Former President Donald J. Trump surrenders to authorities in Miami’s federal courthouse today (June 13). He faces accusations of 37 federal crimes for offenses related to handling classified documents after he left the presidency. Trump will likely present himself to authorities in a parking garage and be escorted through a tunnel into the courthouse for processing, including fingerprinting and an arraignment. Reports say police are prepared for crowds of five to 50,000. Trump will be accompanied at all times by his Secret Service security detail.
Politically Motivated, But Still …
During a recent interview, the former president said he would plead not guilty and that the Biden administration is “trying to deflect all of their dishonesty by bringing this ridiculous boxes hoax case.” That may be both true and inconsequential. President Joe Biden and Attorney General Merrick Garland have surely engaged in a political prosecution, yet the evidence revealed in the indictment is seriously damaging to Trump’s penal interests. Namely, it includes an openly recorded interview at his New Jersey country club in which he says he is handling a secret document and showing it to his staff, the reporter, and a publisher, none of whom had security clearances.
The indictment quoted Trump as saying, “See as president I could have declassified it.” And “Now I can’t, you know, but this is still a secret.” The document in question described a hypothetical attack plan prepared by a “Senior Military Official” against an unnamed country. The transcript suggests that Trump did not believe he had previously declassified the document when he had the legal power to do so, yet he possessed it and passed it around.
At his arraignment, the judge or magistrate will explain the charges and inform him of a defendant’s rights. Trump is charged with 31 separate instances of illegally retaining “National Defense Information” from unmarked papers with military significance to those so highly classified that the indictment includes redacted information on how they were marked. The rest of the charges are based on attempts to keep the documents from being turned over or revealed. These alleged acts include moving boxes, lying to the FBI, and otherwise misleading investigators. In all, there are multiple instances of seven separate federal crimes alleged: Willful Retention of National Defense Information; Conspiracy to Obstruct Justice; Withholding a Document; Corruptly Concealing a Document; Concealing a Document; Scheme to Conceal; and False Statements and Representations.
A Good Lawyer Knows the Law, a Great One Knows the Judge
Judge Aileen M. Cannon has been assigned to the case. How is that for Trump? Evaluated only by his enemies’ reactions, it’s a great break for him. Progressives have been so apoplectic over Cannon’s selection that The New York Times did a full forensic breakdown of the federal district’s case-assignment process. The horrible conclusion? Cannon was randomly chosen and will be the judge for this case through trial unless she recuses herself. As the NYT put it: “In short, Judge Cannon’s assignment is permanent unless she were to step aside.”
Why the fuss? Cannon was appointed to the federal bench by President Trump in 2020. Since he nominated 177 of the current 680 District Court judges, there’s better than a 25% chance any randomly selected federal judge will be a Trump appointee. Cannon made headlines in 2022 as the judge in Trump’s suit against the Department of Justice regarding the raid on Mar-a-Lago, his Palm Beach home. She made several rulings that favored Trump, which were subsequently reversed by a three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, two of whom are Trump appointees. The appeals court found “the district court [Cannon] abused its discretion,” among other errors.
A Trump-appointed judge who made errors in the past that benefited him may seem to indicate that she’s in the bag for the former president, willing to put her finger on the scales of justice to help him. While that is possible, a more likely explanation for her earlier mistakes is that she’s a new judge dealing with novel issues and a suffocating avalanche of attention. Cannon joined Barack Obama’s Justice Department as a prosecutor in 2013 and stayed for seven years. Court watchers should expect she will apply the law to the facts as best she can. Forgiving the double negative, Cannon is not a never-Trumper. In a world where so many believe it’s okay to lie, cheat, and steal in service of hurting Trump, that may be no small benefit.
Security Delays for Trump?
Evidence in the case involves classified, secret, and top-secret documents. It’s been suggested that the nature of the evidence will result in significant delays in pre-trial processes. While we shouldn’t expect a rapid pace, the process need not slow to a crawl. Liberty Nation spoke exclusively with Dan Meyer, a DC lawyer specializing in security-clearance matters and vice chair for the National Security Lawyers Association. He explained that Trump’s attorneys and support staff would apply for a limited clearance credential that allows access to documents only in this case. While more permanent clearance permissions can take months, Meyer said the type required here could be processed in as quickly as a few days.
Trump may be disappointed to hear that. Conservative legal analyst and law professor Jonathan Turley thinks Trump’s current strategy will be to delay the proceedings as long as possible: “If the litigation pushed the trial within a few months of the election, most judges would delay it until after November 5th, 2024.” Should he be re-elected, Trump would then be able to pardon himself and cancel the prosecution.
Liberty Nation Today:
Bidenomics Adds $1 Trillion to Debt in Three Months – Swamponomics - The national debt, stagflation, and beef. - Read Now!
ABC Poll Sends Democrats Into Orbit - As Yogi Berra used to say, it’s getting late early for Joe Biden. - Read Now!
Is Sending US Military Advisors to Ukraine a Good Idea? - The notion of sending Kyiv US on-the-ground trainers is growing. - Read Now!
Boston U Anti-Racism Center Blows $40 Million in Three Years - Nothing of substance produced and now a newspaper is investigating. - Read Now!
NFL to Bud Light: “Hold My Beer” - Some folks just refuse to learn from the mistakes of others. - Read Now!