic threats... Trump and MAGA extremists are a domestic terrorist threat to Democracy Ms Cannon...
Not Amused (New England)
Any judge who worries about DT suffering “reputational harm” has clearly not been following the news for the past 40 years. Of all public officials, DT has the least "reputation" open to "harm" - he's been forced to shut his sham university, to close a cancer charity from which he was skimming money purportedly going to children, he and his father came under government attack due to their racist policies regarding rentals to individuals in their NY buildings, his unwillingness to accept the coronavirus as "real" cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of American citizens, and he knowingly met with Russian leaders during which meeting he shared classified materials with them, as well as supporting the word of Putin over the knowledge and information held by American intelligence services...exactly WHAT reputation is at harm here? He knowingly held and refused to return thousands of government documents, including those whose national security implications could harm Americans, and in doing so broke the laws that were enacted for ALL Americans to be subject to...the only "harm" possible here is harm to the United States of America...but then, Judge Cannon has been reported to be working towards a Supreme Court nomination should the GOP come into power...so her allegiance doesn't seem to be the safety of the American people any more than it's Trump's concern either. One hand washing the other, one "you have my back" and "I'll have yours."
SensibleAmerican (U.S.A.)
Oh, he has a reputation alright. The problem is it's all bad.
Uta Weitzel (Wiesbaden, Germany)
@Not Amused This is ever so true. Can anybody please explain to me why millions of citizens and voters ! in the USA don`t see the abyss in Mr. Trump`s career - or should I rather say character? Why do they follow a "Pied Piper of Hamelin" on his way to destroy the reputation, even safety, of a great Nation? I am having the impression that Trump and his supporters are adding a chapter to Benjamin Franklin`s "Rules by Which a Great Empire May be Reduced..."
Katherine Winter (Florida)
She was graduated from two excellent universities: Duke for undergrad and University of Michigan for law school. She worked for a nationally-known law firm in DC. She was a federal prosecutor. On paper, at least, she should be an excellent judge. And yet. Her order granting Trump's motion for appointment of a special master puzzles lawyers and lacks a cogent explanation ofthe basis for her ruling. Is this inexperience or incompetence? What were her academic achievements? Was she a stellar student or a marginal one? In law school, was she on Law Review? If so, what article or note did she publish? If she was not on Law Review, what were her other credentials at Michigan? At the DC firm and in the US Attorney's Office, was she viewed as bright and talented or as politically well-connected and plodding?
PATRICK (Pennsylvania)
The writings of Thomas Jefferson's Declaration Of Independence on parchment as well as the enscribed structure of our nation in the written foundational Constitution of America created our nation, and millions of paper proof voting ballots will preserve it. As the previous is the law of the land, so too must be the paper ballots.
H. Clark (Long Island)
This is textbook espionage, and overt cover-up. No one seems to care, except for erudite commenters to The Times.
PATRICK (Pennsylvania)
@H. Clark Yes, no one is approaching the obvious that documents were likely copied and distributed as demonstrated by Trump's lack of resistance in giving them back. He did it piecemeal possibly indicating a work in progress. The nuclear documents are most troubling as I suspect Republicans are seeking nuclear weapons locations for purchase or theft. This situation now has to be treated as a prelude to insurrection.
Kathleen (North Carolina)
Well, more like a prelude to treason. Or maybe we are already into Act I or II of the Trump treason?!
AusTex (Austin, TX)
The Republican think tanks like the Federalist Society and CATO are a shadow fascist organization promoting jurists and getting them installed throughout the system bringing the entire branch into question. It’s time a moat is dug around religious agendas and their influence peddling.
PGB (Boulder, Colorado)
It's one thing to determine what documents/materials/actions qualify to be designated an "executive privilege" when in the present--done while in office that is--but impossible looking back months/years later. There are too many moving parts to make such determination in hindsight. A Special Master assigned to perform such task is a waste.
David Friedman (Berkeley)
Lookiing at this judge's decision in the larger context, I think it is fair to characterize it as one of the opening salvoes in Civil War 2.0. There has been much talk about another civil war, mostly from ardent people in the trumpian movvement, who thrive on bloodcurdling rhetoric, death threats and calls to arms. Some pundits and aspiring pundits are dismissing this talk as mere rhetoric. A recent Times op-ed piece argued that we can't have another civil war because the country is not divided on strictly geographical lines, North versus South, and because it would be ruinous to the economy. The latter point proves nothing, as the same argument could be used to "prove" that Putin would never order an invasion of Ukraine. The same is true of the "geographical argument." Many civil wars throughout history have involved intranecine warfare across geographical sectors. When judges start interfering in criminal investigations, poaching cases from other judges, and issuing blatant rulings in favor one one party or leader, the country is close to a breakdown of "the rule of law." Couple that with one side armed to the teeth, and we are not too far from an actual civil war. Not a mirror image of North v South, but bad, bad, bad.
Harold Rosenbaum (Atlanta, GA)
This judge’s decision certainly smells bad. There needs to be legislation for our courts that can keep a case on track and not purposely stalled. Particularly under these particular circumstances where Donald Trump is going to campaign on this later when he announces his candidacy.
WatchingListening (Missouri)
"During a hearing in the Trump case last week, she also seemed to help one of Mr. Trump’s lawyers remember that his client’s request for a special master included not only to review documents under attorney-client privilege but also to assess any that could be covered under executive privilege." I find this help from the bench re: reviewing documents for executive privilege curious. Why would she remind Trump's lawyer of this? Is there a legitimate reason for doing it?
Karen (California)
@WatchingListening She's earning her appointment and positioning herself for an appointment to the Court of Appeals if Trump is elected in 2024: "Someday, and that day may never come, I will call upon you to do a service for me. But until that day, accept this justice as a gift ..." from The Godfather. She's done her service.
Felix (Over the river and through the woods)
@Karen And having done the service-to-her-master that she was put in place to perform, she's no longer useful to Trump and will be promptly discarded and stiffed on the payment she expected, just like all his other contractors for hire.
RLW (Los Angeles)
Must say: This kid has always embellished her "career", which seems to be about what all politicians do. That's all this is. What bothers me is that her ruling as a judge explicitly said that ordinary folks such as I would not receive the same treatment. WOW! She DOES know how to climb fast(er)!
Karen (California)
@RLW Obviously, she doesn't think that no one is above the law. She certainly thinks Trump is above the law. She's bought and paid for her appointment. As Don Corleone said in The Godfather, "Someday, and that day may never come, I will call upon you to do a service for me. But until that day, accept this justice as a gift ..."
pjtawney (Colton, OR)
"to give at least the appearance of fairness". That line alone told me all I needed to know about this extremists judge.
Judy (Canada)
Federal Judges appointed during the Trump presidency cannot be trusted.
Timbuk (New York)
Is the judge committing election fraud herself in this case by fraudulently protecting Trump from his election fraud, insurrection and treason? Has she committed treason? Is she guilty of coving up the insurrection. No, of course not, this is about a different case, but isn’t that what she’s doing?
Critical Thinker (NYC)
Why its anyone trying to figure out. This woman has a shot at the Supreme Court someday when the Republicans eventually retake the presidency. Like all of the toadies that Trump has subdued into saying that the world is flat and the election was stolen, she must toe the mark for Trump or he will act out on a grudge if he does not think she. is loyal. There is no more need than that to analyze her motives.
H. Clark (Long Island)
Imagine if Barack Obama had behaved this way and stolen reams of classified material from the White House in 2017 and brought them back to Chicago and was asked to return them and obliged to a degree but subsequently investigators found even more highly classified information that he refused to turn over initially, and it was determined that this batch of highly classified material included information on another country's nuclear capabilities and launch sites. Republicans would have blown a gasket and called for his immediate removal and imprisonment, if not his execution. Trump is playing golf today. There is no justice.
Sierra (Maryland)
@H. Clark And we will pay a very high price as more of our young people see this is how you pay to play in America.
Kimberly Baxter (Seattle)
Ya plus O had that tan suit, so.,.
Lorri (Seattle)
This is my worst fear, realized. Judge Cannon has made a laughably bad decision and cast a deep pall over the appearance of judicial neutrality over America. She has essentially warned that Trump's rights are more important than yours and mine. The flimsy, careless handling of deeply sensitive documents puts us, our allies, and our sacred institutions at risk. And she told us in advance what she was going to do. Worst of all, she plainly doesn't care what anyone thinks. She's paying Trump back for her appointment.
Karen (California)
@Lorri As Don Corleone said in The Godfather "Someday, and that day may never come, I will call upon you to do a service for me. But until that day, accept this justice as a gift ..."
Jay Masters (Winter Park, FL)
All you need to know is that Mr. Barr said the opinion was ridiculous. I was a criminal defense attorney for thirty years in Florida. When you got a guilty client, your only defense is delay, delay, delay and hope something happens that makes it harder for the prosecution of your client.
PG (Houston)
why o why a judge he nominated she should have recused herself!
Peace (BOSTON MA)
Cannon's opinion should be disregarded because she has an obvious conflict of interest.
PK2NYT (Sacramento)
Judge Cannon has now only two options for her future. If Trump or DeSanits get elected, she becomes a SCOTUS judge. Or she lives in infamy for using a fig leaf defense to throw Trump a life line that hopefully does not hold.
JimmySerious (NDG)
I don't believe Trump would've taken anything that he didn't see as of value to him. He had 2 years to monetize. There were folders marked classified that were empty. If Trump goes down, could she go down as an accomplice? You be the judge.
Morris Waxler (Madison, WI)
She should revised her decision, resign, and try to find a job as a law clerk.
Bob Guthrie (Australia)
Could Trump or one of his enablers answer a simple question please? Why did Trump remove from a secure location top secret documents that if accessed effect the national security of the USA USA USA?
Mua (Transoceanic)
Further evidence upon a mountain of evidence that the US "justice" system is a farce. Putin's plaything in Mar a Lago must remain protected, above and beyond all reason. Thank you Moscow Mitch.
LL (USA)
Should this investigation pick up again and the Special Master officially state that tRump had no business stealing these documents, the DOJ should charge and indict Judge Cannon on obstruction of Justice and hold her accountable. Maybe she and tfg can share a cell.
Stacy (Santa Monica, CA)
Russia gets done what it wants done.
Mike (New York)
"Reputational harm?" Oh, that's right, Trump obviously grabbed Her so highest Honor you know where, which by Her own account appears just fine, moral and sweet, eh? American women are spiraling very quickly down, all the way down, down to being objects to grab and utter oblivion if their reproductive freedom is not again accomplished in these mid-terms and 2024.
Rick (Portland)
If you have Willam Barr disagreeing with the decision on Fox, (of all places) and questioning her reasoning and legal foundation—I think that’s a pretty clear indication that there’s a problem—esp. coming from a man who filed the equivalent of high school paper in his decision on Trump’s first impeachment (to think our country voted a person into power who was impeached 2x in 4 years is still incredibly troubling if not impossible to swallow—and we are still dealing with him????)
Trader Dick (Martinez, CA)
Executive privilege? Indeed.
H. Clark (Long Island)
Times readers are urged to watch today's White House ceremony and the unveiling of the portraits of former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama. Her words were eloquent, and only a quasi-veiled dig at the former guy. Her message was searing, and it was lost on no one that she thrust a proverbial dagger in TFG's heart — if he even has one. Touché, Michelle Obama. Beautifully executed.
PATRICK (Pennsylvania)
The fact that Trump preplaced Judge Cannon in his federal district prior to leaving power has all the appearences of not only rigging the court, but admitting guilt by that preplacement and additionally by choosing her to appeal to. He's like a New York Mobster who lives recklessly always trying to game everyone hoping to make a score now and then. He's a gambling empire man. He plays the odds and sometimes the game is rigged. We're all his marks in his con. I perceive the name "Cannon" as a threat of retaliation and evasion of justice. I'm not referring to religious law also known as Cannon. These are vital clues. I'm still alive.
P!ink Plonk (The Hub of the Universe)
@PATRICK "Preplacement in his federal district prior to leaving power". Wow, Thanks
Karen (California)
@PATRICK Trump judge shopped her by filing in Fort Pierce where she is the only sitting judge. She should have denied jurisdiction, sending the motion to Magistrate Judge Reinhart (where it belonged), but that wouldn't have repaid Trump for her appointment.
PATRICK (Pennsylvania)
Logic always explains mens minds. If Republicans have rigged Courts, it is easily understood they rigged elections.
Asher Fried (Croton-on-Hudson NY)
The honored Judge has ruled that possible reputational damage to the former President should have priority over protecting the most sensitive national security secrets….especially when Trump’s reputation always precedes him when he enters the room him just like a skunk’s follows it when it departs.
Graham (Brooklyn)
Not sure how useful it is for the author to highlight a judicial candidate's support from either their law school or professional colleagues who are ideologically opposed to them. For one, it elides the fact that this is a small confederacy of constitutional lawyers and judicial scholars, these professional career advancements are ultimately all about relationships, and support goes both ways. And despite whatever career gains she made as a result, I'll bet that liberal former clerk who poured her heart out in support of Samual Alito during his confirmation hearings feels deep regret for her cringey normalization of an outright fascist.
Morris lee (hawaii)
Wow 12 months as attorney and you can be a judge? Hard to belive . No qualifications necessary.
Elizabeth (Philadelphia)
@Morris she was an attorney for 12 years, not months
EKW (Berkshire County, MA)
Reminds me of the scene in 'The Untouchables' when Elliot Ness explains how he got the favorable ruling against crime boss Al Capone: "I told the judge his name was in the ledger." Unfortunately this judge and many more like her are in the wannabe crime boss' thrall, or pocket, thanks to one man -- Mitch McConnell. He's made it a priority to stuff the federal judiciary with unqualified, political hack, Federalist stooges for years now. Etc voila.
Mister X (Louisville, KY)
Can we just skip ahead to the part where Trump gets away with it and the press pretends like this never happened?
jonathan kitchin (usa)
King Midas strikes again. Poor Judge Cannon didn't see it coming.
Mike (Phoenix)
When a Judge is in the pocket of the prosecuted, its time to remove the Judge.
Nathan (G)
It has become apparent, Trump has laid waste to one of our nation’s greatest institutions. RIP ‘Florida Man’ news stories, you shall be missed.
Emmanuel Rodriguez (New York)
Cannon has no idea what she’s confronting. If the heads of the CIA, FBI, & DNI go to Schumer, Manchin, & Sinema and say that she’s impeding a sensitive national security investigation. They’ll pass a resolution removing the case from her jurisdiction entirely so fast it’ll make her headspin. She’ll be lucky she doesn’t end up in handcuffs by the end of this whole sordid affair.
Karen (California)
@Emmanuel Rodriguez We can hope!
M Andrew (FL)
Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Judges have too much power. They are easily bought. Beyond sad. Our country is in a death spiral.
Bill (California)
This investigation has just begun with alarming evidence. Stopped in its tracks by a judge who was confirmed in the senate after 1/6. Appointed by the guy who had a foreign country’s nuclear capability documents in his mar-a-lago office. Trump is running smoke on this investigation with the help of his appointee. Investigation stopped? This appointee is going to look foolish once the investigation is allowed to move forward and it’s found that this document and others were already photographed by foreign agents while Trump held the document.
KM (Fargo, Nd)
Trump did not put these judges on the court alone. Mitch McConnell ran that show. So thanks Mitch. History will record your hand in this debauchery in the gross seduction of power. Unless, of course, the republicans write the history books.
Mutt Furball (The Great Flyover)
This is why Hillary needed to win. There are federal Trump judges in every state. Just wait until after the November elections…
FR (PA)
Someone will mention this whenever her name comes up — for the rest of her life. The death threats wouldn’t have gone on that long. Nor would Trump’s gratitude. He figures that’s what his judges owe him.
arusso (or)
Well, someone had to have the worst grades in the class and still qualify to graduate.
Al (San Antonio, TX)
Judge Cannon won’t seem so bad after Trump is sitting in a jail cell in Yazoo City, the Lompoc FCI or some other horrific place for criminals.
sarah (oakland)
There is a smoking gun in this case. As such, I just wish the DOJ would charge Trump and throw him in the bug house -- not the white house -- so he could have fight for delays while he awaits trial. I promise you. Trump would end his schemes to run out the clock.
Mark (L.I.)
At best, this judge should be a traffic judge, in a rural small town. Oh yeah, she is definitely NOT an independent thinker.
spirited33 (West Coast)
This is the sort of thing that happens in Banana Republics: put in the judges you want, and the dictator in question will be mightily pleased. Justice Cannon was shoe-horned in the nick-of-time 'Lame Duck' session, as Trump & Co. were about to make their exit to Mar a Lago, an area in her jurisdiction. Just one parting little nugget to set in place. Trump's been quite the Roy Cohn pupil, master of legal tricks galore. But there's something too gratuitous in the judge's ruling in Trump's favor. It only makes me think of money. Lots of money. (Whatever it is, something is going to throw this thing out...not sure what...)
Kara (NJ)
DOJ needs to do whatever they have to do to remove this judge who is a clear and present danger to the national security of our country. She is making up the law as she goes along. Reminds me of having to answer questions in high school about a book assigned in summer reading that clearly wasn’t read!
Red Rat (Sammamish, WA)
Look in a play on an old saying, e.g., "birds of a feather flock together", here we have an incompetent President. Who will do what? Well, for starters, appoint incompetents! 'Nuff said.
Bobby (Berkeley)
She was probably worried about death threats like the other judges have received when Trump followers don’t get what they want.
keeping my head down (Sarasota, FL)
I nominate former President Obama to be the Special Master. He's perfectly qualified for the task.
H. Clark (Long Island)
Cannon is proving instrumental in the dissolution of American democracy, and she probably knows it.
Ephemerol (Northern California)
I truly wish that I would never again hear this persons name in my lifetime and that he simply leaves the United States for his new second home in Russia where he would flourish.
Ron (Texas)
Not fast enough!
Mixilplix (Delray Beach, Fla.)
Poor diet, Covid and an alleged stroke which took him in the cloak of night to Walter Reed will not kill Trump. Irrelevancy will and it's soon coming.
Diane (PNW)
"Judging" from this article, she has solid qualifications to sit on the federal bench. I just wonder if she consumes a lot of Fox News, and whether any of the Florida Republicans are in communication with her, or Justices Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch, etc.
anon (here)
@Diane … 12 years out of law school? And working in a law firm most of the time? Her resume reads like a law student resume. Pretty thin gruel. Lots of “assistant” and “intern.”
Kathy McAdam Hahn (West Orange)
"At her Senate Judiciary Committee nomination hearing in July 2020, Ms. Cannon...recounted how her mother fled Cuba at the age of 7 and said her maternal grandparents 'were forced to leave everything they had.' “They taught me always to be thankful for this country and to cherish our constitutional democracy,” she said. And then she willingly entered the abyss of Trump Quid Pro Quo.
An Observer (Earthling)
@Kathy McAdam Hahn There is an apparent psychological desire shared by many people who come from a minority. That desire is the propensity to over-compensate for their minority in order to prove their loyalty to the point of blindness. Justice Clarence Thomas is one. Aileen Cannon is another. In the process, their actions betray their basic training expected of them: Impartiality. Despite their spins to the contrary.
Don Champagne (Silver Spring MD)
@Kathy McAdam Hahn Judges are assigned to cases; they don't get to pick them.
Frankie J (NM)
A Special Master is certainly justified. Anyone who says otherwise is being a partisan hack. Imagine if a Trump DOJ wanted to prosecute Clinton. Would you trust Trump’s DOJ to be judge, jury, and executioner? I don’t think so. I hate Trump as much as anyone but I’m not willing to toss out due process to get him.
pechenan (Boston)
@Frankie J If Clinton had done what Trump seems to have done (which she did not), I would hope there would be a prosecution. I remember Watergate and the sentiment that "no one, including a president, is above the law." Never thought I would regard Watergate as 'the good old days.'
Dan (Southwestern, Ut)
@Frankie J There is no justification as there is no statute or provision in the Constitution that defines “executive privilege” and there are statutes that makes the theft of government property illegal. The former guy is, as usual, flinging a substance at the wall to see what stick.
S (New Jersey)
@Frankie J Besides the issue of trust, which is a point well taken, what other legal reason would there be to appoint a Special Master?
Ivermarkt (Pasadena)
Wow, when Trump was in there’s nothing we loved better than radical agenda liberal judges willing the throw roadblocks in front of his every step. Now the shoe’s on the other foot and it pinches.
baba (ganoush)
Garland’s mentor, Jamie Gorelick, is now representing Ivanka and Jared Kushner. Gorelick is the current version of Roy Cohn.
Don Champagne (Silver Spring MD)
@baba Cheap shot. Lawyers represent clients, period. Read "Clarence Darrow for the Defense" to see how this great liberal attorney represented anyone needing a lawyer.
johnInKC (Midwest)
Although experts seem to disagree with the judge's ruling, that in no way makes it incorrect nor does it presage some future incorrect ruling. If the Dems are displeased that conservative judges are making conservative rulings, they had their opportunity to address that during confirmation. They also could have addressed the ongoing conservative and religious pipeline shaping of the federal judiciary over decades, instead they chose to participate. No crying about that now. Her age background ethnicity all of that ancillary information isn't relevant to her rulings. Framing the article around doubts that question where she works, her abilities, and willingness to decide fairly is a bit heavy-handed. Give the system time to work.
MikeLT (Wilton Manors, FL)
@johnInKC "Although experts seem to disagree with the judge's ruling, that in no way makes it incorrect..." They don't "seem" to disagree, they DO disagree. And, yes it does mean it was incorrect... experts have cited *specifics* as to why her decision is incorrect.
Slann (CA)
@johnInKC Her "ruling" is incompetent and clearly the product of her being "coached". It damages federal court proceedings. It's illogical.
NancyL (DC)
This is not about ‘disagreeing’ with a ‘conservative’ view. Experts all agree she’s wrong and hers is not a conservative view as to how top secret documents should be handled. If someone stole your car (for which you had proof of ownership) and it was recovered—wou;d like to wait for a ‘special master’ to decide if it was yours?
Alberto Abrizzi (Bay Area)
“…the person who put her on the bench: former President Donald J. Trump.” Well, the person who put Garland in the AG was current President Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. Wow! My research for this comment educated me about Biden’s middle name. Trump must not know about that yet or he’d be using it to mock the President.
Laurie (Quebec)
@Alberto Abrizzi It was his mother’s maiden name. That’s a common practice for people of that generation which I think is cool (to keep the mother’s name around). As for Biden appointing Garland as the AG, that’s what each new administration does. Trump appointed William Barr as the AG which was a disaster since instead of working for the interests of your country he acted on behalf of Trump only (i.e. pretending there was nothing to see in the Mueller Report, which was a ridiculous lie). Biden has been keeping a distance from Garland and letting him do his work. By the way, I don’t want to know all this stuff as a Canadian but Trump is so blatantly criminal that the rest of the world can’t help but watch your country unfold, like watching a train wreck. Fight back!
Kenneth (Baltimore)
So a federal judge issues an order that requires an independent review of which documents swept up pursuant to an overly broad warrant should or should not be in possession of the DOJ which leaks like sieve and the NYT finds “legal experts” whose expert opinions support a narrative of a partisan judge issuing an “off the rails” opinion? Wow. Color me surprised.
BC (New York)
@Kenneth William Barr, Trump’s Attorney General, publicly announced his belief that the special master decision is wrong, and so have many other legal experts in news publications and in television interviews. NYT didn’t have to look very far.
NYChap (Chappaqua)
Attacking the judge who granted permission for a DOJ/FBI target to be treated fairly and free from political biased is not appropriate. The DOJ/FBI has demonstrated by their past actions they are biased against Donald Trump and that is why a Special master Team is needed to review the document's taken from the Trump raid must be independently reviewed. The judge is not doing the reviewing, but an independent team is.
