Judge Gives Trump a Special Master

I expect an appeal. See “Judge Grants Trump’s Request for Special Master.”


A federal judge on Monday ordered a halt to the Justice Department’s review of materials seized from former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, describing a threat to institutions and the risk of media leaks that could cause harm to Trump.

“Plaintiff faces an unquantifiable potential harm by way of improper disclosure of sensitive information to the public,” U.S District Court Judge Aileen Cannon wrote in a 24-page ruling issued on Labor Day.

I haven’t read it yet, but here’s the ruling. And it’s a bit rich that the judge is so concerned about “improper disclosure of sensitive information to the public” after Trump may have been using classified documents as party favors at his country club.

The New York Times is saying that the judge’s order does not affect “a separate review of the documents being led by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.” So the damage assessment is continuing.

It’s not clear to me if any consideration has been given to show this special master might be and what sort of security clearance the special master must have. (Update: I see here that Judge Cannon has ordered both camps to submit their proposed candidates for special master by September 9th. What happens if Trump proposes somebody who may be a security risk? What happens if the judge goes with Trump’s pick?)

Jennifer Rubin wrote last week,

 U.S. District Court Judge Aileen Cannon, a last-minute Trump nominee jammed through during the 2020 lame-duck session, seems to be contemplating a special master to review the documents one by one to see whether there is some basis for blocking them from prosecutors, even as the intelligence community feverishly conducts a national security review. (Trump is bizarrely asking the court to block the Justice Department from seeing what intelligence reviewers already are examining. One longs for the “unitary executive theory” to be applied consistently.)

But the real issue, Rubin says, is that Trump’s actions have created a national security crisis, and the nation needs to start acting like it. This is not primarily just a political story or even a legal story.

13 thoughts on “Judge Gives Trump a Special Master

  1. Trump has already lost the battle. The hook is in. The crimes that Trump stands to be charged with are not dependent on the content of the documents. So his attempt to create an illusion of governmental impropriety is just a delaying tactic designed to muddy the waters.

     It should be viewed as similar to tourament Marlin fishing… the longer the throphy fish holds out and struggles against being reeled in, the greater the prize for the fisherman.


    • Rubio forced to play defense for the former guy instead of going on the offense about inflation and gas prices etc., ha ha! May they all find their mid term talking points and strategeries effed up by having to cover for the former guy.

  2. tRump handpicked a Federalist Society Judge who he appointed to hear his appeal.

    Appeals of that decision go to the very conservative 11th Circuit Court to which tRump appointed six of the current judges.

    11th ruling will get appealed to the Supreme Court thru Clarence Thomas who is the supervising Supreme for the 11th.

    Hearings, more hearings, delays…

    I won't be totally surprised if it all ends up in the Supreme Court and they overlook/reverse long held SC decisions and other norms of American democracy since its founding.  Probably depends on if Alito sees a White Christian goal to further.




  3. Swami,

    It's kinda silly to argue over any "storage" problems when you have someone planted on the inside at the only nearby lock company.

    As a matter of fact, she'll have the key for every door you need opened – or locked back up, for that matter.

    Did tRUMP hope that a case involving him go to a judge who he'd put on the federal bench?


    Of course he did, you big silly!!!!!

    tRUMP MAY BE MANY, MANY THINGS.  But he's certainly not stupid enough to ignore steering an issue to a person who he put on the federal bench for a lifetime gig.

    I wish KARMA would visit this judge. 

    In time, that is.  KARMA should take all the time karma wants, before scouting, and then completing her mission. Completing it, “with extreme prejudice.”

    I just hope this judge's conscience won't let her get a good night's sleep for as long as she lives.  Not for a night!

    In five hours Labor Day weekend week will be history.

    Starting tomorrow, it's "Politics Time!!!!!"

    We need to focus our energies if we liberals hope to gain seats in the US.  House & US Senate.  AND State legislatures and Governor's offices!

    That's critical for the next 6 to 10 years.

    Do what you can for help that's badly needed!

    I'll be makng phone calls.

  4. The ruling stinks to hell and back. WhatevertRump paid, he got his money's worth.

    At least in theory, allowing a bad decision to stand establishes a precedent. This would throw up roadblocks to allowing evidence from a search of any liberal. (On what basis does the court presume a sliding scale of restrictions depending on the status and stature of the accused?) 

    Not saying what the rules are gonna be for the special master should force an appeal – the judge seems inclined to apply executive privilege for the special master WTF??!! He's the former guy – he has no executive privilege. Suggesting it might apply means the question is how biased the special master is. Maybe they will give the job to Lindsey Graham. Why hide the intent?

    With all that said, I concur with Swami in the first comment. The evidence is the Top Secret documents which are inadmissible except as sealed evidence that it was important stuff.  The testimony of CIA and FBI experts regarding the damage done by handling national secrets as party favors will either not sway the jury or hang tRump. Everything else is foundational or icing on the cake. 

