Wednesday, September 07, 2022

Judge Prioritized The Protection Of Trump's Reputation And Rewarded Him For His Current Crimes While Ignoring The On-Going Danger To Hundreds Of CIA Assets' Lives

Aileen Cannon Prioritized Donald Trump's Reputation Over CIA Assets' Lives
Marcy Wheeler, emptywheel, September 6, 2022
Cannon did some crazy-ass stuff . . . [She] usurped the authority of the President of the United States (among other things), to claim that Trump had a property interest in the 11,000 stolen government documents the FBI seized on August 8.

Her argument about the irreparable harm that Trump faces because the government seized 11,000 documents — some highly classified — that he refused to return is still more appalling. . . . [S]he says it would harm Trump's reputation to be charged with a crime. . . .

[C]onsider Aileen Cannon's logic about leaks. . . . 

It's pretty obvious they [the DOJ] haven't [been responsible for leaks to the media], because none of the leaks to the press have been accurate. The vast majority of them, in fact, can be matched to false claims Trump has made in his own filings.

Trump is leaking. The investigative team is not.

Ironically, in her order, Cannon also revealed details about the potentially privileged content seized from Trump. She's done more leaking than the investigative team has.

And so Judge Aileen Cannon's remedy for the risk of hypothetical leaks about Trump is to give the seized documents . . . back to Trump and the lawyers who are leaking up a storm, not a single one of whom has a need to know about these Human Source Operations anymore. . . .

[S]he also has forbidden the government from continuing to criminally investigate Trump and any co-conspirators he might have. She has forbidden the FBI from using the documents to try to chase down any existing leakers of these documents (though she has allowed a damage assessment that will be virtually impossible to do without the FBI side of the investigation).

Judge Cannon is worried about a hypothetical threat to Trump's reputation posed by the leak of materials seized from his hall closet and desk drawers, and because of that, she has prohibited the FBI from investigating Trump for willingly, knowingly, obstinately leaving stuff about Human Source Operations lying around a hotel targeted by foreign intelligence services.

For a year, Donald Trump left 325 files lying around his club, unsecured. After he gave 184 of them back in January 2022, he went to great efforts to prevent the FBI from reviewing what kind of damage he had done, delaying their access by a month. All the while, he secretly kept at least 141 more of those files in his desk drawer and hall storage room, even after it was public that he had been storing sensitive records in his poorly secured resort. The government subpoenaed him. He stalled again. He gave back 38 of those documents, while still hiding another 103, still lying around his poorly protected club. He bought a padlock, his lawyers have claimed in leaks to the press. Finally, on August 8, the FBI came and seized another 103 documents, still including documents protected as part of highly sensitive compartments that, if disclosed, could get people killed.

Judge Aileen Cannon has ruled that it is more important that Donald Trump's reputation be protected from hypothetical leaks than that FBI be able to remedy the possibility that leaks facilitated by Donald Trump's obstinance and neglect could get people killed.

Donald Trump has already been given 18 months in which his obstinance has prevented the government from preventing leaks of the sort that can get people killed. Now, out of fear of hypothetical reputational leaks, Judge Aileen Cannon has mandated that Trump and any co-conspirators be given still more time to get people killed.

There Is A Reason Trump Calls Every Allegation Against Him A "Hoax." It Works
Heather Digby Parton, Salon, September 7, 2022
One of Cannon's rationale for appointing a Special Master to look through all the documents to make sure Trump's "privileges" were preserved (some of which he is not entitled to) was to allegedly insure the appearance of impartiality, even going so far as to say that Trump's position is so special that it's even more important that he not be tainted by the unseemly existence of an investigation. . . . But it is nothing more than a political tactic and it's one the right is well-practiced at deploying. . . . The right spreads a conspiracy theory, either defensively or offensively, which has only the slimmest relationship to reality. But their non-stop shrieking about it inevitably leads some people to believe that there must be something to it. The media can't resist this so they then pump the "controversy" which gives right-wing authorities the excuse they need to let a Republican off the hook.

You see, there's just so much (fake) controversy circling in the ether that these authorities, whether law enforcement or the courts, have no choice but to bend over backward to ensure there is no "perception of unfairness" when, in fact, the whole manufactured dispute is blatantly biased. This can also work in reverse as well. The controversy can also lead authorities to go harder on Democrats so as not to appear biased in the face of the right's accusations. It's a win-win for the GOP.

Judge Cannon was particularly crude in her invocation of this ploy and it will be remembered as one of the most brazenly partisan acts ever handed down from the federal bench. Caring not at all about maintaining even a shred of judicial objectivity, she went the extra mile to ensure that Trump will at least have the delay he desperately needs to worm his way out of this one. Considering what we already know about the stolen documents, and the actual simplicity of the elements of the crimes he's clearly committed, however, that's going to be more difficult than most of Trump's corrupt conduct. So, he is working overtime to make sure his MAGA supporters see this as the ultimate act of persecution. . . .

His followers no doubt relate to all of this. They too are angry at all the unfairness they believe is being meted out by people who are out to get them. He speaks to their grievance like no one else and in their view he is being mistreated for doing so. . . .

The fact that [Trump] constantly eludes accountability even as the government throws everything at him, from the DOJ to Congress to state courts and local law enforcement, has led to the belief among his followers that he is invulnerable.

What we see as whining they see as strength and when he says "this will fail miserably, like all the rest" they believe him — he's a superhero. It's rather important that the government gets the job done this time. If he gets away with stealing top secret nuclear documents, relying on the laughably absurd rationales he and his hand-picked judge have been throwing out, they will believe he is nothing short of a god.

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