Justice (Detroit)
@NYChap The DOJ/FBI and Trump are currently adversaries in this criminal investigation. Of course they are “biased” against each other. It’s amazing to me the extent to which right wingers succeed in ignoring any possible inconvenient fact by constantly misusing that word.
B (Vermont)
@NYChap You mean the FBI that issued an unprecedented statement about investigating candidate Hilary Clinton just weeks before the election and the DOJ which under Bill Barr issued a public statement saying the Mueller report cleared Trump of any wrongdoing before the actual report was made available? Where does poor Trump’s victimhood ever end?
Ann (Baltimore)
@NYChap Is it bias against Trump or is it recognition of the facts? Hard to conjure up someone more dishonest than Trump has shown himself to be, over and over again.
Mitchel Osman (Michigan)
So who’s her father? Where did the destitute mother who fled Cuba “leaving everything behind” get tuition for a ritzy private high school? Are they “Batista Cubans”? Her ruling tethers the justice department. Does the judiciary rule the DOJ? She learned this at UM law school? My feeling is she grew up with fascist philosophies and naturally applied them in this case. No real regard for law, democracy or the US system of government. That’s her nature, regardless of education. And that’s her ruling.
Chris G (Nyc)
An independent special master would slow things down a bit but it would also add some extra credibility. I’m not sure that’s a bad thing in this situation.
Michael Miller (Minneapolis)
@Chris G I doubt it. Does such a person exist who would be acceptable to the DOJ, and (haha) Trump? 45 will naturally say the special master exhibited some kind of superhuman greatness if they rule in his favor. If not, fire, brimstone and Proud Boys will rain down in torrents.
Walter C. Derrick (West Columbia, SC)
@Chris G Naw. The special master would become another object of Trump's hatred, and she/he would be threatened and pilloried by the MAGA crowd, unless Trump were given a pass and received complete exoneration, "with the apologies of the court."
Smilodon7 (Gilead, The State Formerly Known As Missouri)
It is if it slows things down long enough for Republicans to take over because they will just drop it.
Sy (West Coast)
This guy will find anyway possible to put himself in the headlines and dominate the news cycle even if it means jeopardizing the safety and security of this great nation. I am concerned for the future of America when individuals like this are sometimes perceived as roll models of our society. This is not normal behavior, it’s a disservice to the fabric of our democracy and the rule of law.
RLG (Ohio)
My concern is that Judge Cannon's decision violates the separation of powers. The president heads the executive branch and serves as commander-in-chief of our armed forces. He is the ultimate decision maker concerning national defense. The Supreme Court has been every deferential to the commander-in-chief on matters concerning military and intelligence matters. But Judge Cannon has enjoined the executive branch from carrying out its constitutional duty to protect our nation by investigating matters uncovered by a lawful search of FPOTUS's club in Palm Beach. I would argue she has exceeded her powers under the Constitution. Her rationale for this decision fails to acknowledge that while the Trump v. Thompson case did recognize that a former president may have some executive privilege to protect his papers from disclosure outside the executive branch, that privilege may not be used as a shield for wrongdoing.
PATRICK (Pennsylvania)
Everyone is making a flawed judgement, for years now. It appears Trump became President to evade Justice as almost immediately upon entering into office, he used the public discourse to try to give life to the notion of him giving himself a Presidential pardon. What other reason would he have brought up the subject for other than he had committed a serious crime? Trump has always evaded justice, for years, and even now, possibly having been protected by a new Federal Judge he preplaced in his own federal district. As the Presidential oath stipulates, he swore he was not entering into office for the purposes of evasion. Where has everyone been on this?
anselm (ALEXANDRIA VA)
This only contributes to the lack of trust that people of this country have in the entire justice system. Judge Cannon just proved the rule that the rich and famous and politically connected are judged differently than the rest of us.
kagni (Urbana)
What if Justice says no ? What if they say the secret quality of the documents is such that they cannot be entrusted anyone outside?
PATRICK (Pennsylvania)
Do not ignore this clue; A few days ago, Trump indicated the Republicans were going to "bring the fight to Pennsylvania" Today as I ventured around town, there was a strong presence of Mafia, around 10:30 am.
PaulB67 (South Of North Carolina)
Too little attention has been paid to Judge Cannon’s membership in The Federalist Society. The FS is a conservative ideological grooming program for up and coming attorneys who could easily gain appointment to the federal bench. These attorneys and judges are ranked on their potential, not solely on their legal chops but also and more importantly, their adherence to basic “conservative” principles. Among these values, FS judges favor property over individual rights oppose abortion, and discount a governmental role in the environment and battling climate change. Most relevant to her selection to be Special Master is the Society’s strong belief that the Constitution’s separation of powers causes political gridlock and makes the United States weak in global relations. Solution? A strong executive branch senior to Congress and the Judiciary. The President, in the eyes of the FS, is all powerful, immune from prosecution, and able to bypass or ignore the staid and outdated procedures of the Office. Seriously. In case you haven’t noticed, five of the six Supreme Court justices are FS graduates. Their decisions so far show a distinct bias toward the Executive Branch. It logically follows that Judge Cannon would tend to support Trump in the current controversy over national security files. Owing her lifetime position to Trump may not have influenced her decision, but it is reasonable to think it played a strong part.
Kvanderling (San Rafael, CA)
It may not be so bad. So Trump's team gets to look through what he knows he took illegally, and see if he needs to 'save' anything. It won't negate the case against him. It's pretty laughable that he asked for this so late and so much after him being able to keep anything from being considered. Scary to think that he would declassify anything just to keep himself out of trouble.
Pedro (Flagstaff, AZ)
This ruling demonstrates the need for judges to recuse themselves in cases where there is a clear conflict of interest, such as where a litigant is the person who appointed her to the bench. Since this judge didn't have the decency to recuse herself voluntarily, recusal should be made compulsory in future cases.
M Ford (USA)
This victory for Trump has already caused a flood of far left conspiracy theories on the internet. Judge Cannon enjoys a solid reputation. Chaos addicts and perpetually disadvantaged Americans are claiming foul while they fan the drama. People suffering from Trump preoccupation syndrome and Trump looping disorder are concerned that the document review will cause a delay in Trump headlining.
Theresa (USA)
Does a CEO of a company, where he or she was then terminated, have access to the company files after they leave or are all their accounts disabled immediately as they head out the door with their personal belongings in a box and after that box was checked? Would that former CEO have any rights to tell the company that they have no right to look at company materials because the former CEO was once in possession of those materials? And would the former CEO sue the company demanding rights to company property even though there is a new CEO in that position and the former CEO is no longer employed by the company? Yeah, I'm thinking no is the answer to all questions. That whole Trump situation is a twilight zone series.
Koala (Australia)
He DOES look resplendent, doesn't he? I think he does. I mean, when William Barr turned up to the J6 depositions in his brand new snow white tutu leotard, I knew the inner transformation had come. Then when he took a deep breath, cleared the chairs, and performed without fear and concern for his own safety that splendid Brisé, launching into a Cabriolé that was most unexpected, his new self had arrived. Naturally, we were all given over to him by then, but he swept into a Ciseaux for our pure enchantment, his purity the cause, then swished stage left to pick up his partner Pat, lovely indeed in a light pink satin leotard himself, and they delighted us with their Pas de deux for their performance finale. Now, this week, wouldn't you know. These luscious curls of snow white lacing added to the bodice, and the touch of soft pink around the tummy in a charming array of unstated innocence. A most convincing pleasure. Five stars.
cfbarry486 (Golden Valley, MN)
Judge Cannon has been “hammered” on the left and the right by her decision to have documents reviewed for executive privilege. Her writing skills have also been questioned. If she wanted to rise in the judicial branch, she should have issued an opinion that was more traditional and not so over the top.
angel98 (nyc)
If it has come to the point that no one trusts the others appointees, and less than ideal people (for the well-being of the nation) are getting powerful jobs maybe the problem is that the Office of the President (and the Senate) has way too much power for democratic ideals to be aspired to, and way too much opportunity for graft and dirty deals. Trump proved that in spades. Gone are the days when Congress worked across the aisle for the good of the nation. Even Nixon seems the soul of integrity compared to what has been happening since 2016. Same goes for pardons, crazy that a president is allowed to decide who gets a pardon, and crazy that it is not illegal for presidents to offer pardons in exchange for criminal favors - that's more akin to an absolute monarchy or a dictatorship. And not even vetted either. How about term limits for all, including judges and SCOTUS. Less chance of corruption and abusive power plays and manipulating society. So much work to do to change the abuses and corruption normalized by TRumplicans into 'just doing politics'. Sure there has always been corruption and abuse but it was never normalized to the extent that so many see it as a badge of honor, an identity to be to be proud of and fight for.
TPH (Colorado)
Twelve years as a federal prosecutor? Are you kidding? This judge spent her career handling the prosecution of immigration offenses, drug offenses, property offenses and the occasional crimes that cross state borders. Furthermore, the vast majority of cases litigated by federal prosecutors settle with a plea deal. Very few trials, and usually not much litigation either. just a lot of investigation followed by negotiation. Its a lot like being a personal injury attorney. Now this high-profile case involving the theft of top secret documents - something she knows nothing about. She is in so far over her head that she is drowning. And we can all imagine who is throwing her a line. Her pro-Trump friends at the Federalist Society. The problem for Trump is that a special master has to have experience in this field. That is the whole point. And it should be a retired judge with much more experience. I think the additional time is a hassle for the prosecutor, but that Trump was way better off with just this new and clueless judge. Any special master that wants to preserve his career is going to call a spade a spade, and designate all of these documents as the government property that they are. And that only makes things much worse for DT.
Cordelia (New York City)
@TPH She was an APPELLATE assistant U.S. attorney. I don't think she tried a single case as a prosecutor.
TPH (Colorado)
@Cordelia You're correct, As a result, the judge handling this matter had a prior career drafting appellate briefs and oral arguments. No trial court litigation. No discovery, dispositive motions, trial briefs or trials. And yet that is who we now find handling this case. I sure hope that she finds a special master that has experience commensurate to the task. She needs one.
Zalman Sandon (USA)
For someone who was "taught.. to cherish our constitutional democracy" Judge Cannon sure seems to bring a love of the caudillo to her work. Maybe there's something to the Latin spirit that enables outsize reverence to and respect for the presumptive political strongman. Concern for his reputational harm and rights. Rights which may only exist as a reflection of her instinct to please and protect her benefactor. American law hasn't faced squarely the full function of the presidency; it's never had to explore that particular cave. Time have changed, and we might as well start the process of restraining all present and future dictator wannabes. They're not going to go away if we don't look at them.
VJ (Allentown)
“The general feeling that I’ve gotten from her is, ‘I don’t buy everything the government has to tell me,’” Mr. Rodriguez said. “ Not buying everything that the government ( or any other party) tells you is one thing but coming up with a truly bizarre ruling that has every legal scholar and reputed lawyer reacting with jaw dropping amazement is another. Just curious here but buy everything that Trump’s lawyer have pled ( and some stuff that they apparently did not plead) and not buy what the government has said in a case that could truly damage the US intelligence committee?
Maxb (California)
Under trump the bruises that the republican have put on our democracy now show very "black and blue." This ruling shows how the legal profession can find a reason for any argument they wish to pursue. As in torture is acceptable under our defined right reasons. These ruling, the republicans way of doing business, shows there is no integrity for law only the want to gain power and wealth at all cost, even up until the end of our planet. trump is the republican party all along with the bandage off.
Rick (pittsburgh, pa)
Eventually, she'll realize that she's being used, and she'll recoil. But it will be too late to recover her dignity and her reputation. And ultimately, it will be her children and her grandchildren who will bear the stain of her actions.
pjtawney (Colton, OR)
Does Trump have a high level security clearance any more. he only had one because he was President. I don't believe he has a clearance since he left office. If that is the case he hasn't any right to have the documents. it doesn't actually matter how many he has. it's illegal. He should be prosecuted based on just those alone.
PATRICK (Pennsylvania)
Here's a clue for you. The colonial Tories were loyal to King George before, during, and after our nation's 1776 Revolution. They eventually faded through rejection to reorganize as the Whig party which once again, disolved and from them became the Republican party just a few years before their hysterics over slavery, without arguing the merits, sparked our nation's Uncivil war. The Republican party is a loyalist party just as Trump implied and once again, that party of malcontents and reactionaries is making trouble. The 1994 declaration of "The Republican Revolution" is real. Either the leaders are prosecuted, or time will allow a further buildup of discontent and hysteria once again. Where is justice? Is our Judge Garland locked in perpetual judging? I know the predicament. It appears hopeless, but remember that God Loves Justice so don't shy from it as anarchy is being tolerated. Out of chaos comes order. Lets get right to the order and avoid the chaos. Psychological operations is starting trouble. It's right there in your own homes on your own TV.
M Harvey (FL)
Friday is 60 days before the next election. Look for the DOJ not only to appeal the court's rulling for the Special Master, but also to charge Mr. Trump with one felony for removing and keeping documents related to Nuclear secrets. The reason they got the search warrant to begin with.
hochelaga (north)
The woman was chosen by Trump : already a stain on anyone's reputation. She should have recused herself in order to avoid conflict of interest. She's not a straight arrow and will always be remembered for this dubious decision.
Esam (Long Island, NY)
It's a sad day for our country. We have arrived at the place where we jump to see bias in the judiciary based on the political party to which the appointing President belongs. So respect for the judiciary has mightily eroded. Trust in fairness of judges ruling based on the law is pretty much gone. Justice has been unblinded. It seems that not every one is treated equally under the Law. When that happens, some can be "above the Law". It does seem strange to me that if someone takes things that don't belong to them and refuses to return the loot when requested by the rightful owner that someone has committed a crime. The nature of the items taken may worsen the crime. For the criminal to then make any demands on how the rightful owner examines the evidence is ludicrous. For Loose Judge Cannon to grant the criminal's request based on Trump's assertion of executive and/or lawyer-client privilege is laughable. Also the court is protecting the former President from reputational damage. Really, how much lower can his reputation go? The FBI should be integrating Trump now!
PATRICK (Pennsylvania)
There is logic to call on. If Republicans would rig the courts, they would rig elections as well.
acm (baltimore)
She announced her decision before the case was officially presented to her.
LaPine (Pacific Northwest)
This "decision" like the SCOTUS Hobbs decision, stinks of a pre-ordained conclusion. Notice I didn't refer to it as a "finding" as the truth remains lost in this matter. I suspect the court of appeals will get it right. But the delay will have accomplished it's purpose. Aileen Cannon, what goes around comes around. Poorest decision ever, on any matter, indicating a corrupt intent.
H. Clark (Long Island)
The judge’s understanding of the law seems pretty rudimentary. Her understanding of the fact that she’d better do what is best for Trump seems irrefutable. She’s on the take, and we’re on the short end of the stick. The angst just never ends.
polymath (British Columbia)
"her short judicial career" I am desperately hoping that it remains short.
Cordelia (New York City)
In U.S. v. Nixon, a unanimous Supreme Court rejected Nixon's claim that his infamous Oval Office tapes, which had been subpoenaed in a criminal matter, were protected by executive privilege. Chief Justice Warren Burger said that Nixon, then a sitting president, had no absolute, unqualified privilege to withhold information. “We conclude that when the ground for asserting privilege as to subpoenaed materials sought for use in a criminal trial is based only on the generalized interest in confidentiality, it cannot prevail over the fundamental demands of due process of law in the fair administration of criminal justice. The generalized assertion of privilege must yield to the demonstrated, specific need for evidence in a pending criminal trial,” Burger said. Substitute the term "grand jury," which is a body that determines whether there's sufficient proof for issuance of a criminal indictment, for the term "criminal trial," and you have the holding Aileen M. Cannon should have made.
PacificNWer (Washington)
Since we have only one president at a time and for sure a sitting president has executive privilege, why can't President Biden resolve the issue by asserting his legitimate executive privilege over the documents and turn them over to the DOJ?
Opus (Cape Cod)
A Nice and Pleasant person, who meets the minimum requirements needed to be a jurist, oh and she a member of the Federalist Society. "WOW"! I guess we have a new standard or old if you use Tammany Hall as the litmus test. If you nominate me to the bench, I guess I owe you my soul reasoning. At least she used footnotes to annotate her reasoning even if it in some cases contradicted her logic in the text, WOW!
RMiller (San Diego, CA)
Sadly, I fear that this privileged Trump judge's hidden end game is to create sufficient ambiguity in her legal guidelines as to what the Department of Justice and FBI can and cannot do going forward in terms of follow-up criminal investigations in order to allow her to subsequently dismiss any criminal case against Trump on the legal grounds that these subsequent investigations had violated her directives and his constitutional protections - a total mockery that all are equal under U.S. law. Accordingly, to thwart this potential nefarious plan, I believe that the only realistic option that the Department of Justice has is that it must immediately appeal to a higher court and have her rulings and oversight completely lifted.
A.L.P. (Midwest)
It's evident that Judge Cannon is grateful to Mr. Trump and, therefore, she's clearly helping him and his lawyers. What I wish she had learned from her mom: how to identify a dictator. Dictators (real or want-to-be's) come in many forms--including as controllers of the judiciary and beyond.
GG (California)
Judge Cannon’s unjustifiable order vividly illustrates the need for Congress to make a serious effort to rectify the damage to the independence and credibility of the Federal judiciary inflicted upon it by 4 years of Federalist Society judicial appointments rubber stamped by TFG and McConnell. Any serious effort to reform the judiciary must begin with a robust ethics framework that covers situations such as this where a judge is making a significant decision that impacts the legal position of the person who appointed her to the bench. The framework also should cover situations where the interests of family members could create a conflict (or even the appearance of a conflict) for member of the judiciary. The framework also needs to apply to all Federal judges (including members of the Supreme Court), be mandatory in nature and have an effective oversight mechanism. It is important to note that the remedy for most ethical issues involving judges is recusal - the conflicted jurist simply does not participate in cases that involve a conflict of interest. The rights of the parties to proceedings are not diminished in any way by virtue of requiring judicial recusals, but the public’s faith in the impartiality of the judiciary will be dramatically enhanced.
John (Grand Cocteau LA)
She had one shot at the Supreme Court and she took it.
R (Not Florida, Not Across The Pond)
TFG’s judicial nominees are like sleeper cells, activated to protect the ant-democratic oligarch when needed.
Diogenespdx (Portland OR)
So when does Donald drop the one about how he pardoned himself at 11:59 a.m. , 1/20/21 I’m sure Judge Cannon will rule it reasonable, why wouldn’t she ? Why does that sound helsinkingly familiar ?
Bemmer (Roanoke, Va)
The second paragraph states she was "assigned" the case. Would like to know more about that.
SG1 (NJ)
@Bemmer - It is a supposed random assignment. Usually it’s done by computers, though in the context of this case, who knows.
Arun PK (Germany)
@Bemmer - assigned via a lottery system
Larry M (Minnesota)
@SG1 She was randomly selected from a pool of one.
watchfulbaker (Hollywood)
Does she adhere to the same set of distorted beliefs as Ginni Thomas? Her religious affiliations ought to be scrutinized.
Richard (Reisterstown, Maryland)
@watchfulbaker no. everyone: keep your religion private. Please.
Bill (California)
I wonder if the inner circle snitch was just something to make the buffoon crazy, or more crazier. Good one AG Garland it worked. I do think in the blacked out pages upon pages there will be someone who has proof of a camera a spy and a buffoon in a mar-a-lago office. But wait….. a flunky stopped the investigation.
GS (New México)
trump got what he paid for. Swamp indeed!
Sterno (Va)
In her jejune opinion she “reasoned” that the special master is necessary to protect the reputation of twice-impeached Donald Trump. In doing so she destroyed her own reputation in this intellectually dishonest, unlawful, and biased opinion.
Ron (Texas)
Exactly!
Richard (Reisterstown, Maryland)
@Sterno Well-stated.
TomCat (Pittsburgh)
The piece on the judge is pretty fluff. Sounds like she might be a nice lady who doesn't really understand federal statutes regarding serious national secrets and there handling.
Marc A. (Washington)
@TomCat I think the same thing. She could have been a good judge (maybe still can be). Although, now she is listening to those speaking directly into her ear about what is proper and possibly acceptable in a matter like this. That is the only explanation for her decision and statement.
B L Zeebub (Hells Kitchen)
When someone has such a powerful position, one should come up with more than fluff. But the Judges opinion was just that, not quoting applicable precedents and certainly not adhering to legal standards.
mark talbott (Indiana)
she could have been a good judge? she was completely unfit for the position as evidenced by the bar association. but you're willing to give her a pass? is she a 16-year-old female or is she an adult educated judge who should be able to make her own decisions. just disgusting and furthering the end of our democracy. hope you're happy
Joe (California)
Hey, why settle for District Court when you could set yourself up to become a Fox News commentator and make real money?
Sears, Roebuck & Company — The HUMINT (Shipping, Receiving, and Inventory Control)
What would Jeff Sessions do? Better yet: what would Jeff Sessions not do…?
Diotema1 (Southwest)
Graduated from Duke, apparently couldn't even get into Duke Law... studious and ideological and willing to ignore law. She knows who's Daddy.
Souldoggie (NYC)
Until now, Judge Cannon's most politically charged case involved a man who made violent threats against two prominent Democrats -- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Prosecutors asked for a 3 1/2 years sentence; Cannon gave him 18 months.
RB (TX)
There was a time some years back that Melania wore her "I really don't care" jacket when visiting some flood victims in Houston. Now might be a good time to break out a whole set of new "I really don't care " jackets for Mr Trump and all his lawyers who are taking this entire sordid event simply as a no big deal business as usual event. While the Trump side of the equation may not care I can assure you that the entire intelligence community both here and abroad are in a state of shock. And our sworn enemies are probably toasting Donald Trump's security insanity and back slapping one another over their good fortune. How much longer are we going to let this loose cannon ex-President continue to run rampant over our laws and his "…to protect and defend….." totally ignored oath of office ? Enough of Trump's shennigans is enough…… If "no one is above the law" -- Prove it !!
AnneW (Seattle)
Upon finishing this glowing report ofJudge Cannon’s character and upbringing, I only have one question: Does she make her own clothes?
tony matlak (cleveland, oh)
I think being a member of the Federalist Society ought to automatically disqualify you for membership in the federal judiciary.
manfred marcus (Bolivia)
How do you spell corruption personalized? 'Aileen M Cannon' of course. And conflict of interest in plain view? Judge Cannon again! And obstruction of justice? Pseudo-judge Cannon again! How shameless can it get? You be the judge!
Robin (NJ)
@manfred marcus yes, she should have cited conflict of interest and not agreed to take the case. But Republicans don't do honorable things like that.
Sean (Wolfeboro)
She might have lived a quiet and simple life if not for Trump...the dude truly ruins everything.
Linnea Mielcarek (Los Angeles)
this decision by this completely biased and incompetent judge is a disgrace to the judicial department.
Olaf (Minneapolis)
She purposely ignored the facts and the law. Whatever positive reputation she had, it is now gone. She will never live this misguided, idiotic, and seemingly corrupt decision down. She should resign and apologize.
Jamie S. (New York, NY)
I read your article and all the I concluded from it is that Judge Cannon is a hack. "She helped the defedants' lawyers clarify their arguments...." Are you serious? Would that every defendant love to enjoy such assistance from the Bench?
MrC (Nc)
She was not the judge in this case. She was the rubber stamp. A GOP hack with no ethics.
Alan Wahs (Atlanta)
This judge is not impartial. She should have recused herself. This ruling is a farce and a fraud. This is a terrible ruling for all of us, even Republicans.
MauiYankee (Maui,HI)
Judge Cannon continued: I am just one of many Affirmative Christian Nationalist Action judges. I am grateful. President Trump is a benefactor. I am grateful. I was a lame duck appointment I am grateful. So in return I therefore hold the following................