    What tRump really wants is the identities of the person(s) who gave information to the feds. If he can't get t them, he's sunk (assuming there are witnesses to a shell game with Top Secret stuff and video to back it up.) I really think the whole strategy for tRump is delay and become POTUS in 2025. 

    The problem is that (on the one point I agree with the judge) an indictment will do irreparable harm to a presidential bid. The cult will become more violent which will offend even conservative voters. The target(s) at random will be cops, wherever the cultists can pick one off. tRump won't condemn it and that will force most GOP candidates to denounce fascist domestic terrorism or be accused of aiding them. 

    There's two factors that make a coup attempt in 2024 (which looks likely) to likely be a failure. First, the fascists do not control the media. They have outlets that support them but they do not have the mechanisms to silence the truth. Second, the federal cops, FBI, and CIA and because these clowns are mentally impaired, even local cops will be targets. The military will not join a tRump coup attempt. As I read my history of revolutions, you need both of those and the press is not cowed and the cultists are making targets of the cops.

  5. You would have to be really special to even think of taking that master job. I would suggest the job should come with a chauffeur and a little yellow bus.  I would do it, but I just took a high paying position as a lightning rod repairman who works during thunderstorms.   It seems like a much safer and sensible career move.  

  6. As I understand executive privilege, it addresses a separation of powers issue.  The legislative branch's need for facts to make laws is not unlimited; some things must remain confidential for the executive branch to function. 

    So what is Trump even claiming?  Nothing less than a "separate but equal" presidency in Florida.  And this judge just gave it life with her ruling.

    The ruling needs to be overturned, and the judge impeached.     

  7. I need some help from the more expert folks here.  I'm baffled by the judge using this excuse to grant the request for a special master:
    '  “Plaintiff faces an unquantifiable potential harm by way of improper disclosure of sensitive information to the public,” U.S District Court Judge Aileen Cannon wrote…'
    What is the legal basis for this statement by the judge? IANAL.  I understand that there is legal basis for suing someone (libel? slander?) due to significant reputational harm arising from willful spreading of lies (the Dominion case against election deniers). But the case in this special master request is about reputational harm that would arise from the revelation of truths. Is there any legal basis for protecting a person from reputational damage caused by secrets held by that person about things that he/she actually did?

    If not then this is a Trojan Horse.  Everyone will get all tangled up in the details of the judicial review processes and miss the fact that a legal precedent has been established which grants a politician the right to prevent the public from knowing the truth about his/her actions.

    In other words, does HRC have legal standing to sue all the parties that made public her "deplorables" comment?

  8. Here's my next question for y'all.  In those boxes that were legally seized in a proper law enforcement search, if there were documents that actually do not belong to the government (i.e. notes from a conversation with political leaders after January 2021), could it be reasonable to have a special master identify those and return them to TFG?  (I'm not defending TFG, just asking a legal question). It strike me that the folks talking about this stuff on legitimate TV tend to assume ALL of the documents removed were govt property.  The one exception we see is the passports that were returned. Did the people who executed the search look at every single document and only take the ones that were potentially govt property?  The search is widely talked about as an Archives driven action. (NARA) 

    I'll be glad to be corrected about this.  But if these waters are muddy, then my mind goes to this: did the legal team for team autocracy advise TFG to intermingle the stolen govt documents with clearly random non-govt documents?  Specifically to give TFG a way to delay delay delay until he had a chance to throw his Hail Mary pass in the 2024 POTUS race.  Hmmm.

  9. More help, please. I want to talk about two privileges mentioned by the judge: Attorney-Client Privilege and Executive Privilege.  I don't think either of those is explicitly established in the Constitution.

    I have heard that attorney-client privilege does not apply in criminal proceedings and investigations.  We are all aware that the SC recent clarified that executive privilege cannot be asserted by a former POTUS.  So that would seem moot.  But would any former POTUS have standing to assert executive privilege over documents created during his/her term and pertaining to discussions that he had with advisors during his/her term? IMHO, executive privilege should not be allowed to hinder criminal investigations at any level.  Regardless of political party, I think the public has a compelling right to know whenever a public official has broken the law or if there is probable cause to believe the law has been broken.  

    Whether past or present, and candidate for public office SHOULD suffer extreme reputational damage if he/she has broken the law or has gotten away with breaking the law on a technicality. 

    If we can manage the grand jury system (which we do just fine) then there are certainly ways to prevent undue publication of materials that need not be revealed until later in the process, or if there is no indictment, they can be kept sealed. 

    • In recent weeks several tons of commentary from scholars and legal experts have declared that executive privilege belongs exclusively to the sitting executive, who is Joe Biden. No ex-POTUS can claim it. Attorney-client privilege doesn't apply if the attorney is engaged in the same criminal activity. But attorney-client privilege wouldn't apply to all those classified documents, anyway. Trump's lawyers didn't generate them.


Comments are closed.