This long retired appellate lawyer is aghast at the predictable chaos Florida Federal District Judge Aileen Cannon’s baseless decision appointing a special master in Trump’s suit against the Department of Justice has wrought. Judge Cannon agreed that a “special master” is required to review the government documents seized when, pursuant to a warrant issued by another federal court, the FBI searched his Mar-A-Lago palace seeking evidence in its investigation of the crimes Trump committed when he took many boxes of documents from the White House before he left.
The twice impeached former president claims some of those documents are privileged. Ordinarily, such claims are raised if and when the defendant is indicted. But Trump is “special,” says Judge Cannon, he would suffer “reputational harm,” if he were indicted based on “privileged” documents. Hence the special master review.
Now Trump’s attorneys are telling the special master that they cannot represent their client without reviewing all 11,000 pages of documents, including a trove that are “top secret” and “sensitive compartment information. Trump’s attorneys want more time. To complicate matters more, the Justice Department has filed an appeal from Cannon’s order and asked the reviewing court promptly to set aside so much of her order as applies to classified documents. This mad caper has thus entangled three federal courts and the special master (himself a retired but still active federal judge in Brooklyn). Charles Dickens’ Mr. Bumble declared “the law is a**.” Hmm.