Sari (USA)
After the Special Master reviews the stolen, top secret sensitive documents, then what. Is that crooked, lying, manipulative ex-president going to come up with something else just to delay his going to prison where he has belonged for quite a while. Why is so much time and money being wasted on someone who clearly isn't worth it. Our country, our Constitution and above all the laws of the land come first and trump comes last.
Ral Carbo (Philadelphia)
Judge Cannon's deal with the Devil won't end well, she's become a footnote in Trump's disgrace.
Sherry M (Maryland)
@Ral Carbo Your bus is here, Judge.
CeCe (Las Vegas)
Membership in the Federalist Society should disqualify you from being a judge.
Cecilia (Mansfield Texas)
At the very least, this case is easily considered to be espionage. Indict and get it over with!!!
Tguy (two solitudes, Quebec)
There were green alligators and long-necked geese Some humpty-back camels and some chimpanzees Some cats and rats and elephants, but sure as you're born The loveliest of all was the unicorn
Sears, Roebuck & Company — The HUMINT (Shipping, Receiving, and Inventory Control)
“Promises made. Promises kept!”
Buffalo Girl (Buffalo, NY)
The incompetent Judge Cannon sold her soul for Trump and the GOP, pure and simple. I hope it was worth it. Talk about a Faustian bargain - the devil always comes to collect. Perhaps Trump has something on her or her husband. Perhaps she's just a zealot...who knows? Again, I hope it was worth it. Her decision makes a mockery of the rule of law.
morGan (NYC)
@Buffalo Girl She is looking forward to being invited to the new yr eve gala 2 mar-a lago.
Bob Guthrie (Australia)
@Buffalo Girl If DJT has nothing on her or her spouse, he can always make it up... my guess is it might have something to do with pizzas.
S.L. (Briarcliff Manor, NY)
The special master has to be someone with very high security clearance. This would be an ex-president who still has the right to ask for briefings. Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, or George W could do the job apart or together. Even a Republican like George Bush can see that his party is racing toward fascism and would be a fair master.
SG1 (NJ)
If I was called to jury duty and I failed to disclose during voir dire that the accused was the person who gave me what is probably the biggest job opportunity of my life, I could be charged with contempt, jail or fined. So how is it possible that a judge who got her biggest chance so far from the person under investigation is not subject to the same rules of impartiality which would have required her to recuse from the case? Who is responsible for the breach in the impartiality of the legal system? Forget who the people are in this case, this is a fundamental breakdown in the confidence we place on the judicial and someone should do something about that.
Smilodon7 (Gilead, The State Formerly Known As Missouri)
Yeah, this is completely unethical.
David (Portland, OR)
Judge Aileen M. Cannon was forced to decide whether she wanted to protect Trump’s reputation or the credibility of the federal judiciary. After due consideration, she concluded that the federal judiciary had not done as much as Trump to advance her career.
An Observer (Earthling)
@David You got it accurately and beautifully.
J Johnson (SE PA)
This is the pay-off for all the effort McConnell put into filling every judicial vacancy with right-wing Federalist Society hacks, even after Trump lost the election. Taking the exact opposite actions to his claim back in 2016 about waiting for "the people" to make their decision. Meanwhile Trump is complaining that the other judges he appointed didn't rule in his favor on the 2020 election. Like this one, they owe him, right? If he gets back in power in 2024 with the help of this ruling and who knows what else that might bend things his way, we can be sure he'll find ways to get his revenge on those other judges who ruled against him, including the one who approved the search warrant. All the more reason for us in 2022 to keep McConnell and his gang out of power by voting to save our constitutional democracy. We may not get a second chance.
LDH (Prague)
As in the iconic scene in the Godfather, Don Corlione says: " Some day, and that day may never come, I'll call upon you to do a service for me.
Another Joe (Maine)
Cannon’s ruling might be defensible if she hadn't said that Trump is indeed not subject to normal legal standards: "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 league of its own"? So much for the tired notion that all Americans are equal under the law. Perhaps worse is that she strongly implies that, as Trump often whines, he has been treated unfairly and even dishonestly, making her ". . . mindful of the need to ensure at least the appearance of fairness and integrity under the extraordinary circumstances presented. . ." Thus absolving herself from ever being in the uncomfortable position of having to follow her own precedent in a similar case involving, say, the search of the home of a prominent Democratic politician.
Robert (Seattle)
The legitimate criticism of Judge Cannon's ruling is virtually universal. Lordy. Even Laurence Tribe and Bill Barr disagree. Even a group of former Republican Justice Department officials disagrees. Legally fallacious, baseless. Dangerous. The appearance of impropriety is through the roof. And the more we learn the more dangerous this all becomes. The judge tells us the former fella is in a special category of one for which the rule of law does not apply. Who knows? she says. The former fella might actually still have power over the democratically elected Joe Biden. This paper and the Post have said that this is her first actual ruling. She met only the minimal ABA qualification threshold, and had very little experience. She was confirmed only after what's-his-name lost the election.
Jeff (California)
@Robert Well, you have to admire the fact that she remained bought and paid for despite the fact that Trump no longer has any power over her decisions.
Jake (North Dakota)
@Robert Not sure why you are surprised by Laurence Tribe. Of Bill Barr though, I am quite surprised that he took such a firm stance against the ruling. I know there was a falling-out during the last days of the term and that has continued since being in office, but it still surprises me.
pjtawney (Colton, OR)
I think she forgot Trump isn't the only former President. She just gave Obama and Clinton special privileges too. Go guts ask Buden for a few documents and see if she feels the same.
Aristotle (SOCAL)
Anyone surprised by this ruling hasn't been paying attention to the Republican strategy played out by Mitch McConnell. As majority leader he refused to act on hundreds of Obama nominees for federal judgeships, only to rush to have the positions filled by Trump nominees. Trump nominees were noted for their youth, to fill lifetime position, and many were deemed unqualified by stalwart organizations w/n the legal community. Their notable endorsement was from the Federalist Society, their main qualification: fealty to the libertarian cause.
Sitges (san diego)
An ethical judge would have: 1) recused herself given that she was a Trump appointee; 2) not announced that she was inclined to grant Trump's request long before she heard any of the evidence; 3) would have been less concerned about "harm" to Mr. Trump's reputation (seriously? as though Trump hasn't singlehandedly soiled his reputation for the past 50 years), and been more concerned about "harm" to OUR national security given the trove of top secret and classified documents Trump stole from the gov't, refused to return 15 boxes of them for over 18 months and lied about the remaining 13,000 pages that sloppily stored mixed with personal mementos and underwear until the warrant allowed the DOJ to search his home and retrieve them. One thing is for sure, regardless of the success or failure of an appeal by the DOJ, Jude Eileen Merceds Cannon has surely harmed her own reputation as a jurist
John Bergstrom (Boston)
@Sitges I'd totally go along with all of this except for point one. In principle, at least, it shouldn't matter who appointed her, and to recuse herself on that ground would give support the vision of a system of patronage and personal loyalty, rather than law and principle. On the other hand, if she recused herself on the grounds that she couldn't make an unbiased decision, due specifically to her personal loyalty to Trump, that might be valid. Not just because he appointed her, but because her devotion outweighed her dedication to law and principle. BTW, speaking of principle, isn't it strange to suddenly see Barr sounding like he has some? What on earth was he doing all those years supporting Trump, in the sleaziest of ways? (i e, the Mueller report...)
Gale force winds (Boston, MA)
If our democracy crumbles, her reputation will soar among these insurrectionists from the new GOP.
TroutMaskReplica (WIsconsin)
@Sitges 100% correct!
Robin Olsen (New Zealand)
How much can this man get away with. Bad look America (from the outside). It appears that your Democracy and sense of fair play and reasoning is diminishing by the year. Personally, I fear for the stability of your great nation.
Smilodon7 (Gilead, The State Formerly Known As Missouri)
So do we. You think it looks bad from the outside, it stinks to high heaven from inside.
Robin (NJ)
@Robin Olsen - thank you, we do too - very much so.
Jim Currie (Ohio)
@Robin Olsen Sadly - very sadly - so do I.
Bill (Maine)
Isn’t it a conflict of interest to rule on matters directly affecting the person who appointed you?? Aren’t there other judges who could have heard the case?? Ignoring the conflict of interest doesn’t help build confidence in the courts at a time when the overturning of Roe eroded lots of confidence!
lalamusicgirl (Savannah)
Nothing is ever going to happen to Donald trump. Donald Trump and his entire family, are tied in with the ruling elite. Otherwise, he would have been shot dead a long time ago. He's fully protected by congress, the senate, the old, vintage, elite wealthy who run the show in this country... and use him for the puppet he is in carrying out whatever it is they want. His family was tied in a long time ago if you know anything about the Trump family in New york, mob built Lefrack city, and his father and grandfather's underhanded dealings with the New York City council at the time. Even if he had a fatal accident tomorrow, the ruling class would simply find somebody else to take care of business.
Jim Currie (Ohio)
@lalamusicgirl Can't agree. You go in to many inconsistent and contradictory directions here. I can agree that thee is certainly a monied class that does better as a rule - largely because it is moneyed and hangs around with other monied folk, but otherwise I can't agree.
Robert (Seattle)
@lalamusicgirl This comment is cynical and, like all cynicism, untrue. It isn't Congress that protected him. It's Congressional Republicans. It isn't the elite who used him. It is the Republican plutocrats and oligarchs. Even the Republican elite wanted anybody but him until he won the 2016 primary. Cynicism like this helps nobody but what's-his-name. Thanks for not helping. The principal wrongdoings of his family (setting aside his own) included (a) stealing $27 million 1970s dollars from government programs for housing the poor and the working class; (b) keeping non-white folks out of their apartment buildings (for which they were found guilty); and (c) finding ways to illegally give hundreds of millions to what's-his-name.
hochelaga (north)
@lalamusicgirl The old, vintage ,élite wealthy despise Trump for his crassness . Conspicuous consumers, that's the Trumps. Just look at him: you can spot the vulgarity a mile off ! He thinks that bling makes him worthy .The opposite is true.
David Parsons (San Francisco)
Raises questions? The questions raised are not legal questions, as this is a sham ruling without a legal basis, furthering an insurgency and undermining national security from a hand-picked federal judge. The questions concern the motivation for a Russian indebted candidate to assume office with direct aid from Russia who stoked a violent insurrection, the Secret Service stopped Trump from ushering in more armed domestic terrorists into the US Capitol to stop the transfer of power, and Putin's continued attack upon NATO, the US, EU and the Ukraine. Questions include: why did Trump steal highly sensitive intelligence? who aided and abetted this theft? which human sources were compromised or killed as a result of Trump's deceit? why did Trump's lawyer lie about whether he retained more classified information? where are the missing classified documents? why is Judge Aileen M. Cannon aiding and abetting Trump's seditious conspiracy? As long as Trump is walking free, he and Putin still think this insurgency will work... so this must be disabused clearly.
Jim Currie (Ohio)
@David Parsons I don't know that I can agree, but as long as the rule of law does not seem to apply to Mr. Trump there is more than enough fodder for this thinking.
PATRICK (Pennsylvania)
Let's consider the question of whether the 2016 Trump election was rigged. As soon as he was placed in power, he and Congress set forth a feverish packing of the Federal Courts with Conservative Judges. Now ask yourselves; if Republicans would rig the Courts, would they have rigged elections? It now appears Judge Cannon has set up further courts actions to empoer Trump. Is the election next?
Son Of Liberty (nyc)
Democrats fail to see, but Republicans are fully aware, that all totalitarian regimes have an effective court to keep the public pacified and to give the appearance of fairness, whereas in fact the judiciary exists to control the general public. Justice Aileen M. Cannon recognizes that her mission is to defend Donald Trump at the expense of national security, and she is trying her best to do so while maintaining the appearance of impartiality.
Mookie (Space Needle’s City)
DOJ is still exploring their dimming options. Who would’ve thought Trump’s best defense would be a lone obscure federalist society judge in the southern district? Next up, the Appellate Court is predominantly Trump appointees and we know how SCOTUS would rule.
Jack Shultz (Canada)
From her immediate disposition to grant Trump his request, which she announced publicly at the very outset, it is not difficult to see who her “special master” was, and it’s neither the spirit or the letter of the law.
Robert O (St. Louis)
Just on substance this order screams incompetence. Then there is the glaring pro Trump and anti DOJ bias especially considering the factual background of this case. I see flashing warning signs that DOJ needs to get another judge because this one is in Trump’s pocket.
BUBBIE (pennsylvania)
It is usual practice to appoint a judge that was put in place by the defendant? This sounds great for the person on trial.
Geezer (CA)
Does anybody actually think any judge appointed by Trump will ever do anything that would legally hurt him? Seriously?
angel98 (nyc)
@Geezer Actually they have. They threw out his bogus election fraud cases. https://www.abajournal.com/news/article/trump-appointed-judges-rule-against-the-president-express-skepticism-in-election-cases/ Every Trump appointed judge should not be tarred with the trump-tainted brush. Not everyone who has a passing association with Trump is guilty by association nor in the market to sell themselves to him. If from the Federalist society I assume they have bigger fish to fry - such as the future of the US made in their myopic, controlling and abusive vision, He's small potatoes to them, he was merely a date-limited Faustian pact to get their people elected as judges.
Bruce Crabtree (Los Angeles)
Trump's legal argument is nonsensical. Even William Barr won't defend it. This lady has no business being on the bench, no matter how studious she is or how nice a family she has. Clearly she lacks the sense to come in out of the rain. Reminds me of crybaby beer boy Brett Kavanaugh (though without the creeper factor, admittedly). If the country keeps electing Republicans, she'll wind up on the Supreme Court alongside the vacant-eyed handmaid. Indeed, that's probably what she had in mind with this ruling.
John Conroy (Los Angeles)
In her flawed ruling Judge Cannon bent over backwards to give weight to reputational damage and stigma. Incorrectly, I should say. She should have given greater priority to the potential for these problems to infect her and the court. Had Cannon done so, she would have rightly recused herself from ruling in this case. Here's hoping the DOJ does the right thing and appeals Cannon's egregiously politicized and poorly reasoned opinion.
PATRICK (Pennsylvania)
Let's consider the question of whether the 2016 Trump election was rigged. As soon as he was placed in power, he and Congress set forth a feverish packing of the Federal Courts with Conservative Judges. Now ask yourselves; if Republicans would rig the Courts, would they have rigged elections? It now appears Judge Cannon has set up further courts actions to empower Trump. Is the election next? Just as important, if not more, is the fact that Trump withdrew our nation from the World Court that prosecutes Genocide as soon as he Gained power, then an allied British man was appointed lead prosecutor. Expand on this in your own minds.
Wally Grigo (Madison, Ct)
You wonder about all those empty top-secret folders found at Mar-a-Lago. I can imagine a foreign agent handing Trump a suitcase with $10 million in it. Trump gives him a folder. The agent removes the documents inside and hands the empty folder marked "Top-Secret" back to Trump: "You're new at this, aren't you? I don't need to get caught with something that screams 'SPY!'" Our allies around the world must be howling: "Arrest the guy already!"
lne (New York, NY)
Failure to recuse herself in this clear conflict of interest - ruling on in a case involving the person who appointed her - should result in Cannon's suspension. If we were a law-abiding nation.
Arthur Jackson (London, UK)
Judge Cannon demonstrated why she was appointed to the federal court, and her ruling underscores the continued and wide ranging devolution of the judicial branch under Trump. Her ruling, technically flawed and poorly reasoned, has far more to do with her allegiance to a corrupt former president and a fundamentally undemocratic special interest lobby, the Federalist Society. Rather than finding a reasonably limited ruling addressing attorney client privilege, she carved out special, unnecessary considerations for former presidents. Former presidents are like everybody else, particularly when they break the law, and, did I mention, Trump is a former president. Partisan judicial appointees usually perform their work insidiously, under the radar, protecting powerful special interests and the politically connected, while masquerading as advocates of limited governmental authority over unfettered capitalism and personal freedom. Judge Cannon's politically motivated and shoddy work is done here, but, regardless of her embarrassing over-reach, the damage is done, to herself, the Justice Department, and to the person she forfeited her integrity for.
Scott (Maui)
If she made a mistake, as Barr and many other believe, it will be overturned on appeal.
Bob Guthrie (Australia)
@Scott it is an appalling mistake rather than am appealing one.
barbara schenkenberg (chicago IL)
@Scott Except the DOJ may feel an appeal is too risky because the court to which the DOJ would appeal has 6/11 trump appointed judges. And any decision that Appellate Court makes becomes precedent. This is the way fascism works.
Somebody (Somewhere)
If anyone sees this as misconduct, as political, or as special treatment you can report it on uscourts dot gov. Under the Judicial Conduct and Disability Act and the Rules for Judicial-Conduct and Judicial-Disability Proceedings, anyone can file a complaint alleging a federal judge has committed misconduct or has a disability.
Addie (Houston)
Leonard Leo landscaper. Florida is his land and it would not be a reach to consider his leadership directives in whatever Trump has/has not done. It is baffling that recent Supreme Court filings (Leo) about state's rights concerning voting have not been front page news. Instead nuclear info documents-the toppest of the top secrecy info - yet kidnapped without incident, boxed up and held hostage for 18 months at Trumps country club, is the drama of the day. Makes zero sense. Should there be more concern about the state of national security in the US? The Federalist Society and Opus Dei need more coverage and investigation. This whole “Master” is a deflect that sounds straight out of Trump/Leo playbook. Just keep those lawsuits rolling…
Lloyd (Thomas)
Remember when Trump played footsie with Putin? Remember when Trump tried to extort campaign propaganda against Biden from Ukraine President Zelensky? Trump was impeached for that crime, but not convicted thanks to GOP sycophants. Look what Putin has done to Ukraine and all of Europe! Trump is guilty of so many crimes. How can a neophyte judge let him off the hook when he’’s stolen government documents and probably offered them wittingly or unwittingly to foreign agents?
W. David Goble (Earth)
"Trump Ruling Lifts Profile of Judge and Raises Questions From Experts" Experts don't agree on anything, so saying it raises questions from experts is saying nothing. What you really are saying is that it raises questions from the experts you listen to. And, of course it would.
nzierler (New Hartford NY)
Very hard not to be cynical about our justice system when it's so rigged for a person who has scoffed at it his entire privileged adult life.
Cassie (NYC)
Glad the NYTimes writers finally caught on to the fact that the judge was a trump appointee. Upgrade your weekend reporting please.
ohthatpaul (Chicago, IL)
She helped the Trump side. Not just slightly or subtly, but brazenly and blatantly. When Bill Barr goes on Fox News to denounce your ruling as wrong, you should know you've got a problem. Cannon needs to be impeached and removed, almost as much as Trump did. "Freethinker"?! Not. A. Legitimate. Judge.
Mike (NYC)
@ohthatpaul That's accurate--except that if Bill Barr thinks you are wrong on so important, likely consequental, a judgment WEve got a problem. It is truly terrible that the nation is so close to falling into the pit of crocodiles prepared by king donald. Anyone uncertain please try to watch a re-play of last night's FRONTLINE investigative report. It will use almost two hours hour of your time, but is well worth it
ultimateliberal (New Orleans)
This ugly event in the life of our great country will never die... The worst scenario is that the former guy is still being photographed and publicized with banners and signs reading "President Donald Trump" Really??? In my dreams, he has been deported to the DPRK......Kim loves him! Pray that America survives as we've known it, pre-2016.
Martin (Amsterdam)
Can someone over there please explain your 'separation of powers'?
Mike (NYC)
@Martin Well. to our Dutch friend I would say that the federal government is divided into the executive branch and the legislative (Senate and House of Representatives) and none can enact without another. So even if both legislative bodies enact, the executive (president) must sign for a bill to become a law. In theory every law or executive action is also subject to review by the judiciary, which can declare it in violation of the Constitution and thus void. This is fairly rare but in a sharply divided and bitterly contentious nation such as we've lately become, less so. Hence the recent reversal of a 50-odd year old ruling by the Supreme Court that states may not make unlawful the termination of pregnancy. To avoid boredom the whole federal system is laid upon a ground with mostly concurrent bodies of law in the 50 states and most areas of life may be governed by state or local law. Perhaps more later if you've the appetite. [email protected].
Martin (Amsterdam)
@Mike I guess I was joking about your now very politicized judicial branch. Looking at the huge Catholic majority on the Republican Supreme Court, I might also ask about the separation of Church and State. I understand the Enlightenment *ideas* in your Constitution, but not so well the failure of the Constitution to safeguard those ideas.
Whole Grains (USA)
This article reads like a P.R. piece for Judge Cannon.
Darchitect (N.J.)
Talk about a loose Cannon.
Wandering In the South (SC)
Can I be a Special Master?  — I don’t have a security clearance anymore. — I don’t have a law degree. — I have yet to register to vote in my new state. — I fervently watch reruns of “Law and Order Special Victims Unit.” — I’ve had four COVID-19 shots (and willing to get the next booster) to not infect the former president. — My bills, so far, are paid up — so Icant be cheaply bribed. So, what do you say?
Joe B. (Center City)
She is a hack. She is utterly unqualified. Impeach her.
burtonknows (Chicago)
The Justice Department will win on appeal. This Dumpster stooge has sealed her fate for rendering a decision a 1st year law student wouldn't.
Annessey (Girl from the North Country)
Judge Cannon made a Faustian bargain. There will be consequences, quite often due when TFG has no further need of you. To paraphrase Dylan: Got to be an important person to be in here, honey Got to have done some evil deed Got to have your own harem when you come in the door Got to play your harp until your lips bleed. They say that patriotism is the last refuge To which a scoundrel clings Steal a little and they throw you in jail Steal a lot and they make you king There's only one step down from here, baby It's called the land of permanent bliss What's a judge like you doing with a chump like this?
Bob Guthrie (Australia)
@Annessey Come senators, congressmen Please heed the call Don't stand in the doorway Don't block up the hall For he that gets hurt Will be he who has stalled The battle outside ragin' Will soon shake your windows And rattle your walls For the times they are a-changin' Thanks Hennessy I always thought it was a "dump like this" The dump is Mar a Lago-an unsuitable place to "store" top secret documents. What's a Russian sweetheart doing in a dump like Mar a Lago? Playing golf? Spying? Both?
sh (San diego)
this article describing the female hispanic judge is xenophobic, racist and misogynist. Additionally, obama's judges have regularly made dysfunctional judgements, and no such article has ever appeared in the NYtimes criticizing them. stop the misinformation
Danny c (Florida)
@sh Huh?
Murray (NYC)
@sh A hack is a hack. She is wearing the robe. Her sex and ethnicity have nothing to do with it. She is responsible for her actions.
BUBBIE (pennsylvania)
@sh -I believe you are forgetting that this man....our ex-president- is accused of taking top secret documents to his beach house!!!!!!!!!
Mixilplix (Delray Beach, Fla.)
Whatever the outcome, my MAGA neighbor had taken down his flag after the exposing of classified documents in Mar a Lago. Apparently, the calling for violence, insurrection, the attack on peaceful protesters and the defense of neo NAZIs were okay with him, but the hoarding of sensitive info and verbal abuse on the FBI was a bridge too far.
jimerson (Seattle)
What kinds of contact have the Ex- and his lawyers had with Judge Cannon behind the scenes since she was appointed in the lame duck period after they definitively lost the 2020 election? Anything like, say, the pressure/extortion calls to Raffensperger or Zelenskyy? Any reminders conveyed to her that they love her and know she'll do the right thing in court, like the messages they sent to January 6 Committee witnesses? Cannon is in a compromised position, and the Ex-'s lawyers were allowed to choose her court precisely because she was predisposed to give them whatever they asked for. The proof is in her ruling, a ridiculously sloppy piece of work that wasn't even based on the law, but on her vague hunches, using shifty language such as, "The Court is not so sure." There is no precedent in American law for a district court judge to impede an ongoing national security investigation. What she's doing is obstruction, plain and simple. She's impeding law enforcement's access to evidence -- before they have even decided if there's sufficient reason to bring charges and try the case in court. Cannon should recuse herself, be disciplined by the federal bench, and removed from her position -- even prosecuted if there's evidence that she assisted the alleged perpetrators in obstruction of justice.
Annie B (Granite State)
Exhibit A of why all major government positions within the 3 branches MUST have reasonable and uniform “term limits” including members of congress or the judiciary. This is a vital matter that the vast majority of Americans heartily agree upon.
HAR (Fair Lawn NJ)
@Annie B She's only been there 20 months. What kind of term limits would have mattered?
Dan (Southwestern, Ut)
@Annie B We have term limits for the presidency (but TFG may ignore that constitutional amendment) and Senators and Representatives. It is the ballot box. But we don’t exercise that power.
Gearhead (Seal Beach)
I assume this will get lost in the blizzard of comments, but hopefully the thoughts are useful. The Special Master finesses the coming elections, eliminates any claims Trump was railroaded, and when the dust settles will have virtually no measurable effect on either the entire process or the ultimate outcome, other than to push it to the backside of the elections, which is a good thing.
Lloyd (Thomas)
@Gearhead Just like Barr stalled and whitewashed the Mueller report, eh?
HAR (Fair Lawn NJ)
@Gearhead Why is delay a good thing? If there is reason to suspect treasonous exposure of very high level classified documents - the sort of exposure that Former Guy has repeatedly said merited execution - why is he still walking around and talking in public?
Robert (Upstate)
@Gearhead Not lost but not correct on the law. The judge should have ignored such considerations and so should anyone evaluating her reasoning.
JP (Dallas, TX)
An ethical judge would have recused herself for conflict of interest.
An Observer (Earthling)
@JP One of the justices sitting in the highest court of the land is equally ethical as judge Cannon. They bring disrepute to those wearing black robes who are EXPECTED to be impartial for people's trust in the court.
Sari (USA)
@JP Keyword here being ethical. She should be disbarred.
richard g (nyc)
Does anyone still doubt he stole and hid those documents to sell to the highest bidder? The one constant throughout his life was accumulating wealth. This is just another money making scheme from disgraced former president Trump.
Philo McFadden (Florida)
This ruling appears to be the 'pro quo' for the 'quid.' So much for Judicial Ethics under John Roberts.
Karen (NJ)
@Philo McFadden - I'd be interested in what he has to say about it..
Whole Grains (USA)
Judge Cannon invoked executive privilege because of her fear that Trump might suffer "reputational harm." Of all people, politicians should be responsible for their own reputations, not Federal judges.
Dan (Southwestern, Ut)
@Whole Grains One hand washes the other. Just patronage to the person who put her on the court.
pjtawney (Colton, OR)
Didn't realize reputations harm was a thing. Does Martha Stewart know about it?
Patricia K (Florida)
Can anyone explain how it is this particular judge received or was assigned the Trump legal request? And why didnt she recuse herself or ask the chief judge to reassign it to someone else who was on the bench longer and was not appointed by the same individual whose benefit she was deciding?
Gene (Glade Park, Colorado)
I have seen nothing why this case was taken away from the magistrate. Usually judges are selected at random, but not sure for this case. More investigative reporting please. Perhaps the chief judge of the southern district of Fla, needs to be checked out too.
jill0 (chicago)
"Lifts the profile of" implies optimism, aspiration. Name it for what it is: corruption and manipulation of a young inexperienced judge who should be impeached.
Miriam (NY)
The judge who made this travesty of a ruling is a conservative Republican Trump appointee. She's inventing fallacies to support her decision, such as Trump deserving preferential treatment because he is a former president. There is no legal basis for executive privilege, nor is his reputation vulnerable because everyone already knows who he is. If this terrible ruling isn't overturned quickly, not only will a critical investigation be delayed but American justice will be perverted.
burtonknows (Chicago)
This guy's now an ORDINARY CITIZEN. No more, no less.
Emmanuel Rodriguez (New York)
@Miriam it’s already been perverted the question is how much more soiled will it get
James K Griffin (Italy)
Allowing a Special Masters to examine the material that Trump had stashed at his place in Mir-a-Lago will reduce the chances of success with his inevitable appeal that the material was tampered with, that it is bits have overlooked, or not revealed. This may delay the initial court case, but should reduce the chances that appeals will be successful.
N. Smith (New York City)
One look at this judge's background and credentials offers more than enough reasons for her to be removed from this case. Aside from Donald Trump having appointed her and being a member of the Federalist Society, lies that fact that she's barely been in the saddle for any appreciable amount of time. Therefore, can anyone really be surprised at her ruling?
Publius (Taos, NM)
At a time when the public's trust in our judiciary is low, in no small part due to the dissembling of the recent SCOTUS nominees, now Associate Justices, all Trump appointees, you would think Judge Cannon would have recused herself from handling this case to avoid the appearance of being in Trump's pocket. Instead, she provided half-baked reasoning and further eroded the public's confidence in our courts. Anyone who still believes in "blind justice" is, well, blind.
WVUCPOGUY (New Orleans)
This is a travesty, but most of the court system is a joke in this country. This is just a Blaring example of the issue. The system was built and is run by lawyers. The whole mess has evolved into a system that just slows down justice and makes it prohibitively expensive to only the most wealthy. Gives the lawyers a lot of unnecessary work and wealth at the expense of us all.
MrsWhit (Mpls)
A reminder that someone's personality characteristics do not equate to the quality or ethics of their actions or professional output. See under "great things terrible people have done" and "terrible things great people have done."
Paul Wortman (Providence)
Let's hope Attorney General will: (1) move forward quickly to indict Trump on charges of obstruction where the issue is clear cut, while (2) appealing the ill-founded attempt by a partisan Trump judge to ignore and twist the law in order to provide him, as William Barr did with the Mueller Report, yet another "Get Out of Jail Free" card.
Sequel (Boston)
It would be politically incorrect for anyone in Congress to call for an impeachment investigation into Judge Cannon's bizarre orders in this case at this time. Nevertheless, that is exactly what ought to happen. Judges who took an oath to preserve the Constitution should not be abandoning the doctrine of Separation of Powers. And no member of the Judicial Branch is permitted to order an agency of the Executive Branch to stop an investigation and to surrender all its evidence to a court. Since this is universally conceded to be impossible, this might be the moment for Americans to admit that the judicial supremacy long advocated by our supremely litigious former president has been accomplished.
AKJersey (New Jersey)
Trump stole highly classified documents on nuclear weapons, and refused to return them. Trump has always been a major threat to US national security, and remains so. Arrest Trump now!
annberkeley2008 (Toronto)
What worries me is that all sorts of people have thumbed through top secret documents that often have the potential to destroy overseas spies' lives. Now another supposedly special master will do it as well. When does all this stop. I've read that the CIA has warned its bureaus about the outing of spies in recent years so why can't your government simply over ride this judge in the cause of national security.
Paul (Atlanta)
“They taught me always to be thankful for this country and to cherish our constitutional democracy,” she said. And if Ms Cannon had an ounce of integrity, she would have recused herself from the case. It makes no difference if she's intelligent, personable, or caring. But trust is something you earn and she just proved she can't be trusted to keep her personal politics out of her decisions.
pjtawney (Colton, OR)
The weird thing about her is that, like most Republicans, she thinks her "feelings" are facts. Her previous decisions have revealed this serious flaw. Now like all those who follow Trump she will be another casualty of feeling her way to absurdity.
Jack snow (Up Here)
Are you really “personable, intelligent and caring” if you don’t recuse yourself in a case you have a conflict of interest in? I call that corrupt.
Lolly (PA)
Blame it on the Federalist Society. It's supported by a lot of wealthy Republicans to groom people for judgeships, and under Trump, they have reaped their reward many times over. The Federalist Society is the enemy of Democracy and our country. It's time to stop them.
DJ (Tulsa)
I believe that I expressed my views before. Time to call an end to judges running our country. I sincerely wish that the DOJ has the guts to ignore her ruling, advise all parties of their decision, and move full speed ahead with the investigation. If appealed all the way up to the USSC, advise said court that no decision of theirs will be recognized either, unless the three justices nominated by Trump recuse themselves. Two can play the constitutional crisis game. Time to play hardball with that Trump mafia.
cvch (Colorado)
Unfortunately, what you suggest is playing hardball using exactly the method Trump does: simply ignoring law that he doesn't like. There are legal processes that can--and should--be used here. Those processes will take time, but throwing them aside and ignoring a judge's ruling--even an egregiously bad one--and then threatening SCOTUS in a similar way would set a dangerous precedent that could accelerate this nation's slide into anarchy. If we don't follow long-established processes, our fragile experiment in democracy will collapse. We may want instant answers, but we have to trust DOJ to do the right thing. They have so far. Merrick Garland knows what he's doing.
Gene (Glade Park, Colorado)
This is such a shoddy decision and it shows how far an otherwise competent lawyer or judge will go for partisan reasons. She is eligible for impeachment for not living up to fairness and weighing the facts and law properly. Probably won’t happen. This ruling is so bad—I have read thousands of appellate decisions—that it must be appealed for the integrity of the law.
George R. (Huntington Beach, CA)
I have no basis for doubting-in the light of all the arguments presented by a myriad of legal experts, including the dubious former U.S. Attorney General, Mr. William P. Barr, that. . ."The opinion [Judge Cannon], I think, was wrong."
William (DC)
Federal Rule 53 requires that before appointing a special master, the judge must consider assigning the task to a magistrate judge. Cannon's opinion simply states that "this Court" doesn't have the resources to review the documents in a timely manner. Even if that is true (Cannon seems to believe it is a given), she never addressed why it could not be assigned to a magistrate judge. Assigning a magistrate judge would avoid the inevitably time-consuming back and forth between Trump and the DOJ seeking agreement on who should be the special master.
Skyel (Colorado)
How would that address the fact that many of the documents are classified? What type of clearance would a magistrate have?
Emmanuel Rodriguez (New York)
@William Yes but her job is to be a political crony not to preform her duties as judge.
gep (st paul, MN)
She is protecting a former president who, among other possible crimes, may well have compromised our nuclear secrets. She has failed to uphold the oath of her office. She is therefore unfit to be a federal judge. And yet she is there for life and possibly a seat on higher and more influential courts. In a sane world and if she had a sense of integrity, she would either decline the case for lack of jurisdiction or recuse herself. But sanity went out the window a long time ago in this country. The many, many ways which Trump has damaged and cheapened our democracy...incalculable.
PATRICK (Pennsylvania)
In summary, as Trump preplaced a judge in his own district in what appears to be a plan to protect him, he has by his actions proven his guilt. The Judges action appears as an attempt to annoint him as a President pending her enabled future course of law. It is now apparent, Trump is a new President Jefferson Davis and the nation's people should prepare to repel Republican aggression that is in fact, an evasion of justice.
Ira Lechner (San Diego, California)
Her decision must be contrasted with all those Trump-appointed judges who rejected outright his failed attempts to block the results of the election on the basis of "fraud" or "rigged election" with absolutely no evidence to support such a result. Thus, the objective Rule of Law is unnecessarily compromised. This is what she has wrought! Because this is a "criminal" investigation of the only person who is responsible for appointing her and elevating her personal career to a lifetime appointment, the burden was clearly on Judge Cannon to recognize the inherent prejudice of her ruling in his favor! And, she even noted in her opinion that she is taking into account that Trump's political and historical reputation would be affected by this criminal investigation! Recusal immediately was her only rightful path! Shame on her for the rest of her life! The Chief Judge of this District Court undoubtedly recognizes that she has stigmatized his entire Court and every honest judge within it, regardless of political party and who appointed them to the bench. While his action now must be very difficult politically and personally, he must remove her from this case immediately and refer the matter properly to the Magistrate Judge who has had original jurisdiction over the case, and who was publically insulted by her action in removing him from his proper role.
B W (Chicago)
The recent leaks to the Washington Post prove that the DOJ can not be trusted to conduct a fair investigation of Trump. This is why a special master is needed. Who watches the watchers? By the way, has Garland started an investigation into the leaker?
Ann (Baltimore)
@B W How do you know it was the DOJ? There were a number of people in Trump's orbit who may have known what was in those storage rooms and desk drawers. And since we're talking about trust... i'd trust the DOJ infinitely more than the world-class grifter and liar Trump.
B W (Chicago)
@Ann Because an election is coming up and who has the most to gain by the leaks. And ask MLK about trust and the FBI.
angel98 (nyc)
@B W They prove nothing of the sort. Could have been Trump (he will do anything for attention) or one of the many people who had access to his storage space, maybe the person who Trump or an enterprising person with access sold a look-see too. Could even have been the movers. No one really has any idea where the papers have been and who has seen them - and that is a big part of the problem.
don healy (sebring, fl)
She has the academic credentials and may be a decent person who treats others fairly but she does not cherish "our constitutional democracy" (although I'm sure she believes she does). She's proved that by doing mental gymnastics to find the outcome she clearly desired and has been acting as a supporter of Trump's legal team. She should be asked who in Trump's orbit she has had conversations with about this case (both in the time period before and since the case came before her). If there have been any contacts (and Trump has never let an opportunity go by to interfere with an investigation) she should have reported them. I believe she has probably been told she will either get a promotion the next time Republicans are in a position to do so or a cushy job for here next career move.
Bill (SF, CA)
End the War on Drugs, and half the overhead for courts, legal opinions, prisons, cops, judges, pharmacies, and policing would disappear, and in its place would return much of our lost freedoms. We are the most policed, surveilled society in human history. As noted on the CBS news show "60 Minutes," one of every three Americans watches the other two.
Bruce (Denver CO)
New Judges make lots of mistakes. Legally, her ruling was utter nonsense, especially given that the Government had already inspected the documents. Yes, certainly looks like a political decision by a novice.
Leslie Rix (Toronto)
Executive privilege should not be an option for former president Trump when in essence it is being turned on the constitutionally valid executive itself. I can see an argument to permit a person under investigation to have an arbiter protect their interest in terms of client confidentiality. But to allow the arbiter to rule on matters of executive privilege when it is clear that personal bias may well be part of the appointment (and so could influence its findings) is outrageous. The intended role of the arbiter is to rule on points of law, not serve as a defense mechanism for the person under investigation.
Susan (Philadelphia)
What was not taken into consideration, along with adhering or even addressing relevant law, was the fact that the reason the public knows about the search is because the subject broadcasted it! The subject damaged his own reputation, as if it had not been damaged enough.
angel98 (nyc)
@Susan True, everyone seems to forget that he shrieked it from the rooftops. Few to none would have known if he had said nothing. Attention grabbing as always, new teaser so people remember who he is? Just as everyone was forgetting (or trying to forget) him. Didn't he once say all news is good news (for him)!
David (norcal)
As a 61 year old attorney, I can state from experience that I know alot more and have far better judgment than I did at 51, or 41. If you want competence and wisdom out of a judge, look for people who have been practicing at least 20 years, if not more. If you want hacks who still have trouble overcoming their ideology and biases, appointed someone young, like Judge Cannon. That's what the Republicans have been doing for decades. True, some diehards like Alito and Thomas never learn, but most extremists of all types mellow with age. Let's hope Cannon does.
Matt Rule (Salinas CA.)
@David My criteria for evaluating Supreme Court judges is whether they become closer to us ordinary people as time goes on, or are swayed by corporate, political or other power interests. A perfect example is Judge Souter, a horrible example is Alito. I don't have much faith that Trump appointed judges can mature into deeply empathetic people rather than just throwing power for fun and games.
Jack snow (Up Here)
“Hope” ain’t gonna cut it pal. Time to fight dirty (like the Republicans do). Then it’s a fair fight.
Big Boomer (San Francisco)
Wonder what the other parents at her children's school say to her at PTA meetings? Or what the other members of her church say at Sunday potlucks? Or from her family, friends, and neighbors? Or will she be invited (paid) to address the Federalist Society? The Republicans apply that sort of personal pressure on judges to get rulings that they want. Her ruling, if it stands, will delay resolution of the stolen documents for a very long time, after allowing for appeals by the DOJ and by Trump. Before it makes it to the SCOTUS and is ruled upon could be after the 2024 election. So disappointing.
Marcos Barros (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
Here in Brazil is what happens most. Even many of our Supreme Court judges act in favor of previous presidents who appointed them to their positions.
Kat C (Colorado)
I think that the need for a special master in this case is unnecessary, considering that Mr Trump had almost 2 years to sort through the documents in question himself.
Marty Rowland, Ph.D., P.E. (Forest Hills)
Funny that NYTimes finds a connection between Trump and Cannon but not one between Trump and FBI's Wray; Trump appointed both of them. The issue is transparency not imagined bias.
F Kell (Georgia)
Is the opinion Cannon's work product or high profile ghost writer linked to Federalist Society or Trump's inner circle? Would love to see what Cannon's personal and professional modes of communication unfold?
Si Seulement Voltaire (France)
This whole investigation was far too slow, badly organised, set up and executed like amateurs ... which is why dismantling it was so easy. Now the multiple leaks to the liberal press are proving more clearly that the whole process was purely politically motivated from the start and not at all "legally motivated to defend the nation". Methinks a lot of hubris, entitlement and upset feeling among federal bureaucrats at the DOJ & FBI and Archives caused the multiple mistakes. All the people need to have faith in our agencies and institutions. These politically motivated failures are hurting their already endangered credibility.
Stew Pedasole (Brooklyn)
@Si Seulement Voltaire Wow, quite an interesting turnaround of perspective! Perhaps deference to the precedent of almost unlimited rope given to Trump and his legal team rather than amateur investigating? And those documents, perhaps DOJ did not plant them, and perhaps the human sources that led them to discover that 18 months after leaving office Trump still had state secrets in his possession? Perhaps we should have simply looked the other way...again.
Karen Jarvis (Eugene, OR)
After reading this article about Judge Cannon, I am struck by the fact that she is quiet and studious, not outspoken and new to publlicly big cases. Not, as such, qualified to make this decision. Surely someone else would have had more experience in this arena, or was that what Trump was counting on all along? It seems to me that Trump would viewher as the perfect person to follow his lead. After all the material I researched before the decision came down, it seemed fairly obvious that a master would not be granted here. I was confused by her reasoning, especially regarding executive privilege. In my opinion, the ex- president has lost that priviege when he left office. What happened to the fact that we are all equal under the law? If any other citiizen of this country had done what Trump had done by stealing those documents, they would have been put in jail a long time age. It seems like Judge Cannon should understand the same thing!
rich (hutchinson isl. fl)
Why didn't Trump return the documents? This may be the crime that Trump wants the Justice Department and the public focused on and that he can fight best, and it is entirely possible that Trump put Judge Cannon in place next door to Palm Beach to serve his purposes. Ultimately the penalties for this crime would be less severe for him than for his criminal sedition and it serves a a distraction from the very effective Jan 6 Committee exposure of his criminal conduct. Sooner or later it was bound to happen that a Trump appointed judge would ignore law and precedent to shield him. Judge Cannon was appointed nine days after Trump lost the election. And now Trump has "judge shopped" his case from Palm Beach County to her in Fort Pierce, Florida, and successfully delayed a federal investigation. Putin couldn't have done it any better unless he threw Merritt Garland out of a window.
HAR (Fair Lawn NJ)
@rich As a retired engineer who formerly had a security clearance, I can summarize our repeated training on handling secure documents: "why" is not a question, there are rules and if you break them you suffer. Taking a document out of the secure workspace to the coffeepot would have been grounds for dismissal and investigation. Doesn't matter what rank or clearance level someone has; in fact, the higher the rank the more closely they are expected to follow the rules.
rich (hutchinson isl. fl)
@HAR Thank you. We realize that what Trump did was indeed a crime and had anyone else done the exact same thing there would have been no delay in retrieving the materials and no delay indicting them. The question as to why Trump did not comply with the request and then the subpoena to return the documents requires an answer. The is no question that Trump broke the law; that it is a distraction and that Trump has now delayed a federal investigation.
Sherlock (Suffolk)
“They taught me always to be thankful for this country and to cherish our constitutional democracy,” she said. How ironic that she is doing all she can to destroy democracy.
Marshall (Oregon)
28 US Code 455: (a) Any justice, judge, or magistrate judge of the United States shall disqualify himself in any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned.
Patrick (NYC)
To this liberal, she sounds very thoughtful and unlike too many willing to question the prosecution.
Dan (Palm Springs)
Reality is complicated. Thank you for giving us a factual understanding of the individual judge who made the decision, without labels or preconceptions. We are so quick to point fingers, assign motives, and make everything personal. I think this helps the reader draw his or her own conclusions about her, or to not make any judgment at all.
Smilodon7 (Gilead, The State Formerly Known As Missouri)
You realize this changes nothing. She gave Trump a huge pass here. Would anyone else who had done the same thing catch such a break? Hardly. So the law clearly does apply to everyone equally.
Dan (Palm Springs)
It is a demonstrably flawed and biased decision. But was she pro-Trump or more anti-government? It’s a distinction worth exploring as we try to understand why even smart people see such different realities.
AnneW (Seattle)
There was a reasonable path: Appoint a special master to review documents for attorney-client privilege and allow the criminal investigation to continue. For Federalists and Trump appointees, “reasonable” is protecting Trump and has nothing to do with justice.
True Patriot (America)
@AnneW It is not necessary to appoint a Special Master. I don't think you understand. All the classified documents are public property. After 1-20 Trump has no legal right to be in possession of these documents. Declassification does not matter. He was asked repeatedly to return them. Returned some and then lied about having more. This is obstruction. DOJ needs to quit messing around and charge Trump. It's just that simple. As for the other documents Trump comingled together with the Classified documents. DOJ can simply return them to Trump. Nobody cares about his medical records and passports.
Doug Karo (Durham, NH)
@AnneW I am afraid that for Federalists and Trump appointees 'reasonableness' is about protecting privilege much more widely.
Bob Guthrie (Australia)
@AnneW Indeed but the notion of American exceptionalism where the USA- which does have many amazing qualities- is inherently best at everything is patently not sustainable. Here is where you are not the greatest place on earth: a) Most comparably modern and prosperous democracies do not have the equivalent of the Oakland tragedy b) We do typically have universal health care c) Judges are not appointed by politicians; a circumstance wherein there is inevitably the appearance and/or the reality of transactional quid pro quo expectations.
Vincit Veritas (Los Angeles)
Donald Trump from the start has posed a kind of stress test throughout our society. A limited number of principled citizens, most prominent among them Liz Cheney, have demonstrated the remarkable courage to do what was right while under tremendous pressure and amid violent threats to aid, abet or acquiesce in clear and obvious wrongs. This judge is not one of those courageous people.
Intheknow (Staten Island)
Judges that were appointed by the defendant should be recused due to impartiality.
Si Seulement Voltaire (France)
@Intheknow If so, then Garland should follow suit and recuse himself to allow a neutral review.
Patricia K (Florida)
@Intheknow Absolutely! I agree. And how did this case get to her to begin with?
Rod (Southern Europa)
No kidding. One of my previous employers had a sort of motto. “Not only do we not participate in a conflict of interest issue, we do not participate even if there could be an appearance of conflict of interest” But remember, laws are made by, and for, the wealthy and powerful in this country, I find it despicable that she took the case. And judge shopping should be one of the highest crimes in this country
Gazeeb (San Francisco)
Here we get timeline details of Judge Cannon’s academic credentials, legal experience. A rundown of her qualifications, her professional stats. When what supersedes all this is the defining element. She’s a Trump loyalist who owes her Federal Judge position to Donald Trump.
Ockham9 (Norman, OK)
A recurrent thesis about this case is that Trump ‘shopped for a sympathetic judge’ in filing his case, but I have never seen an explanation of how this could be ascertained. Most of the articles that discuss this decision have mentioned that Judge Cannon was ‘assigned’ to the case. Of the 27 judges in the Southern District of Florida, 11 (including Chief Judge Cecilia M. Altonaga) were confirmed before Trump became president. Even if judges are assigned on a rotating basis, depending on the luck of when a case was filed, it would seem that one of the responsibilities of the Chief Judge would be to determine whether there were any potential conflicts of interest or appearance of potential favoritism based on the prior curriculum vitae of the judge assignment. For example, you wouldn’t want a judge hearing the case in which her former law partner was the defendant or plaintiff. That being the case, why didn’t Judge Altonaga step in when the assignment came up and find one of the other 10 judges who hadn’t been nominated by either Trump or Biden? Or perhaps take the case herself?
mr2nluv99 (Washington State)
@Ockham9 You are absolutely right. This monumental failure of justice falls squarely on the shoulders of the Chief Judge in this case.
Patricia K (Florida)
@Ockham9 Will the press pursue this and get answers?
AnneW (Seattle)
Not “extraordinary”. Actually, Pretty simple. An employee cannot retain the former employer’s property.
Smilodon7 (Gilead, The State Formerly Known As Missouri)
Apparently you can if your name is Trump. If you or I did that we’d be in jail so fast we wouldn’t know what happened.
Rod (Southern Europa)
But he wasn’t an employee! He was, and still is The King!
KlmR (US)
"They taught me always to be thankful for this country and to cherish our constitutional democracy." Leaving aside the legal arguments and justifications for this decision - legal scholars and lawyers can debate it, if one does cherish the constitutional democracy, why would one support a movement that does the opposite? The Big Lie is the greatest challenge to US Democracy.
A Blinkin (Chicago)
The idea of lifetime appointments is the judges are at liberty to disregard the interests of those who got them appointed, and just rule on the merits, fair and square. So much for that.
Mr C (Cary NC)
This is what we get folks. The democrats and others who sat out the 2016 election and some who voted for Trump did not think about the implications. Trump asked, "what you got to loose?" The answer is that you loose the America that once was!
Casual Observer (Yardley, Pa)
Trump and the MAGA Federalist cohort is simply buying enough time enough allies are installed across the state legislatures and judiciaries. The circle will be complete. Trump will be untouchable. Getting really close now.
Naples (Los Angeles)
Trump immediately begins insinuating that judges rule against him because of their ethnicity, political orientation, gender—"blood coming out of her 'whatever.'" It's one of his escape strategies, law weaponizations, delay tactics The Federalist Society never pretended to an iota of objectivity. I remember exactly where I was driving when I heard over the radio that the administration of Bush The Second would no longer vet judges through the ABA. Just like that. A fifty-year tradition. And no outrage. No comment. I'm surprised when I read: "Ms. Cannon had been a lawyer for 12 years, the minimum threshold to meet the American Bar Association’s qualification standard." I'm surprised any minimum ABA thresholds still exist. Now we're all questioning the background of all judges as well.
R (CA)
The U.S. Supreme Court decided that U.S. citizens have no constitutionally protected right to have an abortion, because the right to have an abortion is not mentioned anywhere in the U.S. Constitution. Following this line of reasoning, current and former U.S. Presidents have no constitutionally protected right to claim executive privilege, because executive privilege is not mentioned anywhere in the U.S. Constitution. The DOJ policy that allows current and former U.S. Presidents to claim executive privilege is bad policy. It enables current and former U.S. Presidents to hid possible evidence of criminal behavior behind claims of executive privilege.
Mike (Rochester, NY)
"You could call her something of a freethinker.” Neither Trump nor the Federalist Society have selected judges to be freethinkers, but to support their aims whenever they can get away with it. I'm sure that they've applauded Cannon's decision, which is an unprecedented expansion of presidential power, elevated Trump above common citizens in the eyes of the law, and is flawed in several other ways. Trump got his money's worth. I believe it's time to see whether Cannon has had contact with those involved in Trump's legal problems. If so, she should be investigated, and if possible, removed from the bench.
Larry Weeks (Paris France)
Good personality does not make good lawyering: (1). A party seeking equitable relief must come to the court with clean hands. Having Top Secret and other classified documents in your possession and having the lawyer-custodian of records sign a false affidavit that all classified documents had been submitted cannot be “clean hands” by any definition (2). The “fruit of the poisonous tree” doctrine prohibits DOJ from being able to use any inappropriate documents in a prosecution and she overlooked that complete defense at law. (3). The refusal to accept that the U.S. Supreme Court has at least on four occasions refused to allow a former president to claim “executive privilege” was blown off. (4). The enjoining of a criminal investigation by the chief law enforcement officer of the U.S. in an investigation that may need to look at whether top secret information has been given or sold or is in the process of being made available to enemies is outrageous (5). The prohibition of further investigation of even the false attorney certification of turning over all documents marked classified allows the potential defendants to cover their tracks and make up lies (6). The practical aspects of saying counsel shall agree on a special master and procedures displays a lack of awareness of trial lawyering and any understanding of the willingness of trump cancel to stall all agreement and action I’m sure there are aspects of the decision that I’ve missed. This is off the top of my head
Gene (Glade Park, Colorado)
Most any experienced lawyer know the order is poorly written and with little factual or legal support.
Scott Fordin (NH USA)
@Larry Weeks: Well and clearly stated. Thank you.
David (Pelham. NY)
The GOP judiciary claims they are devoted to the literal text of the Constitution. Because there is no right to abortion in the Constitution or even an explicit Right to Privacy, they opined Roe v Wade should be overturned and the issue returned to the States. By that same logic, there is no explicit Executive Privilege in the Constitution. The GOP and for that matter The President in general cannot hide behind some imputed Right that is not enumerated in the Constitution. I only wish the Republicans and Judge Aileen Cannon had the self awareness and intellectual honesty to acknowledge their own abject hypocrisy.
Eugene Gorrin (Union, NJ)
It’s a very odd - by that I mean bad and unsound - opinion. It ignored whether Trump had standing to bring this lawsuit. He doesn’t - the documents are not his; they belong to the government under the Presidential Records Act. Even assuming that Trump had standing, there is no executive privilege. Executive privilege is asserted by the president now serving to shield documents and information from 3rd parties (e.g. Congress) outside the executive branch, not to shield documents from those agencies and individuals within the executive branch (e.g., the Department of Justice). Trump is the former president and cannot assert executive privilege - only Biden as the current president can do so. And executive privilege also shouldn’t apply because the documents and information don’t involve 3rd parties outside the executive branch - the privilege is being asserted against an agency within the executive branch (the DOJ). The question is will the DOJ appeal the decision to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals and risk a precedential decision against the government that could expand executive privilege? I believe they should - too much is at stake here: our national security and the lives of every American and our intelligence operatives overseas that Trump has placed in jeopardy by his reckless, haphazard, and sloppy handling of those documents.
macdray (State of MA)
@Eugene Gorrin ... RE standing. Trump has standing by virtue of the fact that it was his residence that was searched...and items in his possession that were removed.
Max (NYC)
“The general feeling that I’ve gotten from her is, ‘I don’t buy everything the government has to tell me,’” Mr. Rodriguez said. Good for her. The government has not shown itself to be remotely objective when it comes to Trump. And I can't help but laugh, thinking about the NYT and its reader's reaction to attacks on a Hispanic judge if the attacks were coming from the Right.
BC (New York)
@Max The government bent over backwards to avoid having to seize the government documents Trump illegally took to his country club but he would not return them. Today we learned that some of those documents contained secret information about the nuclear programs of other countries. Earlier we learned some of those documents contained information that, if it fell into the wrong hands, could endanger our national security operations. If anything, our government has demonstrated too much deference or “objectivity’”to Mr. Trump’s egregious, potentially traitorous behavior. And this judge seems to “buy everything” Trump has told her but very little of the objective evidence the government has presented.
vince (maryland)
@Max Trump was “the government” (and claiming to still have governmental privilege). She is “the government.” So her statement is nonsensical. As was her decision.
Bob Guthrie (Australia)
@Max How can one be objective regarding Trump?; it is analogous to being objective about Charles Manson or for that matter Marilyn Manson. Besides the group you call NYT readers (does that include you?) is not a monolith that is somehow inclusive of NYT management.
Wyn Birkenthal (Brevard NC)
The new originalism, whatever Trump wants ( portions of) the Federal Judiciary grant his wish with immediacy. Would Anton Scalia be proud ?
Jack P. Bishop (MN)
Judges have recused for less of a connection…Something is rotten here!
terri smith (USA)
Cannons ruling is a clar partisan ruling for Trump despite evidence.
Bob Guthrie (Australia)
@terri smith What's wrong with returning the favour? He got her a sinecure did he not? If it weren't a sinecure she would have to demonstrate due diligence.
Zen Cat (W MA)
Wow, she sounds so nice! Played water polo and was popular too! What's her favorite ice cream flavor? I guess being politically compromised by the extremist Federalist Society and woefully unqualified and inexperienced for the unprecedented task she was given are plusses when the former president needs help undermining the rule of law. So personable though!
Jontavious (Atlanta)
She has all the qualifications of a well trained attorney, and now judge - top law school education and appellate practice after that. And the “experts” this article cites are mostly anti trumpists anyway. And Barr? His opinion doesn’t matter, at all.
Brian (Los Angeles)
@Jontavious How can the opinion of a former Attorney General for two presidents be irrelevant when evaluating legal proceedings?
Robbiesimon (Washington)
@Jontavious She would have gotten into Michigan Law as a minority applicant. And she did not make Law Review there so was not one of the top students in her class.
Craig (Panama)
Aileen Mercedes Cannon, Florida raised and groomed. Trumps security takes second fiddle to our National Security. He's been caught playing with nukes now. Enough is enough. Appeal this MAGA judge's decision and prosecuting now.
jwgibbs (Cleveland, Ohio)
This is how democracy ends This is how democracy ends This is how democracy ends Not with a bang, but a whimper
Bob Guthrie (Australia)
@jwgibbs As TS Eliot might have said, Mr Democracy. He dead. Now together we have referenced The Hollow Men and The Wasteland.
AnneW (Seattle)
As Boston University law professor Robert Tsai noted on Twitter, "It's a heck of a thing if the mere assertion of executive privilege by someone who no longer holds office can stop an existing officeholder from engaging in a core executive function." Pretty straight forward; the judge is partisan.
True Patriot (America)
Why is Trump above the law? If a Navy E5 working in a Submarine nuclear engine room decided to take their classified manual home to read, he or she would be in prison right now. Why should it be any different for Trump. Why should Trump get all this special treatment and deference from DOJ and the Courts? This decision by the Judge and the DOJ's negotiating with Trump is just unacceptable. All of these Classified Documents are the property of the Federal Government. It does not matter whether Trump declassified them or not. Trump does not have any legal right to have these documents. He obstructed by not giving the documents back. This is the End of case. DOJ needs to prosecute now and quit messing around. No more special treatment. No more privilege for Trump and corrupt followers who trying to overthrow the Government! When will it be enough. I don't care if his supporters go crazy and try to start a Civil War. They will fail and be dealt with accordingly.
Sam (California)
@True Patriot Well, he got used being above.., he mistakes the above role into other more serious situations, fortunately he got a female judge to give him the above role once again ?
Surf City Rod (Huntington Beach, Ca)
Angling for elevation if Trump should be re-elected. Judges in general are as political if not more so as politicians.
Rubber Soul (Delaware)
Three words....The Federalist Society. And not only Aileen Cannon, but John Roberts, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, Coney Barrett, Thomas and Alito...all have ties to the Federalist Society. From The Guardian... "Donald Trump leaves the White House having appointed more than 200 judges to the federal bench, including nearly as many powerful federal appeals court judges in four years as Barack Obama appointed in eight. Trump worked closely with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other Senate Republicans to "reshape" the federal judiciary – particularly the appeals courts – for decades to come. Federal judges have lifetime tenure and typically remain on the bench long after the presidents who nominated them have left office." "Although Trump stands out for the large number of federal appeals court judges he appointed in only four years, when it comes to the nation’s 13 federal appeals courts – which have the "final word" on most legal appeals around the country – Trump’s influence is clear (and utterly frightening for this nation)." "Together, these judges wield immense power over who gets to vote, who gets to marry, who has access to healthcare, who carries a gun, who is branded a criminal, who may join a union, who is protected from discrimination and who has permission to discriminate on religious grounds." ...and who gets to "steal top secret information" and then commit the most egregious act of disloyalty and treason against their own country".
Pamela Llorens (Florida)
Also many of the Catholics belong to the Opus Dei .
Sam (California)
@Rubber Soul Yep, there is the seeds of corruption ! Does anyone wonder how he managed to pay almost no taxes all his life …. Think of corruption…, talk to Michael Cohan !
Emanuele (Italy)
More and more people al reading these too secret documents, why Can't I too? I'm really curious
Marian (Phila)
I am sure if you had a lot of money and made an offer to Trump to get some of these documents, I am sure he would let you have them for a price. The FBI finally confiscated the documents but he had plenty of time to have multiple copies made. He left the WH 18 months ago. You can make thousands of copies in 18 months.
Cody McCall (tacoma)
She's just doing what hacks and cronies are s'posed to do when appointed to positions of power . . . in a third-rate banana republic. But not here. This is wrong.
Sam (California)
@Cody McCall Wrong happened in 2016 and everything happened during the campaign season of the 2016 elections ! Of course this court simply adds to many other court behavior !
ninbus (Manhattan)
Your emetic for today: Judge Cannon's use of the word ‘escutcheon’. From her ruling: “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.” When one thinks of the word ‘escutcheon’ – what comes to mind? Knights of the Round Table, chivalry, honor, heraldry, morality and loyalty…that sort of thing. To use that word even tangentially in reference to Donald gives new meaning to the word ‘obscene’.
Scorpionacus Scorpio (New Mexico)
As if this is the first time this defendant has ever been a defendant. Poor baby’s little escutcheon.
angel98 (nyc)
@ninbus Begs the question - do woman have escutcheons?
Donald A. Windsor (Norwich NY)
Judges whom Trump nominated should be forced to recuse themselves!
Painter33 (Delaware)
Or, resign…
MSA (Miami)
I had the bad luck of working for her dad in Mexico. The Cannons get tangled up on their own pseudo intellectual sophistry and reach the worst decisions ever. The apple does not fall from the tree.
Bob Guthrie (Australia)
@MSA It is not mere sophistry. It is bald faced quid pro quo a la the perfect Zelensky phone call.
Al Fresco (Wisconsin)
The Republicans are against any attempt by Democrats or others to increase SCOTUS to 15. But when a trump-appointed judge rules in favor of trump, that's OK. Justice seems to be all about who you know and how you know them. Oh, yeah, probably about money, too. Why would anyone want to make America great again when the system works so slickly now for people Republicans and trump?
Mary (CA)
Thanks to trump the judiciary branch of the government has hit the bottom and is no long fair and impartial. 3 supremes, multiple judgeships all over the country, and Ms Cannon. Travesty and perfect storm for trump to save his skin. It will work for one man to stay above the law, the rest of us…..no.
Realist (Ohio)
The media have always identified legislators by party affiliation: e,g., Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH). Now that judicial appointments have become so utterly partisan, it would serve honest reporting to identify federal judges by the president who appointed them: thus, Judge Aileen Cannon (T), etc. Judicial purists would of course scream in anguish over the offense to their idealism (or hypocrisy). However, their travails would be more than justified in the interest of transparency.
Canadian Roy (Canada)
America this is what happens when you deify presidents; some people start to treat them as a new class of special citizen.
Pamela (Maryland)
Letters from an American , Heather Cox Richardson … “Cannon’s order appears to have been intended to send a message. Bloomberg News legal and political reporter Zoe Tillman said today that seven senior officials who served in Republican administrations, including two former governors, a former attorney general, a former acting attorney general, and a former deputy attorney general, asked to send in a “friend of the court” brief in opposition to Trump’s request. Cannon denied their request, saying the court “appreciates the movants’ willingness to participate in this matter but does not find…[it]...warranted.” In her refusal to accept the “ friend of the court “ brief , Judge Cannon shows her obvious submission to Mr. Trump’s proprietary influence over her. DOJ must appeal this decision.
AnneW (Seattle)
Attorney client privilege : Yes, get that , especially in a criminal case, such as this. Executive privilege: No. No longer an “executive”. No longer “privileged”. The documents belong to the nation. The documents do not belong to Trump. It’s not that difficult.
Sam (California)
Corruption has been penetrating our courts like a monster from top down and from bottom up in a two way saturation of ill will and erosion of trust in our judiciary ! This $1.6 Billion effort by the federalist society is like the subterranean termites spreading the eroding American life and trust in the highest echelons of American judiciary ! Eradication of this in-depth corruption should be the next priority for our President Biden..,, set an example that there will be no rewards for corruption ! Otherwise, Americans specially those who follow their divisive leaders will definitely suffer while their corrupt leaders enjoy special privileges and judicial favors by corrupt judges specially picked for this purpose by the Federalist Society with $1.6 billion seed money ! We need a really good Tzar to combat corruption, the deep termites in politics should be destroyed before they destroy American lives and fair play in every walks of life, specially in our courts sliding down the corruption downhill into the abyss ! Eradicating corruption should be the top priority including reversal of judicial appointments and confirmation by a review board of good citizens !
Ted (Chicago)
I can picture the scene. Trump tells Cannon that he will appoint her "I will do this for you today, but one day I will ask for a favor from you in return."
David (California)
Trump goes judge-shopping for a Federalist society judge he himself appointed, who shouldn’t even have taken the case… then she writes a ridiculously overbroad ruling in his favor? Huh, shocking.
Bronx Urban Scholar (Bronx)
Perhaps it’s time to start the impeachment process- for this ‘judge’
AnneW (Seattle)
In her Senate questionnaire, she described herself as a member of the conservative Federalist Society since 2005. Mr. Trump nominated her in May 2020. The Senate confirmed her on Nov 12 2020 ……nine (9) days after he lost re-election. It is dishonest and disingenuous for journalists to talk about Democrats considering how to “pack the court” or potential problems occurring should Democrats succeed in “packing” the court. The “pack the court” narrative needs to be adjusted: Republicans have packed the court. Trump pledged to nominate only Federalist judges. This is just the most recent blatant example of the results of packing at the lower level, with the reversal of Roe v Wade the result of packing at the highest level.
Heymizzle (SW FL)
donald trump is above the law, plain and simple. What a tragedy for our country
Joe From Boston (Massachusetts)
44 U.S. Code § 2202 - Ownership of Presidential records The United States shall reserve and retain complete ownership, possession, and control of Presidential records; and such records shall be administered in accordance with the provisions of this chapter. (Added Pub. L. 95–591, § 2(a), Nov. 4, 1978, 92 Stat. 2524.) All of the classified materials, as well as other presidential records do not belong to the former guy. They belong to the U.S. Government. As an attorney, I have to ask how can a judge make the mistake of suggesting regarding documents owned by the U.S. Government, and after a letter was presented in the DoJ filings that says that the Executive Branch is not asserting any executive privilege, that the former guy has either a colorable claim of executive privilege, or that he has any claim to attorney-client privilege when the people drafting the classified documents did not serve as his attorneys nor did they draft the documents to provide him with legal advice? Judge Cannon seems to have forgotten some of the things she supposedly learned in law school. She should have ordered all of the documents that are clearly owned by the U.S. Government are not subject to any special master review. I remember those lessons from law school, and I studied law long before she did.
Chris (Missouri)
Where is the venue for impeaching Federal judges?
Joe From Boston (Massachusetts)
@Chris The House impeaches and the Senate tries the impeached person. Same as any other impeachment.
David Weinberg (Minneapolis)
No one can say what went into Judge Cannon’s decision to give Trump everything he asked for. What is clear is the decision speaks to the inherent unfairness of a legal system that gives deference to America’s “royalty”. If you are too big to jail, you can shoot someone on 5th Avenue and not have any consequences.
LNB🌗 (CT Shoreline)
Justice Ginnie and Mr. Barrett must be so pleased.
Walter (Los Angeles)
Deeply corrupt. But what else could we expect from the great orange Oompah? He is out of office but his little wind up toys are still busy behind the scenes, sawing through the foundations.
James Whelan (NYC)
Everything Trump is corrupt. I'm no lawyer, but everything I have read indicates that her ruling is devoid of reasoning. The stench!
robin (Albuquerque)
She is basically a "lady of the night."
sNarayana (Virginia)
Equal justice for all? The judge's ruling clearly shows that it is not the case. The rich & powerful are in a class by themselves.
Adam (LA)
A wonderful and thoughtful jurist. We are lucky to have her.
Bob Bascelli (Seaford NY)
@Adam If you like her so much, you can have her. Most of us wish we never met.
chambolle (Bainbridge Island)
@Adam: Sarcasm, or not? Just out of curiosity, have you practiced law in federal courts? Have you read, and do you have the legal background required to understand and assess Judge Cannon’s recent 24 page order? I’m gonna lay odds not.
Tom Tuna (Michigan)
@Adam Yes. Allowing a non-executive to assert Executive Privilege over the current executive, even when an indictment allowing an investigation is drawn lawfully on that person, is truly brave and... er... freethinking (?) A true inspiration - for her own aspirations to achieve the next level: Associate Justice on the SCOTUS. Because the Federalist Society is going to give her the WORLD after her last ruling.
bikegeezer (moabut)
United States v. Nixon rejected a claim of "Executive Privilege" to a subpoena from Congress. Nixon's claim of executive privilege was stronger than Trump's - the tapes were conversations between Nixon and his advisors. Trump's claim is that another executive agency - DOJ- cannot have the documents. Not a proper claim of executive privilege. The Judge, who should have recused herself, complete;y ignored the Nixon case which should have been dispositive.
Hari Prasad (Washington, D.C.)
Aileen Cannon is playing politics, giving Trump what he wants most, a legal delay, by blocking the current investigation into a plausible act of espionage. That is not the decision of an honest judge, but of someone indebted to a lobby, an interest group, typically the Federalist Society. It's no surprise that not only three judges of the Supreme Court, but many other judges appointed by Trump to life-time appointments had their scrutiny cut short and were barely qualified, but were Federalist Society candidates. Trump is only the most egregious symptom of a deeper problem of American society today: It's run by and for big money - corporations and very wealthy donors. They buy politicians and judges. This is not the democracy Abe Lincoln defined as being of, by, and for the people.
Jontavious (Atlanta)
Attorneys and judges have belonged to legal organizations for decades. Nothing new. Simply discrediting a judge for her participation in one of those is just a typical smear of all things conservative, in this case, the legal field
Big Boomer (San Francisco)
@Hari Prasad Trump appointed more than 200 federal judges in his one term. Some were rated by the ABA as unqualified but the GOP Senate voted them in regardless because they were members of the Federalist Society.
John Grint (Sevenoaks, UK)
The political appointment of judges is a major flaw in the US judicial system and the US Constitution.
anon (here)
@John Grint … how are judges appointed in the UK? Wondering how we fell off the path of traditional English jurisprudence.
chambolle (Bainbridge Island)
The alternative is what, select judges by popular vote? That has its own significant downside.
angel98 (nyc)
@anon In the UK: Since April 2006, judicial appointments have been the responsibility of an independent Judicial Appointments Commission.
NYChap (Chappaqua)
Why is everyone on the left going so crazy about this ruling? Trump has not been treated fairly by either the DOJ/FBi in the past which makes his request reasonable to have an unbiased independent team review the documents confiscated from his home to see what the DOJ/FBI is allowed to keep and what they are not allowed to keep by law. Some attorneys who specialize in constitutional law think the warrant may have been in violation of the 4th amendment because it was so broad. In any event, there is no harm in a small delay of the investigation to get Trump and no longer any danger of unauthorized documents getting in the wrong hands becuase the DOJ/FBI has everything there is to be had.
Bran lika (Canada)
@NYChap, what do you mean by “Trump has not been treated fairly by either the DOJ/FBi in the past“? Do you think he was clean? DOJ/FBI didn‘t do anything outside the law to the sitting president?
scottso (Port Charlotte, FL)
@NYChap And how do you know they have everything? What about the empty file folders? I agree he should feel under the gun by the FBI; anyone with his level of abuse of the laws he was supposed to uphold should expect to be under constant investigation to push back on this dereliction of duty.
J. (Here And There)
@NYChap. It’s not just “the left” which views Cannon’s opinion as poorly reasoned and lacking a sound legal basis. Read William Barr’s comments, David Frum and a host of constitutional scholars and jurists who remain true to the rule of law, without regard to the parties involved.
Stephen (BK)
Seems like much of this disagreement could be avoided if judges just didn’t rule of the politicians who appointed them. How has our judicial system not figured that out yet?
PennLawyer (Pittsburgh)
@Stephen : Yes the judicial system provides for such an instance. . The concept is "RECUSAL" - the withdrawal of a judge, prosecutor, or juror from a case on the grounds that they are unqualified to perform legal duties because of a possible conflict of interest or lack of impartiality. The judge could have voluntarily recused herself, or either of the parties to the case, in this instance the govt. agency, could have moved for her recusal.
Maui Exile (Hawaii)
@PennLawyer Appearance of a "conflict of interest" is more than enough to recuse. Sure is an "appearance" here.
pixilated (New York, NY)
I suspect her legacy will include this ruling as an example of judicial overreach, prejudicial, and in places, completely off point. Further, she appears completely unaware of how basic processes involving presidential documents are to be handled and what impact hoarding them might have on national security. She may be a lovely person, but she is way over her head on this one and as she was implanted at the very tail end of trump's presidency, she should have recused herself. When you have the level of criticism from jurists and lawyers on both sides of the aisle, your "high profile" is going to be forever diminished by this very important and poorly reasoned decision.
TheraP (Midwest)
If past President retained executive priories, along with Biden right now, perhaps the sane past presidents could band together and “somehow” decide on some methods to overrule this judge, the circuit court and the Supreme Court. Either that or The Misfiring Cannon needs to be fired.
Big Boomer (San Francisco)
@TheraP Federal judges must be impeached and convicted in the US Senate to be removed from the bench.
TheraP (Midwest)
If past Presidents retained executive privileges, along with Biden right now, perhaps the sane past & present presidents could band together and “somehow” decide on some methods to overrule this judge, the circuit court and the Supreme Court. Either that or The Misfiring Cannon needs to be fired by them. Just a thought experiment. But if the judge anoints trump as having retained power, then so do the others. And there are more of them.
Joe Smith (Chicago)
Some how Judge Cannon sees Trump as the Victim despite the PRA and a lawful search warrant and the fact that he possesses classified documents Trump is not lawfully entitled to. In fact the American people are the victims because our national security has been damaged by Trump’s unlawful actions.
Big Boomer (San Francisco)
@Joe Smith Cannon is also deeply worried about the effect all this may have on Trump's "reputation".
Jack (Nyc)
Just in case anyone who read Dobbs wasn’t paying attention, the American judiciary is a POLITICAL branch. It is also corrupt. Now, what do we as Americans want to do about it?
ultimateliberal (New Orleans)
@Jack We can appoint judges who have never registered for any political party...always remained "Independent" so as to keep their political bent out of the public eye. There was a time when membership in the Communist Party precluded one from ever having any civil service job or military service. Hopefully, the worst discriminatory policies are behind us....
Big Boomer (San Francisco)
@Jack How about doing something to clean up the system of abuse?
Marsha Hammond (Asheville)
The article states:” She got the case after Mr. Trump avoided visiting the issue with the magistrate who approved the search of his Mar-a-Lago estate.” So can we hear some more about how rich people shop around until they get a judge that likes them? Common people get the judge they are assigned as they don’t have the kind of money rich people have to go judge shopping.
Louis Greenstein (Atlantic City)
This is what the end of an experiment in democracy looks like.
Gerard Campi (Edison, NJ)
For the life of me, I just don't understand how handing down a decision for the person who appointed you to the bench is not an ethical dilemma. This judge should have recused herself. Surely there was another Republican-appointed judge who could have heard this case without this obvious conflict of interest.
Pottree (Joshua Tree)
Gerard Campi, please let me explain: They are Republicans and therefore not subject to ethical dilemmas as they have no ethics; if they did, they would not be Republicans. The purpose of the law, the judiciary, and lawyers in the GOP universe is to stretch the limits of what you can get away with. Right, wrong, ethics, and all that other stuff does not apply.
MAC (Mass)
Joe Biden, the current US President, needs to immediately declare that as the only holder of Executive Privilege in the United States that all classified documents retrieved from Trump's compound are to be permanently procured by his executive order and reviewed by the DOJ and that Donald Trump shall never have permission to possess of view ever again. It is time for the POTUS to take control of this Trump Top Secret documents mess, which he alone has the power to do, and stop this ongoing and reckless judical flimflammery.
Susan (CT)
She may have been educated, but like DeSantis, Cruz and too many others, she is flagrantly disregarding what is right. Bending, twisting and disregarding previous rulings and laws doesn't even seem clever.
Walter C. Derrick (West Columbia, SC)
I understand that DOJ is "considering" whether to file an appeal to the ruling requiring a special master. Indeed! An appeal should have already been written and signed, and filed IMMEDIATELY when the ruling was issued.
Jeff (California)
@Walter C. Derrick The problem is that an appeal may go to a Trump appointee who would rule against the US Government because that judge is a Trump appointee. Don't you understand that Trump appointees were picked for their loyalty to Trump, not the law nor the USA.
Jeri P (California)
it's very very simple. Every word, comma, and period of Cannon's decision was dictated to her by the Federalist Society of which she is a member. The GOP does not want Trump indicted before the midterm elections and they have now accomplished that goal.
Within Reason (California)
Her opinion in this case does not make sense to me. Her reasoning, understanding of and application of the law is.....flawed. I can't help but wonder, did she do this deliberately, forcing the DOJ to appeal and thus buy time for Trump?
Honoré Daumier (Dallas)
Appealing this corrupt and unprecedented ruling, DOJ will stand before an appellate court stacked with Trump appointees. Appealing that court’s ruling upholding judge Cannon’s original ruling, DOJ will stand before a Supreme Court stacked with Trump appointees and other conservatives. The process could play out over two or more years, with no guarantee that the stain of Cannon’s flawed decision will be rectified. Merrick Garland may want to proceed with an indictment based on what they already have!
Bartokas (Lisbon)
Judge Aileen M. Cannon might have shown herself to fall way short of meeting the requirements in terms of intelligence and knowledge needed to be a judge. May be she should be sent back to Law School.
RM (Worcester)
@Bartokas This is how democracy dies. Look at Hungary- Orban choked of free press and democracy.
Marian (Phila)
I am hopeful the DOJ will appeal this extremely biased ruling. The incorrectness of this ruling is obvious to almost everyone- including people who are not attorneys. This cannot stand. I doubt the appeal will take more time than trying to come up with an agreed upon master who also has top security clearance. In fact, an appeal might be quicker. Let's get on with it and stop this poser judge from catering to her boss who gave her the job after the election.
nordpack (Boston)
She is out of her league, have no idea what she is doing and it will stay with her for life.
Maani Rantel (New York)
As Lawrence O'Donnell so perfectly put it last night, Aileen (loose) Cannon has just one thing on her mind - the Supreme Court. And by doing what she did, her audition for the top spot on the next Republican president's short list for nominees is secure. And since she is only 41, she can bide her time for 20 years or more, if need be. From that perspective, she is one smart cookie. :-(
Mary Pat (Cape Cod)
Judge Cannon has helped to ensure that no other country will ever again trust the USA to protect their national secrets when we have the courts protecting unstable politicians like D. Trump. Our international allies have good reason to keep us at a firm distance.
Lorrie (Anderson, CA)
What is abundantly clear is the fact that the DOJ and Judge Cannon are giving special deference to Trump. Cannon is a Republican appointee so we understand her behavior. Garland has stated he will apply the law without favor, but he is doing just the opposite giving Trump special deference by not charging him with a crime. Now Garland is being jerked around by a judge selected by Trump to do his bidding, and the delay process has only just begun. Judge Cannon can persist making moves to delay over and over again in an effort to protect Trump, in effect a black mail of the DOJ. The DOJ has only one option and that is to charge Trump with a crime(s) that would move the ball forward and get them out from under a Republican judge who is explicitly protective of Trump. Garland has yet to show he is capable of playing hardball as he persists in giving deference to Trump, as he did when he allowed the documents to stay in Trump's possession for well over a year. Who knows what Trump has sold or promised to our adversaries. The legally flawed approach to Trump's criminal behaviors continues to allow him to evade any accountability. The question remains, will this ever change? Will Garland actually follow through?
anon (here)
The least-qualified person to rule in such a case. Either The University of Michigan is churning out poorly-prepared lawyers, and she should ask for a refund, or Michigan should revoke her JD because she obviously cheated to get it. Either way, it’s a disaster for America. What’s next? Judges without law degrees at all?
Peter M (Fl)
“…cherish our Constitutional democracy.” Wow! It must have been gut wrenching for her to have to go out of her way to ensure that the guy who attempted to subvert the constitution received all the benefits guaranteed by that esteemed document. And whatever happened to ethics? Shouldn’t she have recused herself from hearing a case that involved the person who nominated her to the federal bench? I hope the Justice Department takes this all the way to the Supreme Court so we can watch hypocrisy at the highest level of the judiciary. Will Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Barrett recuse themselves?
Jeff Atkinson (Gainesville, GA)
Maybe there's more behind the judge's ruling than it appears from the news articles. Maybe not. Only way to know is if the gov appeals.
cbindc (dc)
Society, weakening America one judge at a time. National security? A distant second to attaining and keeping Republican elites in power. Comfort to America's enemies.
Joe Baron (Fuquay Varina, NC)
Trump to Aileen Canon before her appointment: "Someday, and that day may never come, I will call upon you to do a service for me..."
Don (WPB)
Was she afraid after seeing other judges being threatened? Living in Trump country can be dangerous if you disagree.
Andrea h (Upstate ny)
This screams conflict of interest. She should recuse herself or be removed from presiding over this case.
Edward Nolan Jr (Rociada, NM)
Seems she’s just a sweet hometown girl. But her latest ruling as a federal judge has caused an uproar among many legal authorities on the left and the right, including former Republican AG Barr. It appears that her ruling in favor of Trump should be contested by the government and overruled forthwith.
1440 (Minutes)
Pundits said Trump undermined his own case. Wrong again. Trump knew he could scuttle the case. With the help of rabid sycophants, he will delay the investigation for years until he can be pardoned or he turns the public against the DOJ. Meanwhile, we may never know what happened to the classified documents that were previously contained in the 48 empty folders found by the FBI.
BC (Arizona)
Many Democrats voted for her confirmation or did not vote. How many Republican senators have voted for Biden’s nominees to federal courts. As usual Democrats play nice and this is what they get. And ah there is thCuban connection always works like a charm.
Mehgit (USA)
@BC Colombia! Not Cuba!
BC (Arizona)
@Mehgit Read carefully! I said a Cuban connection. Her mother fled Cuba under Castro to Colombia where she was born.
Sancho (Los Angeles)
This illustrates an illusion of the Democrats and the false nightmare of Republicans: Latinamerican immigrants are not necessarily "pro-government," or "super-socialists" even pro-immigrant. It always seemed curious that recent previous U.S president fit very nicely the Castro/Pinochet/Chavez/Bolsonaro stereotype.
A Blinkin (Chicago)
Of course, if we're to go with the framers' intent, this judicial scholar would never be permitted to stray from the kitchen. But the Federalists apparently embrace some deviations from their simpleton doctrine
PATRICK (Pennsylvania)
Judge Cannon; if you truly cherish our Constitutional nation of All the people, come forth and discuss the circumstances that appear to indicate you were preplaced to defend Trump, and if not, say so. Your absent words through time will give rise to suspicions. The peace of the nation is at stake.
Dave (Huntsville, Alabama)
She just wrote her ticket to serious consideration to the formerly supreme court at some point in the future. Even if the ruling is overturned on appeal. Smooth move.
Peter Jay (Northern NJ)
Don't you mean the Extreme Court?
A Blinkin (Chicago)
The Chief Justice could intervene and take her off the case as an administrative matter. In such case I'll flap my arms and fly to dc to watch the proceedings
RLW (Chicago)
This judge, if she had had any moral bearing, should have acknowledged that she could not, without prejudice, have fairly adjudicated such a complicated and politically sensitive case that will have far-reaching consequences for the future of the country to which she emigrated. She should have recused herself from ever taking a case in which the person who appointed her was the main subject. She will not be judged kindly by history.
SunInEyes (Paradise)
@RLW - unfortunately, judgements by history is not anything to be ashamed of of anymore regardless of how one's painted.
anon (here)
@RLW … you answered your own question with the phrase “moral bearing.” She’s utterly without it. But isn’t that a feature, vs a bug? Just how Trump likes “his” judges.
Bob Bascelli (Seaford NY)
@RLW Trust me. It won't be in any history book in your neighborhood school. What's ever left of our country will make sure of it.
Jeff (Atlanta)
I'm only a lawyer for 40 years, but I don't understand the need for a special master. I thought that judges normally make the decisions on admissibility of evidence, and similar issues. Is it fair to make the government pay for the judge's salary AND the master's?
A Blinkin (Chicago)
@jeff: special masters can be very helpful in things like discovery disputes, or valuations: ancillary and time consuming. I have no problem with the concept; I have a problem with this use
John Harper (Carlsbad, CA)
@Jeff Trump has probably cost the US taxpayer more money than all previous Presidents combined. Tired of winning yet?
Stephan (Riga)
On with the investigation! Another MAGA erosion of American democracy and the US Justice system. So much for the "Law and Order" party. Laughably tragic. The fact that Judge Cannon did not recuse herself from this ruling is proof there's something rotten here. Appeal the ruling immediately and let US Law Enforcement do its job. There are places for people like Donald Trump and his associates.
Pamela (Maryland)
This new Trump fiasco with Judge Cannon is another example of how Mr . Trump routinely and blatantly flouts the laws of our country, and shows his proprietary view of of everything and everyone in his orbit. The Presidential Records Act strictly requires every single document at the end of a Presidential term be transferred to the National Archives as they belong to us , the taxpayers. Judge Cannon knows this law , and she also knows she should have recused herself due to the obvious conflict of interest as a Trump appointee. Instead , she assists Trump by granting this Special Master , as payback for her Judicial appointment from Trump. The DOJ must appeal this decision.
Pamela (Maryland)
Additional words from Letters from an American , Heather Cox Richardson : “Cannon’s order appears to have been intended to send a message. Bloomberg News legal and political reporter Zoe Tillman said today that seven senior officials who served in Republican administrations, including two former governors, a former attorney general, a former acting attorney general, and a former deputy attorney general, asked to send in a “friend of the court” brief in opposition to Trump’s request. Cannon denied their request, saying the court “appreciates the movants’ willingness to participate in this matter but does not find…[it]...warranted.”
RM (Worcester)
@Pamela Ditto! Cannon is a sold out pathetic corrupt creature who is unfit to serve.
John Jamotta (Hurst Texas)
The real issue, to me, is the extraordinary and hypocritical cherry picking of the justice system. Politicians believe deeply in the justice system when it makes decision that they support and then trash it when they disagree with the court. So Americans lose their confidence day in and day out about the fairness of the courts. We will all suffer the consequences of a culture that steadily unmoors itself from the institutions that are meant to protect democracy.
Milton Lewis (Toronto Ontario)
Trump is a transactional politician. And conducted his presidency that way. You scratch my back and I scratch your back. An exchange of favours. And therefore he would expect nothing less of his judicial appointees. Therefore SCOTUS goes pro-life and bans abortions. And the Cannon provides friendly fire to Trump. And so it goes in the land of Trump.
Pablo Sancho (Berkeley, CA)
This ruling is the result of the long game the Republicans have been playing for decades. Democrats have been asleep at the wheel and this is the end result. Expect more of the same from Federalist Society judges appointed by Trump and obstructionist behavior from Republican lawmakers like Mitch McConnell.
shaff (houston)
@Pablo Sancho No one has been asleep at the wheel. Justices are filled by either direct voting or through representatives who have themselves been voted into office. If you think the system is now askew then you and everyone you know must be voting for appropriate judges or representatives. Look at the current rosters of Congress. It is about even in Democratic and republican reps. During trump there was more GOP representation in Congress. We need more Democratic representation if we want judges who we feel are better judges. Let's get the vote out.
Robert (Out West)
I somehow suspect that whatever happens with the Espionage Act felony investigation, Merritt Garland is more than smart enough to know that what’s in those records has zip to do with the Records Act felonies and the perjury felony for lying to the FBI.
Janny (SE MI)
There should be a conflict of interest rule enforced in cases like this.
Robert (Out West)
I’d like to encourage the Right to keep this hassle front and center right through the November elections. It’ll make a lovely bookend for their desperate scrabbling backwards on abortion rights.
peter h. dohan, md (portland maine)
The degree of Trump fatigue among non-magaheads is beyond bearable. He continuously refuses to go into that good night, probably for reasons of ego. To paraphrase Henry II, will no one rid us of this troublesome ex-president? He does not deserve the fate of Thomas Becket; a quick indictment, trial and conviction with a long supermax prison term will suffice
hayden carter (ludowici)
trumps always doing something he needs to let the real leader do his job trumps needs to smell the roses.trump made disaster and a real leader has to clean his mess up.trump never learns now I see why everyone insults him all the time
Caesius (LINY)
When she said she was seeing herself siding with Trump, before donning her robes, sitting in court and honestly listening to both sides...without prejudice...the fix was in. She showed her cards. Plus, she isnt smart enough for the grift, much less the spot on the Court. Her recent opinion was both shameful and embarrassing. Its a wonder she got as far as she did, with such atrocious writing. But the Federalist Society has only one membership fee. Allegiance to anti democratic rulings. Oh, and lying in confirmation hearings. Every day democracy slips...its grip loosened, incrementally...just like we've been told since the inception of the United States of America. Ben Franklin might have been the first to warn us...and every generation has shrugged and said it could never happen here. Its happening. In broad daylight.
Ann Fabert (Canada)
Judge Cannon's ruling is a clear, unabashed quest to the next far-right extremist Republican president for a Supreme Court seat. Her protection of trump from "reputational harm" is a sad farce. His reputation is long gone, down a sewer he has revelled in for the last 50 years.
David (The Cascades)
The US judiciary has now entered the realm of The Clown Court where the application of the law is solely based on who is involved and their allegiances and position in our society. It honestly raises the question: why would any of us follow the rules or pay our taxes? 
paul (canada)
Perhaps the Democrats could take a page from McConells playbook.. never confirm anyone nominated by your political opponent for any reason .
trebor (USA)
More precisely, Membership in the Federalist Society DISqualifies anyone for a judgeship. It was created by Koch brothers money precisely for this purpose. Its actual practical "philosophy", regardless of its rhetoric, is radically pro-corporate and anti-democracy.
David Venhuizen (Austin, Texas)
This review of course makes it all the more strange why Judge Cannon would have ruled in the manner she has, showing SUCH solicitude toward a known grifter who has already admitted to having illegally taken government documents and holding them in unsecured locations, and totally MAKING UP a hallucinated "right" to executive privilege. Just does not square with all this glowing praise of her. So raising the obvious question, just WHAT is going on here, and why? Is it really as "simple" as she feels compelled to bow and scrape to Fearless Leader? Or was there some quid pro quo that is motivating her? Inquiring minds want to know.
David Venhuizen (Austin, Texas)
@David Venhuizen Oh, by the way, has anyone asked Judge Cannon if she believes Joe Biden is the legitimate President of the United States?
DavidJ (NJ)
trump knew with all his criminal activity he’d have to pack the courts. cannon is just one example. The appeals court has 6 republican judges out of 11. The not anymore supreme court is a useless instrument of judicial prudence. Expand the supreme court Mr. President.
Dan (Southwestern, Ut)
@DavidJ As the old mob bosses would ask-who are the judges we own. Trump owns quite a few. I suppose he asked about their maga credentials.
RB (TX)
If Donald Trump is not already an enemy agent, He sure should be. He's so good at it
Marc Castle (New York)
Either “Judge” Cannon is totally incompetent, or she’s shameless and could care less about the impact of her careless decision, or she’s compromised by Trump, or she’s simply dumb, or all of the above.
tanstaafl (Houston)
All of theses stories citing "experts." Please remember, NYT, that an expert is not omniscient. On most subjects, it is easy to find experts who disagree. There is no line in the NYT between news and analysis anymore. Yet America needs a paper of record, so I am stuck reading NYT and trying to wade through all the muck.
joe (Canada)
It just goes to show that you can go to law school, get a degree and pass the Bar...but it takes a lot more than academic ability to competently preside over a court of law as a judge. It is clear that Cannon has been elevated beyond her competency...similar to the person who appointed her. Birds of a feather?
Cody (British Columbia)
This is what is commonly known as a patron-client relationship.
Walter C. Derrick (West Columbia, SC)
@Cody And just as in another patron-client relationship, the client expects to be paid even if the client doesn't "get off".
Marisa Leaf (Brooklyn)
"Trump Ruling Lifts Profile of Judge and Raises Legal Eyebrows" I would say the ruling discredits the judges profile. It cements her profile as a MAGA stooge nurtured in the arms of the Federalist Society. But I guess for these so called jurists, they do not care about implications for their wider reputations a long as they can continue to be burnished within their little MAGA world. Pathetic on their part, but democracy at large suffers grave consequences.
Wyn Birkenthal (Brevard NC)
Trump degrades whatever he comes in contact with. The Republican Party, the judiciary, unwitting election deniers, the House and Senate, America’s reputation… No institution or person is exempt from his corrosive touch. There is a method that may produce lasting immunity. It consists of felony indictment, prosecution and incarceration. Anything less and the United States will remain at risk. Accepting Trump and Trumpism is an acknowledgment that our nation is in decay and inclined to rot.
Psst (overhere)
I think “she’s a trump appointee “ needs to be taken out of the conversation as it can spin around quick and bite you.
Dan (Southwestern, Ut)
@Psst There is a shoe that would fit that Trump appointee nicely. And she definitely put in on by not recusing herself to prevent any conflict of interest. So, the statement of being a Trump appointee is valid has has bearing.
Walter C. Derrick (West Columbia, SC)
@Psst In normal times, the identity of the nominating President would not be valdid basis for criticizing a judge. But given the overt politicization of the federal courts by Trump and Moscow Mitch, the usual rules admit of many exceptions.
MSM Fan (Texas)
Show me you're a Trump judge without telling me you're a Trump judge.
OLE (mn)
I have always asserted that no one should be appointed a judge unless they have significant jury trial experience---regardless of the party. A judge must understand the dynamic that exists in trial to be in position to judge the propriety of the rulings to make or that one reviews.
Piet (Rowayton CT)
Why would anyone be surprised. The ultimate ConMan is an experienced practioner in the dark art of evading Justice.
Charles Hadden (Oak Ridge, TN)
I'm sure Trumo and his followers are pleased to see pictures of Trump and his estate illustrating an article about Judge Cannon. Could you tone down keeping his face in the news, especially when the news is not directly about him? His ego is fat enough that it doesn't need continuous feeding.
Dan (Southwestern, Ut)
@Charles Hadden It is amusing as we continually see photos of the estate where the man of the people resides and where a good percentage of the magas would never be admitted-unless they fork over a lot of money to the grifter.
T. D. (Ma.)
@Charles Hayden. Yes, it is annoying to be inundated with Trump news 2 years after his departure. The only consolation about Trump being a continuous news feature is that many of my conservative colleagues who voted for him in 2016 (“Oh, don’t worry, he’ll step up to the position “) are now convinced of his continuous grift and utter lack of qualifications. Only those who still buy one of his two “go to” lines for everything that displeases him (hoax and/or witch-hunt) still believe in him. Day by day, like a slow drip, he is losing followers as more emerges about Mar-A-Lago. We’ll see how the latest revelations about the nuclear documents plays out. I notice a silence among many Republican lawmakers. They know how very serious this could turn out to be.
Co (Wisconsin)
Another person who was regarded as respectable in her career, trashes it for tRump power. That’s It !…ask William Barr ; (
Dan (Southwestern, Ut)
@Co Sessions, Mattis, Esper and many more were respected-before the days of working for Trump.
Mostly (Henderson, NV)
My questions are about finding a fair special master in reasonable time. What purpose do they serve beyond burning time? What power do they have, from where?
Sally (California)
Just another Federalist Society member who holds certain prejudices very dear to their hearts.
Sherry (Pittsburgh)
Another unqualified, completely-biased Trump-appointed judge issues an opinion that looks as though it were written by a college freshman- and only then after having to defer her decision while she likely called her pals at the Federalist Society to ask how she should rule. Just ridiculous. hope the appeal is being written!
Bob Bascelli (Seaford NY)
@Sherry The appeal should have been ready to go. The DOJ had to be the only ones thinking this could have gone the other way.
DWS (Dallas)
Are we to expect accused murderers, citing this case, have dead bodies ceased from the county morgues because inditement for murder might hurt the reputation of the accused? This ruling is absurd.
Sam Bufalini (Victoria, B.C., Canada)
Watching 45 get away with it time after time reminds me of when I was a kid back in the '50s enthralled with professional wrestling. How could the referee not see that one of the competitors was clearly cheating, using foreign objects to rake across the eyes? I was so outraged I put a hole in the ceiling of the family rec room. I'm getting that feeling again ...
John Brooks (Dallas, Texas)
Only in America would judges rule solely on whether political paybacks were required. This judge should be disbarred and removed for damaging the integrity of the courts.
Blackcat66 (NJ)
How is she even allowed to hear the case? We have a lying treasonous criminal ex "president" who got caught red handed stealing highly classified top secret documents who inserted this highly unqualified "judge" on the bench. How do we let the subject of an investigation pick their own judges? Shouldn't she be forced to recuse herself? She's putting this country's very safety at risk to protect a criminal. Yes, Donald J Trump IS an actual criminal. None of what he's being accused of is based on speculation. He was caught RED HANDED. There's no actual doubt of his guilt. It's like a bank robber apprehended during a bank robbery. Why are we letting bank robber pick their judge? Also if a judge seemingly lets a bank robber go are they an accessory to the crime? How about if it's nuclear state secrets instead of a bank robbery? How far do we let a compromised unqualified judge endanger ALL of us to protect a criminal???
Marsha Hammond (Asheville)
@Blackcat66 how is it that rich people get to go judge shopping?:” She got the case after Mr. Trump avoided visiting the issue with the magistrate who approved the search of his Mar-a-Lago estate.”
Paul King (Fort Worth, TX)
Is it possible that a Supreme Court nomination was floated her way before Trump went shopping for a forum? Just asking...I am really suspicious of the man.
Ferry Crossing (US)
I think the DOJ is probably relieved they dont have to do anything yet with the Elections looming and a fragile case with many inconsistencies. We've seen this movie before. Its not a "slam dunk" like so many NYT commenters think.
HAR (Fair Lawn NJ)
@Ferry Crossing This case is like getting Al Capone for tax evasion. Improper handling of classified documents is a simple trial of fact.
Maria (Atlanta)
The evidence against trump is so damning, every piece that has come out has made clear that the nation's national security was/is at stake and that there is much damage that we don't know about. The fact that this judge is willing to give this regular citizen astounding privileges that none of us would get is astounding. She seems not to understand the basic tenet of her profession: that NO ONE IS ABOVE THE LAW. Or, she understands it very clearly (apparently, she is competent) and her partisanship is stronger than her service to the country she swore to serve. This should be appealed.
Marsha Hammond (Asheville)
@Maria how is it that rich people get to go judge shopping?
Will Wilkin (New England)
I think it's time for an article on the Federalist Society.
Cargo 200 (Seattle)
Practiced law here for over thirty years. Read the opinion. There is some logic and much manifest concern about the appearance of fairness to mollify Trumpists in her opinion. She seems to have let those concerns override process considerations related to interfering with an ongoing investigation and grand jury proceedings in a coequal court (which she never even mentions!) I don't come away thinking the opinion was out and out the product of corruption or venality (though it's possible, of course), just that she has a weak mind and character, and is not fit for the bench. Or maybe she was scared of the MAGA fanatics. There are, sadly, many poor and cowardly judges. But for the particular case at hand, she may be no worse than many - its just that her stupidity or cravenness has been placed on display for the world this time. Announcing her decision before the hearing or government response obviously did not help the "appearance of fairness," so she clearly means to guarantee an appearance of fairness to Trump, and nobody else. The damage she is doing to the credibility of the judicial system is clear. Sad that she either couldn't see that or doesn't care.
Marsha Hammond (Asheville)
@Cargo 200 in NC we would say:” well, she did go to law school at Duke”—- given its reputation as a flower bed for people with elitist attitudes. There’s Chapel Hill—-& then there’s the Dukies.
MAC (Mass)
Beware the Federalist Society! As an institution it is the front for the Catholic Opus Dei. You may have heard of it referenced in The DaVinci Code. It was once known as the Prelature of the Holy Cross. It is an extremely right-wing conservative group, known at times to be at loggerheads with the Vatican. They are not a big fan of Pope Francis, who back in August stripped Opus Dei of some of its powers. Through Leo Leo (no joke), of the Federalists, the organization is looking to subvert the will of the American people to the will of the Trinity. Their reasoning is that the USA is the most powerful country on earth and if they can gain control of the US government it will give the massive power and leverage to unleash their beliefs and will on the country and the world. But how? Well in Leo Leo's own words, conservatives have hopelessly lost the culture war, but if they can get control of the US Supreme Court they can pretty much take control of the country. And this has in fact happened. Six of the US Supreme Court justices are Federalist Society members, as is Thomas' wife Ginnie, who is also Opus Dei. The Koch brothers were also members, as is Justice Aileen Cannon. When Biden was first elected I was not in favor of stacking the Supreme Court. Increasing the number of Justices to bring the Court more in line with the American's perceptions. I have changed my mind. We need to get this unholy Opus Dei cult subdued before it declares American Democracy unconstitutional.
Mary Pat (Cape Cod)
@MAC Opus Dei is indeed a cult and is a danger to the world at large and they have an extreme hold over the US justice system thanks to Leonard Leo. As to Cannon being a member - women are only welcome in Opus Dei in a subservient role not as equals. With less than 100,000 members worldwide they have an incredibly powerful position in Washington DC and should be feared.
KH (Vermont)
Donald J. Trump v. United States of America is all anyone needs to know.
morGan (NYC)
She might as well add insult to injury and appoint the pillow guy as her special master. And the MAGA world will be grateful to her for life.
bud lemley (wisconsin)
Guess some brown immigrants are OK- as long as they are members of The Federalist Society and registered Republicans.
morGan (NYC)
@bud lemley You nail it.
Chip (Rochester, MN)
Obviously an obscenely under-qualified judge that's firmly embedded in Trump's pocket!
A Blinkin (Chicago)
One definition of a "Judge" fits especially well here: A lawyer who knew a politician
LisaG (South Florida)
She's a disaster and needs to be removed from the bench. Another shill for Trump and an embarassment for Florida. Justice cannot be served when members of the judiciary rule on fealty to a person and not the law (and Constitution). And to think this country welcomed her and her family with open arms and she choses to serve a maniacal authoritarian egomaniac. She should be ashamed of herself, as a woman, a lawyer and an American.
Howard (Buffalo)
The fix is in.
Extremophile (On vacation)
Trump's place is a jail house or a madhouse, not the White House. Nothing here is unfair. This is about fair treatment for all citizens of the USA. If you, or me, or anyone else had stolen just one secret government document, we would already be in jail. Why is he not? There is no reason to tolerate Trump's criminal behavior. DOJ and FBI should have treated him as they do with every other criminal. And hey, a "special master" going through documents with high and highest levels of secrecy? What an idiocy is that?
Victor (Tennessee)
She sounds great until she got into Q-anon.
An Observer (Earthling)
Judge Aileen Cannon cites protection of Donald J. Trump's reputation from damage as a necessary consideration behind her decision in approving a special master to oversee the seized documents at Mar-a-Largo. The following points prove that Trump has next to nothing resembling of a man with decency, ethics, integrity and moral values: - Trump paid $25 millions in settlement of students' claim that they were duped by him (Trump University!). - He literally paid $750 in tax for each of two years during his four years in the White House. He also boasted of being SO SMART in paying little in tax. Mind you, the average American taxpayers paid more in those years. - His son's Scout registration fee of SEVEN dollars was paid out of the Trump foundation. The same foundation was forced to close for illegal using of its charitable funds. - Trump avoided Vietnam war with bone spurs FOUR times, but ARROGANTLY dismissed as trivial John McCain's captivity by the Viet Cong. - Trump insulted the ultimate sacrifices of those who died in the Vietnam war by calling them suckers. - Trump demanded the death penalty for the Central Park Five via a paid ad in the newspaper. After they were found innocent, Trump NEVER offers an apology to them. - He paid $130,000 to keep secret his sexual activity with a porn star while his wife was nursing her new born, (i.e. Baron). The above points are FACTUAL. Trump is totally UNFIT as a person. Much less one with any redeemable reputation!
trblmkr (NYC)
All sounds very cozy down there in Fla.
dlinovaz (Tucson)
"Someday, and that day may never come, I’ll call upon you to do a service for me." Said by Don Corleone or Don Trump?
AR in NC (Raleigh, NC)
@dlinovaz Yes, that line came to me as well.
Robert1580 (Toy land)
The fix was in.
EvaO’Mara (Cleveland, Ohio)
Yet another cheap trick by the ultimate grifter.
Travis (Montana)
flees country being run by dangerous authoritarians under communism only to support dangerous authoritarians under capitalism in another country. well done
David (Kalamazoo)
Criminals in the judiciary, including a couple of rapists on the Supreme Court, are just another nail in American Democracies' coffin with Republican politicians and voters happily swinging the hammer. Democracy, the rule of law, and even common decency are being destroyed by MAGA extremists, which, don't kid yourself, is the majority of Republicans these days.
Chaz (NY)
Of course, another loophole for the snake to slither through. He keeps getting away with his criminal deeds. The investigation into the attack on the Capitol is a joke. Just like the two impeachment trials were a joke. All his crimes are going to go unpunished. Sedition, conspiracy to overthrow the government, incitement to riot and murder. The removal of sensitive documents. All of it will be swept under the proverbial tug. And he will run again in 2024. The whole thing is a joke. It's laughable. It's all just a big waste of time and money. View your comment
APO (JC NJ)
republican judges just make stuff up - rule of law - please.
Inter nos (Naples, Fl.)
Judge Cannon is behaving in the same crooked and unlawful way as her master trump. Shame on her for being such a weak judge and being motivated only by dirty politics and not by the rule of law !
homebody (somewhere in NJ)
"Howard Srebnick, a Miami lawyer who went to the same high school as Judge Cannon, said . . . where she was known as a quiet presence who disliked attention." Unfortunately, Judge Cannon, because of her ruling in the Trump Special Master case, is now receiving attention, much of it from her legal and higher caliber peers, and not in a positive way. Perhaps she 'showed her hand' when, before her final ruling, she admitted she was biased on behalf of the plaintiff. But wasn't that to be expected? Wasn't that why they took it to this court in the first place? I thought that a judge shouldn't just avoid being biased; but also avoid the 'appearance' of bias. She sure didn't do that.
MN (Minneapolis)
@homebody Her reputation is in tatters. How does one recover from such an egregious ruling? She made her bet on the wrong side of history.
The rich can shop for a judge, and in this case a judge beholden to Trump for being appointed. And Clarence Thomas ruled in favor of Trump because he and his wife were part of the plot to overthrow the government. Also, recall that Thomas was first hired in the Reagan administration to discredit the Civil Rights laws, which he has more than delivered on.
Lorrie (Anderson, CA)
@[email protected] Have the Republicans totally corrupted the judicial system, if not totally, but for the most part. This makes it impossible to appeal the biased decision of Cannon. There is no where to go, even the Supreme Court has been taken over by Republican extremists. I wonder if there is any real possibility that the courts will uphold the law.
Gary (Los Angeles)
It boggles the mind how any judge or special master is going to determine if some document is subject to executive privilege. This is a privilege exercised by the president to decide, in his or her judgment, that something should be held in confidence and not disclosed to the public or other branches of government (e.g., Congress) in the public interest. Even if you think Trump should have some input as a former president (I don't), clearly Biden has the final say so. How is a judge or special master supposed to get into the minds of these former and current presidents to make that determination?
Lorrie (Anderson, CA)
@Gary It's irrelevant the documents seized by the DOJ are owned by the U.S. Government, regardless whether they are classified or not, or designated executive privilege. A special master would be clueless to make such a distinction among hundreds or thousands of documents. Judge Cannon needs to clearly define the role of a master, she has yet to do so. Actually due to her express bias she should recuse herself from the case.
paul (canada)
@Gary The special master has to determine which paper are subject to attorney client privilege. Nonsense, but to be expected.
Bronx Urban Scholar (Bronx)
Trump Is a private citizen an EX President He has no executive privilege I expect the DOJ to appeal this Fast
Nadia (Olympia WA)
When facing prosecution, his game plan has always relied on one strategy only: Stall. Entangle the enemy in the law itself and exhaust resources.
Bathsheba Robie (Luckettsville, VA)
I believe that the ABA rated her as "unqualified". An important point which the Times missed. We need term limits for these judges.
Denise (Maryland)
@Bathsheba Robie C'mon, you "believe"? Can you share this evidence? I mean, I believe in God but have no proof whatsoever.
Ann Greene (Millstone NJ)
@Bathsheba Robie considering who wrote the article, i am not surprised the rating was ''missed".
Karen Norris (Fort Worth, Texas)
Considering what we've learned about the organization of the seized documents I imagine Trump himself probably doesn't know what was where; so perhaps a Special Master makes sense in this case. While this may delay the investigation and potential indictment time is still on the side of the Department of Justice. If crimes were committed, (the Espionage Act, Presidential Records Act, etc.) the delay is not going to "un-commit" them. In the meantime, the American people can follow the progress of the January 6th special committee investigation of the insurrection, and the Georgia investigation of election interference and the fake elector scheme. The important thing is that the documents (originals at least) are back where they belong. Except of course for the documents that were missing from the numerous empty Top Secret file folders. But surely Trump will forward those to the FBI as soon as he remembers where he put them. We all saw how responsive he was to the grand jury subpoena.
Colin Scott (Berkeley)
Cannot in any way agree with your "premise".
Karen Norris (Fort Worth, Texas)
@Colin Scott Which one? I was being satirical.
Ed (Sacramento)
She hasn't the slightest interest in following the law. Her sole intent was to delay or prevent legitimate, crucial investigation and prosecution of Trump, in the hope that he'll be reelected, and protected from prosecution. But, it's far more and worse than that. In the hope that he'll be in a position to utterly destroy any last vestiges of democracy, and, without constraint, be in a position to misuse the DOJ and every other government agency as his personal tools, to attack his enemies, and reward his supporters (so long as they absolutely, utterly toe the line). The sole problem that she had to solve was how to word her ruling in a manner "justifying" the outcome that she wanted. She's completely corrupt.
Lawrence Lewis (Ridgefield, WA)
Another instance where political loyalty trumps acceptable judicial behavior. Judge Canon should never have accepted the case, but her love of American only extends to her side of the political spectrum. Political biased judges at every level are destroying our federal judiciary starting at the Supreme Court. Because of a lifetime appointment, they should feel free from any political recriminations but that ship sailed long ago.
sandcanyongal (CA)
Judge Cannon was probably promised a seat on the Supreme Court for the favor. Why else would she open herself to global critique? The 4 years of Trump as President was like having the long arm of a crime boss in the Oval Office. I can't understand why he hasn't been arrested and sent to Guantanamo for interrogation and held there as a flee risk.
Bodie (Los Angeles)
The ABA said she was qualified. Gotta question their standards.
David (Boston)
The answer lies in an immediate appeal by DOJ calling out the obvious inconsistencies with previous rulings and the utter overreach with respect to executive privilege and stopping an investigation that emanated from the Executive branch. Considering the defiance in returning Government records, and the very nature of the documents themselves - this judge has clearly misstepped. Her Federalist card membership must have been immediately extended an extra year for free based on this order.
Steve Hunter (seattle,wa)
To be sure Garland's team is working on the appeal. This judge clearly over stepped her boundaries. She has absolutely no authority to stop or halt the DOJ investigation.
Ricky J (Saint Paul Minnesota)
It is not so difficult to piece out what is happening in this case. A Trump-appointed judge is making a pay off to the man who appointed her, and making up her own laws to justify it. Sad.
Greg (Lyon, France)
The US Constitution has been violated. What happened to the separation/independence of the Judicial Branch? A major internal overhaul is needed to save the United States of America. Is it too late?
Alan (Los Angeles)
This is what corruption looks like.
Tahuaya (Sautee Nachoochee)
A judge appointed by a president should not be allowed to rule on a case involving that president. That is a conflict of interest. She should have recused herself.
damon walton (clarksville, tn)
Don't fret folks, to paraphrase Barr, this is a rain delay. DOJ could still move to indict Trump on a whole of charges from obstruction to the Espionage Act. Its not a matter of 'if' but a matter of 'when' with the DOJ.
Heyjude (Florida)
What makes you say that? All attempts to prosecute Trump go nowhere despite many tries to end his ever increasing bold criminal escapades. The crooked reality TV star has hypnotized and conned way too many people in power to support him, and carry on with the deny, delay, and twist reality infantile defense strategy. It's frustrating to see this injustice go on.
Doug (Wisconsin)
The appointment of judges not subject to election was always one of the great travesties perpetuated by the Trump/McConnel duo. Now the country is stuck with them, with special fear of the Supreme Court in control of religious catholic zealots. People were always skeptical of the legal system, and they have even more reason to be so now.
Susan (Houston)
Judge Cannon mentioned harm to tfg's reputation as a possibility if a special master did not filter out some documents that might be subject to privilege of attorney-client, or personal tax info, or executive privilege. People have strong feelings about Trump. How can his reputation get any worse with those who don't like him? And how could his reputation be damaged among his cult? Trump's reputation is a non-issue.
Ben (San Antonio)
If the DOJ obtained an indictment of Trump, this judge's order would be moot, for a special master could not protect the harm done by an indictment. If intelligence can investigate - get fingerprints, witness statements, etc., after an indictment, there would be no reason they could not share their information with the DOJ.
Paul (Greensboro, NC)
Wake up any remaining honorable Republicans that still exist and shout from the rooftops that all the signs are there to prove that this country is on a fast track towards disintegration. We can thank people like Mitch McConnell, Kevin McCarthy and all the other GOP snakes who enabled this governing cancer to happen. Putin and Xi are doing fine with authoritarianism. That's not what America wants --- supposedly. Let's stop trying to destroy one another. Nobody wants Mutually Assured Destruction.
CKH (California)
It was notable when Garland said he would apply the law without fear or favor. It seems neither was done here.
Karen Norris (Fort Worth, Texas)
Judge Cannon 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.” That may be true, but let's also consider all of Trump's unforced errors that have already put Trump's stigmas in a league of their own. Namely, an affair with porn star Stormy Daniels when his wife was pregnant, the Access Hollywood Tapes, the Howard Stern interviews, the Trump University Racketeering conviction, the Self-Dealing of the Trump Foundation, and the cowering in fear in the White House bunker during perfectly legal BLM protests.
Dave The Wave (Eugene Oregon)
Nixon would have loved this judge.
Derek Stevens (Las Vegas)
Anyone who gets served a search warrant and has their home searched suffers “reputational harm”. Her ruling has elevated Trump to a level of judicial consideration and protection that no other citizen enjoys. Any person under criminal investigation, who is served a search warrant should, if this stands, demand a special master to delay the investigation. Let’s see how that one holds up. No, this elevates Trump above the citizenry. She has demonstrate with this decision that she does believe he is above the law, deserving of more judicial protections than the rest of us proles. We can only hope that the DOJ can find work arounds. For example, can they argue that dusting the documents for fingerprints does not violate the terms of the decision because they are not considering the printed words on the paper but only the surface of the paper?
esp (ILL)
I wonder if this judge has though about how history will judge her. She's young. She may even live long enough to find out.
Slann (CA)
@esp "Tomorrow is promised to no one." Clint.
JMG (Boston)
Question: since Trump illegally removed “property” from the White House, clearly belonging to the US government (one commenter suggested Air Force One to make an extreme point), couldn’t the DOJ bring an indictment on simple theft, without regard to what was in the documents, or how they were classified? It is clear that he has/had them and repeatedly resisted their return. There would be no question of privileged content, just the taking. Wouldn’t he have to defend the theft and/or explain why?
Hermes2 (Port Townsend, WA)
This article explains everything except why she wrote such a seriously flawed opinion to create a special class of American: "former president named Trump." She might nice, and hardworking, and have the required, though minimum, experience to be a Federal Judge, but this is a complete hack job, done simply to benefit a private citizen in illegal possession of government documents. She has been a member of the Federalist society since she was a student, and has been immersed in a certain ideology, which basically states that the government has been on the wrong track for about a century. After this, any time a member of the Federalist Society comes up for a vote every Democrat in the Senate should vote no.
Objectively Speaking (The Universe)
Where oh where are the justices who have the courage to censure those who clearly do not know ‘justice is blind’? Cannon believes in kings and they are above the law making her unsuitable, period. Congratulations goes to McConnell though, not Trump, for what has happened to the so-called justice system. Anyone can be installed, anyone can be influenced but nobody, apparently, has the ability to stop the United States decline because over and over, it is allowing the worst to have power, the worst to rise.
RB (TX)
Judge Cannon is playing with fire here. Donald Trump's reckless behavior is not only putting our national security at risk but also our once stellar (?) standing in the international intelligence community. We have learned the hard way that Donald Trump is untrustworthy with highly classified material and he has apparently now tarred our intelligence agencies with the same brush. Trump needs to be stopped - no question about it. Giving him the benefit of the doubt as Judge Cannon just did only encourages the man. How much more can the country stand of this one man's wrecking crew destructive antics ?
rrb (Chapel Hill NC)
The terms "special master" and another way of saying "old fisherman" proceeded by the word "special" keep getting mixed up in my mind.
Ms G (NYC)
Shouldn’t she have recused herself from this matter, since she was TFG’s appointee?
Lynette (CT)
This is a recurring nightmare we have been living for the past 7 years. Donald Trump has never had to face a consequence in his entire life. He pushes and pushes until he gets his way. This is not his fault, this is learned behavior. However, the adults in the world are responsible for continuing to give into his rants and rages. Please can the powers put in place as a checks and balance step up and hold him responsible before we all to down!!
James Addison (Marquette, Michigan)
I suggest that if she “cherishes our constitutional democracy” she is barking up the wrong tree.
Carlton (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
The judge's reasoning reminded me of the late senator Roman Hruska from Nebraska who once said. "So what if he is mediocre? There are a lot of mediocre judges and people and lawyers. They are entitled to a little representation, aren’t they? We can’t have all Brandeises, Cardozos, and Frankfurters and stuff like that there." The trump admin made that come to life, not just with this judge but about 200 more just like her.
RonR (MA)
“Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, he walks into mine”. At the same time nuclear secrets are found in Trump’s possession Judge Cannon unnecessarily decides to enjoin the investigation. Heck of a coincidence.
Slann (CA)
@RonR But..but..he said, "no Nuclear!" himself, just days ago! What could have happened?!? /s.
RMH (Houston)
Let’s be clear, when a trump-appointed judge is running interference just to drag things out, any gobbledegook will do.
Curmudgeon51 (Sacramento/L.A.)
Federal judges should be barred from hearing cases filed by the ex-president that nominated them for the court. Clearly with the twice impeached ex-president it is a conflict of interest.
Gerard Campi (Edison, NJ)
@Curmudgeon51. I agree. However, we are in uncharted waters here because, to the best of my knowledge, we've never had this happen where a judge had to rule in such a case brought by a former president. What we now have, however, is a dangerous precedent that either party can use to his or her advantage. Common judicial sense said to recuse herself from the case. I have had instances where, in handing up simple indictments, the receiving judge had to recuse himself because of a distant connection to the target. This is no different.
From North of the Border (Ontario, Canada)
“The opinion, I think, was wrong,” Mr. Barr said on Fox News on Tuesday. “And I think the government should appeal it. That Mr. Barr certainly is a clever weasel. His opinion sounds like he totally disagrees with the judge's decision and we should see that he really is a reasonable person. But, what does he want? He wants the DOJ to appeal it which is exactly what Trump and his army of sycophants want. Delay, delay, delay. Possibly for as much as a year or more. Hopefully, most folks will see through this slithering man.
Slann (CA)
@From North of the Border Either way, the delay is on (or DElay, depending on where your tongue was born). Of course the "decision" is an illogical mess, but if allowed to continue, the search and confirmation process of this "special master" (which the judge will herself over see (!)), can take an immeasurable amount of time. THEN, there's the actual special master process of document review (again, overseen by this judge (!)), which could take us into the next presidential administration. This must be like driving off a cliff fells like.
Saluda (SC)
Judge Cannon is a Federalist Society product appointed by Trump. She was approved by the GOP- controlled Senate 9 days AFTER Trump lost the 2020 election. She should have recused herself from this case because it reeks of her actively helping a man who stole top secret documents from the White House and then hid them in his hotel, and who also gave her in a cushy, high-paying, lifetime job. Cannon's stated concerns about "stigma" and "reputational damage" to Trump are laughable.
JM (San Francisco)
Leave it to Donald Trump to set up some second year, rookie judge to take the fall for what future law classes will study as the most egregiously flawed and blatantly biased ruling in Florida history. With the growing outrage and highly negative reviews of Cannon's decisions, why is no one recommending she be brought up for judicial misconduct and review? That's what's wrong with this country. Everyone talks about but NO ONE DOES ANYTHING TO STOP THE CRAZINESS!
H. Clark (Long Island)
If Merrick Garland does not issue indictments soon (within hours or days, not weeks or months) then all will be lost. Then we should just fold up this charade and call it a lost cause Fascism will have triumphed over democracy .That's apparently what everyone wants. We surrendered to MAGA, to an illiterate gangster, and to the whole Far Right contingent of insurrectionists, seditionists and traitors. What a pity. It was interesting while it lasted.
Constitutionalist. (New York City)
According to the law, and I don't mean the legal, be advised the legal system in the courts is not law so quit confusing the two..For you BAR attorneys out there. Who parade as officers of the Court under the Esquire of the Crown. You know that little thing called patents of nobility. Look that up in the Constitution. ONLY A STANDING PRESIDENT CAN PROVOKE EXECUTIVE PRIVILEGE. So what does that tell you. Why don't you try reading the new edition of the 2016 law of war manual.That Federal judge was just following the legal statutes, she's not going to make you people prevy to the truth. She's part of the bar association as well. And she's a federalist, many of our founding fathers were Federalists. You bar attorneys can throw your legalese around all you want, as well as you citizens, out there who do not understand or know your rights under the Constitution(LAW). But that does not make it LAW, you can hide whatever you want under statutes and codes, to hide the fact that the courts jurisdiction does not leave any room for the Constitution which is the law of the land. You can only hide these facts from the people so long until they figure it out. And while they're figuring that out they'll finally realize that Trump is the standing president because the district of Columbia and "the United States corporation" is bankrupt. Biden is president of the federal zone which is bankrupt, he no longer has any power. Neither does the legislature, so we are no longer a democracy.
Robert (Out West)
I dunno what Constitution it is that you’re reading—Lower Slobbovia’s?—but I do know that Franklin, Paine, Washington, Adams and a whole passel of others were not Federalists. And also that Madison and Hamilton would have stared in horror at today’s Federalist Society and its shenanigans. Something to do with an independent judiciary, perhaps.
Doug (Virginia)
Duh, of course she is a member of the Federalist Society. If you study who this 'Society' is you will discover a group that is a ultra-conservative legal lobby that reminds me of the John Birch Society. That 'less government' aka 'less regulation' belief. They just received a 1.7 billion donation to an already financially strong legal lobby. What is disturbingly concerning is their published mission statement which reads, "to reform the legal order"(in America). That statement should concern everyone!
Josefina Delage (Miami)
There is a reason why she was picked by TFG lawyers and by him to request a special master.She is not even in the MAL district. Maybe a thank you for being picked as a judge for life.
David Jacobson (San Francisco)
When will this ever end? When will someone have the decency to indict this criminal?
once a blue (Connecticut)
The issue of executive privilege is bogus. The concern is not with the content of the documents but with the handling of them. If any document is identified as being covered by executive privilege then such a document relates to Mr. Trump's official duties while president. And any such documents are not his property and he was not free to take them with him when his term expired. So it is his handling of the documents not their content that is in question. On a second issue: Mr. Trump's attorneys have stated that Mr. Trump cooperated with the DoJ and the National Archives, and thus all documents that were turned over to the DoJ prior to the search of his Florida home were given with Mr. Trump's cooperation and do not require any Master to examine them for privilege. Privilege claims do not apply to documents that were given to the DoJ with Mr. Trump's cooperation. At best privilege can only apply to documents that were not cooperatively given to the DoJ.
Anita (Oakland)
How did Trump “avoid” the original judge? I’m sure I’m not alone in wanting to know that.
Jim (Placitas)
So, here we have a fully qualified judge, respectful, conscientious and diligent by all accounts, nominated by Donald Trump and confirmed by a Republican Senate, who then issues a ruling that even Bill Barr says is legally untenable. Where else have we seen fully qualified judges, nominated by Donald Trump and confirmed by a Republican Senate, who suddenly seem to lose the ability to issue rulings based on legal standards and precedent? "Special" master, indeed, for a "special" subject of a federal investigation, with "special" privileges when it comes to the law. Judge Cannon said it herself, in so many words: Donald Trump deserves "special" consideration because of who he is.
MN (Minneapolis)
@Jim Ah no... we have an UNQUALIFIED judge according to the ABA who was somehow confirmed by the Senate.
David Venhuizen (Austin, Texas)
@Jim Yeah, so much for the rule of law.
NA (NYC)
@Jim In fact, Cannon was the only one of Trump’s May 21, 2020 judicial nominees to be rated “qualified” by the ABA. The other three were rated “well qualified.”
George Kafantaris (Warren, Ohio)
An appeal should be pursued right away. Judge Cannon’s ruling undermines not only the case against Trump, it also undermines future cases against others. And this is the greater danger -- the erosion of our judicial system on which all of rights depend. So let the appellate process run its course -- delays notwithstanding. Too much is at stake to simply let the decision stand unchallenged.
Jim Osborne (Los Angeles)
It’s not that easy- There are many tactical challenges that have to be resolved before deciding whether to appeal. Not the least of which is that the time to hear an appeal- and the time to issue a ruling- is solely within the discretion of the Court of Appeal. Imagine the case languishing for another year before a 3 judge panel of Trump judges. And then having to appeal that possibility terrible decision to Trump’s Supreme Court?
Eray (AZ)
@George Kafantaris But isn't this all part of the Big Tent design? Trump and the other Republicans have managed to stack the courts with anti-democracy agents. So letting legal proceedings play out only increases the precedent-setting damage being done to the People.
Roger (MN)
I’m amazed at how many commenters actually think judges are expected to recuse themselves because of who nominated them (not appointed), as if judges don’t hear cases all the time involving the officials or party or sitting Administration that nominated or voted them in.
Jim Osborne (Los Angeles)
That’s correct but you never see a decision in a criminal case that is based on “ possible damage to reputation “ as grounds for halting an investigation! Imagine a mafia kingpin arguing in Court that the FBI investigation into his drug supply network should be halted because it could ruin his reputation! That is in essence what this judge ruled for Trump- it’s not just the grant of a special master for a phantom principle- she halted the investigation!
Bob (DC)
@Roger 99.99% of judges NEVER preside over a case involving the personal criminal liability of the person who appointed them.
Gerard Campi (Edison, NJ)
@Roger I'm sorry but there is a world of difference between hearing cases involving members of the same political party as the one that nominated (and in this case, confirmed) you and hearing a case involving the specific individual that nominated you. It looks bad. It looks like quid-pro-quo. And before you all lose your minds over the quid-pro-quo by saying "how could Trump have predicted that this would happen", just keep in mind that if anything were to happen to Trump, it would happen in Florida. I have worked with judges who had to make these very decisions and they are handled on a case-by-case basis. Ethics should still play a role in judicial proceedings.
Robert O (St. Louis)
There is, based on the uncontested facts, a case that would already have led to multiple felony charges against anyone but Trump. Yet this judge has ruled as if the Justice Department's conduct is suspect. I can draw only one conclusion from this powerful circumstantial evidence.
David Venhuizen (Austin, Texas)
@Robert O Okay, I'll bite. What is that one conclusion? That Judge Cannon is tainted, compromised in some way? Come on, dish. Thank you.
Taxlawguy (Canmore)
Politicizing judges is the beginning of the end of the rule of law. If this ruling us really so wrong, it should be reversed at appeal. If there are concerns about apparently biased judges, change the appointment process - but don't attack judges.
RDP (NYC)
Appealing the judge's ruling creates delay and has risks. Another approach for the DOJ is to return the vast majority of the 11,000 documents (newspaper clippings et al) to Trump (as it did his passports). DOJ could also return those it believes are covered by attorney-client privilege. The special master will then have only several hundred documents to review which should substantially shorten the review period.
Jack (College Park, Md)
Simple payback for getting her job. Appeal the ruling while trying to find a person with the necessary security clearances and open mind if her ruling stands. The Federal government should be able to proceed with both paths. We don't need this to drag on for months to come.
Somethingtosay (LA)
I have been a lawyer for almost 40 years. I STILL do. not understand how this motion came before this judge and not the original jurist handling the case. It is bizarre to say the least.
David Lange (North Carolina)
@Somethingtosay I have been a lawyer for almost 60 years. Different proceedings raising different issues can mean different venues and different judges. Complex procedure, but nothing bizarre about it.
David Venhuizen (Austin, Texas)
@Somethingtosay When you are "special", you can do special things like that, it would seem. Trump has to be one of the most privileged folks in U.S. history, vis-a-vis the "justice" system.
Fred (Seattle)
The Mar-a-Largo raid is happened almost two years after Trump left office (and conveniently before the midterm elections). Now the sensitive government documents are in Federal lockdown. I don’t see the urgency to not let “due process” play out if it took two years to act in the first place? If the judicial ruling isn’t sound then an appeals court can reverse it, or the Special Master does their thing and the process moved on. Either way, if this was urgent the the FBI should have been at Trumps last year.
Aaron (Phoenix)
You do realize that once Archives realized the documents were missing they were asking for quite some time, and Trump and his lawyers were being dishonest about what they had returned and what he still had. Trump’s lawyer lied and said everything had been returned (or, more likely, Trump lied to her), hence the FBI had to go seize the documents themselves. What don’t you understand about all this?
Bob Bascelli (Seaford NY)
@Fred A few clarifications. First, it was a search, not a raid. Second, they asked for these documents for over a year, but since he stole them, he wanted to keep them, regardless of the law. Third, due process has never been in question. Fourth, the only people who think the Judicial ruling is sound are Ms. Cannon and Mr. Trump. All her peers know better.
Lawrence Lewis (Ridgefield, WA)
What makes you think that the appeals court or even the Supreme Court will not make a similar political decision? The federal judiciary is broken!
D (M)
For minority rule to truly be successful the party in power has to control the courts. Trump did a fantastic job filling the courts with judges. The Supreme Court will likely remain conservative for another generation and many of the lower courts will as well.
David Venhuizen (Austin, Texas)
@D All it will take to "flip" the Supreme Court is a Clarence Thomas heart attack and a Samuel Alito car crash and/or Amy Coney Barrett getting very aggressive breast cancer and/or Brett Kavenaugh drunkenly falling down the stairs, or any other set of untoward events that happen to people every day. We can dream.
Red (NJ)
@D Correction: McConnell and the Federalist Society did a great job filling the courts with judges. The former guy just sharpied anything they put in front of him.
Mikes547 (Tolland, CT)
The judge is probably hoping that Trump will be elected in 2024 and nominate her to the Supreme Court when a vacancy occurs, something he is certainly capable of doing.
angel98 (nyc)
From what I have read it seems she is in way over her head and has no experience in this field. At best is possibly taking (or being pressured to take) advice from less than trusty-worthy sources. How did she get involved? Or is this whole debacle designed to shunt it up to the Supreme Court, a court that has judges that even less people trust to be intellectually honest or behave with integrity, and that do not have the well-being of the nation (nor democracy) in mind. Reminds me of that obscure Trump appointee who refused to sign a letter that would allow the transition team for President-elect Joe Biden to officially get to work. Do we now have an answer to that delay - too busy packing up top secret files, and incriminating evidence in government owned papers to whisk off to MAL at Trump's direction.
David Lange (North Carolina)
This account strikes me as fair and honest. I'm grateful for that. In my opinion there are no "experts" in this matter. And that includes the former Attorney General. There are no precedents, only process, and in this case the process offers an approach without a clear outcome. The law is like that, sometimes. And when it is, what matters most are judges who are fair and honest, with a clear sense of what it means to be a judge charged with finding their way along an uncharted path. In such a case the judge is guided by nothing more than time-honored methods of legal reasoning. Judge Cannon seems to fit that description to a tee. I think ad hominem criticisms of her are contemptible.
Leonard (Chicago)
@David Lange, there might not be precedents of former presidents in this situation, but there are precedents. I think it's fair to raise an eyebrow that the judge is giving Trump special treatment and to question her "legal reasoning" for doing so. His reputation??
joe (Canada)
@David Lange Well it's interesting that you assert "there are no experts" before offering your "opinion" about her legal reasoning. Presumably this becomes a sort of reverse-self-validation of your own "opinion"? Bill Barr - Trump appointee extraordinaire - begs to differ as do numerous other legal "experts". Remember...Opinion is the wilderness between knowledge and ignorance.
David Venhuizen (Austin, Texas)
@David Lange REALLY, she fits that description? How is it then that a whole range of folks with varying political bents, even Bill Barr for godsake, are saying her ruling is rather questionable? This is anything but ad hominem attack, this is simply questioning her legal reasoning, how well she did apply the time-honored methods of legal reasoning. As to whether there are no precedents here, yes it's clear that the one thing for which there is no precedent is how Trump has behaved. Yet despite that, he gets such "special" treatment, per Judge Cannon just because of a title he once held. Just HOW is that "time-honored methods of legal reasoning", to single out one person for "special" treatment that no one anywhere ever got before, at least that we can point to -- exactly because there are no precedents for Trump's behavior. It strikes me that no one seems to have asked Judge Cannon if she believes that Joe Biden is the legitimate President of the United States. How about somebody does that?
Ed C Man (HSV)
It appears Mitch McConnell and his fellow Republican Senators are starting to see political payback for their far right Court packing efforts whenever they were in the majority.
MN (Minneapolis)
@Ed C Man I suspect Mitch is not pleased to see a judge help the tfg and his counsel in this matter. Mitch wants something not attached to him personally that eliminates tfg from future office.
Ed C Man (HSV)
@Ed C Man This is the kind of political action voters can expect to see whenever they give Republicans a majority in Congress.
AlNewman (Connecticut)
I can imagine Judge Cannon’s response if she were asked whether Biden was legitimately elected. I can also imagine that with this decision, she has her eyes on the Supreme Court. This ruling is why our country can’t risk another Trump, or for that matter a DeSantis, presidency.
Both Sides (Colorado)
The Federalist Society cranked her out of their widget machine based on very narrow metrics, wrote a check and Ta Da! This is the result. And this is exactly what they paid for. And we can expect more of these widgets to rule not under the Common Law but random, location-based customary laws that don’t follow any rhyme or reason and have already made a mess in courts across the country. These judges rule how they are pressured to rule. The DOJ should should appeal and I look forward to reading that appellate brief.
vishmael (madison, wi)
As Federalist Society opened floodgates to wholly arbitrary interpretations of Constitution via fictive "originalist" ruse, entire US judicial system is now delivered to the partisan whims of favored and likely sycophantic appointees, determined and permitted by legal precedent and liberty to preserve the power structure that brought them to eminence and to maintain their positions within. The fall off the cliff is just beginning.
shimr (Spring Valley, NY)
That Judge Cannon joined the Federalist Society in 2005 while a student and maintained those ties even much later at least until her confirmation as a Judge puts her into the category of extreme right-wing judges who tend to support MAGA policies. This making our judicial system an institution with too much extremist philosophy was the handiwork of Trump and McConnell and will last for a long time, since federal judges serve for life. We should not be surprised at the denial of abortion rights by our judicial system. Expect the denial of rights in a more general sense in the future. This decision by Judge Cannon is typical of what extremists will consider just. Deeply worried that the MAGA leader may suffer some loss of reputation (Huh? Is that what she said???) she agreed to allow a special master to delay, and delay, the investigation. Delay is a tactic Trump knows how to use. Delay allows him to squirm out of criminal situations. So the judge Trump appointed will let him have his way. . I guess Trump is above the law.
Hub Harrington (Indian Springs, AL)
Appeal they must. But it’s worth remembering that trump and McConnell have also packed the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals with a majority of Federalist Society, imperial presidency, true believers. It doesn’t bode well.
Howard Herman (Skokie, Illinois)
Judge Cannon was wrong to emphasize Donald Trump’s position as a former President. While it is true that he is and always will be a former President, in the eyes of the court he should be just another American facing a legal matter. What is important here, and what should be emphasized, is whether or not Mr. Trump violated any laws by his taking of this documentation. And the investigation of this should not be paused or hampered in any manner. We need to know exactly what individuals or organizations may have our secret information and the details of how they may have obtained them. The planning of harm against our country and its interests may already be underway. And this is another reason why Donald Trump should not get any special consideration here. We will continue to hear from Mr. Trump and his allies that he is being singled out and severely persecuted because of this matter, that this is no different than not returning an overdue library book, as an incredible and preposterous argument one of his attorneys made. Stick to the heart of the matter. Don’t be deflected off course. This is a very, very serious situation.
Mathew D goodrich (Portland Or)
I imagine an appeal is exactly what the Trump team wants in order to keep appealing all the way to Trump’s personal Supreme Court. The DOJ should put a time table on Trump’s review and move on. Appeals will stretch into the next administration, and that is what Trump wants.
Gerard Campi (Edison, NJ)
@Mathew D goodrich Agreed. Let it play out.
Marge Keller (Midwest)
"Trump Ruling Lifts Profile of Judge and Raises Legal Eyebrows" It's not difficult to assume that Trump was planning for something like this all along, which is why he paved HIS way with various federal judge appointees. He was hedging his bets, making sure he had specific people in place in case his plethora of dealings went sideways. And here those appointees probably thought Trump was elevating their status because they would make excellent judges. Of course they would because they would be biased and fighting for HIM, even when alleged illegal actions were taken. Vintage Trump - use people only to help himself.
Philip Roberts (Portland, OR)
Trump has been singularly loyal toThe Federalist Society of which Cannon is a member. It played a key role in his Supreme Court selections. Some members even argued the Mueller investigation was unconstitutional. However, there has been some splitting on the issue of removing members who sought to invalidate the 2020 Presidential election results such as Ted Cruz. However, I do not believe there have been any expulsions from the group as a result. So one can conjecture what the sympathies of this judge are with respect to (former) Executive deference, particularly for a conservative Republican President extremely loyal to her cadre. It is possible Ms. Cannon believed that the political ramifications of the investigation justified tipping the legal scales to Trump so as to avoid the appearance of it being a "witch hunt." But the legal basis of her ruling is extremely weak and by giving credence to Trump's request for a Special Master- she called into question her own objectivity and legal abilities. Her decision is such the Justice Department may not appeal. If she tried to stop the DNI investigation the Justice Department would most certainly appeal. So her decision is the "best" delay tactic Trump could get and not guarantee an appeal. If this is the "ruse"- the Justice Department should call her on it and appeal.
Daniel Paine (Los Angeles)
This report ends with a seemingly misleading or manipulative note insinuating that Judge Cannon's ruling is impartial and justifiable by virtue of her childhood experience or ethnic background. As many legal experts have decried, her ruling is a clear act of judicial activism, obstructionism, and radicalism, indicating an attempt to interfere with DOJ's ongoing investigation and forestalling a potential indictment of Trump. In so doing, she has not only put Trump above ordinary citizens but also above the law while also putting Trump’s personal interest above national interest. The judge's hidden political agenda is conspicuous by its absence in the letter of the ruling: to clear legal obstacles to Trump's eventual return to the White House.
Philthy (Eastern Arctic)
The reporting fails to mention that Judge Cannon was, apparently, randomly selected to hear the Special Master arguments although we don't know how many justices were in the Circuit Court pool she was selected from (2?) and we certainly don't know why she chose to hold the hearing in West Palm Beach (a 12 minute drive from Mar-a-Lago) instead of in her home court 70 miles away (a symbolic act for Trump and his publicity seeking defense team that an The Apprentice show producer would be jealous of). We also don't know why she clearly decided to appoint a special master before hearing any arguments from the prosecution. I get that she may be unusually polite with defense lawyers but shunning and shaming the prosecution team like this because Trump kept the nuclear codes in the same box with his blood sugar test results seems entirely unprecedented and highly questionable from an "impartial" justice, regardless of her obvious adherence to the unitary executive dogma.
MN (Minneapolis)
Judge Cannon was deemed unqualified by the ABA and yet was confirmed with ~11 Democratic Senators at the end of 2020. It is an extraordinary travesty to have unqualified judges be given lifetime appointments by the Senate. There must be a more impartial and objective process than the whims of Senators.
Gman (Cal)
Bill Barr said the decision is wrong. There was so little legal basis to her opinion that the personal insights to her life are informative. Child of anti-Castro Cubans - perhaps she is projecting her distaste for that regime onto the DOJ which has provided every bit of due process that trump is due. And this is a case about stolen top secret documents not tax records. As others have said, she punted the executive privilege question. Giving the system to work is fine but she needs to firm up her opinions so the Shrem can work efficiently.
Daniel Paine (Los Angeles)
This report ends with a seemingly misleading or manipulative note insinuating that Judge Cannon's ruling is impartial and justifiable by virtue of her childhood experience or ethnic background. As many legal experts have decried, her ruling is a clear act of judicial activism, obstructionism, and radicalism, indicating an attempt to interfere with DOJ's ongoing investigation and forestalling a potential indictment of Trump. In so doing, she has not only put Trump above ordinary citizens but also above the law while also putting Trump’s personal interest above national interest. The judge's hidden political agenda is conspicuous by its absence in the letter of the ruling: to clear legal obstacles to Trump's eventual return to the White House.
Lawrence Rubin (Buffalo, NY)
I am not certain that I get all the outrage over Judge Cannon’s decision… with two exceptions - (1) She needs to set a deadline for the completion of the Special Master’s review of the documents in question. I suggest 11/10/2022, which would get us past the November elections…… (2) The Special Master should not in any way make decisions about Executive Privilege concerning a former US President other than Executive Privilege does not apply to any of the documents in question. Executive Privilege involves only a sitting President, which Trump is not. Moreover, how can Executive Privilege be asserted against the Executive branch of our government?
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