Judge Cannon Scorches Jack Smith’s Case Against Trump

OPINION:  This article contains commentary which may reflect the author’s opinion

During a hearing on Thursday, Judge Aileen Cannon gave a scathing review of Special Counsel Jack Smith’s indictment against former President Donald Trump. This morning’s hearing in a South Florida courtroom was another chapter in the ongoing tale of Trump’s case involving sensitive information.

Special Counsel Jack Smith is leading the case against Trump, which alleges the former president mishandled sensitive records. This accusation has gained attention in light of information that has surfaced about President Joe Biden’s handling of comparable materials. In a significant turn of events, Cannon explicitly mentioned the purported unfairness of the two instances’ respective applications of justice, notably bringing up Robert Hur’s damning report on Biden.

The recent conclusions of Special Counsel Hur about President Biden’s mishandling of sensitive papers have sparked controversy. They include claims of deliberate and purposeful mismanagement, deceiving federal investigators, and perhaps jeopardizing national security. Hur’s report states that an Intelligence Community “damage assessment” has been conducted to analyze the possible threats to national security due to the gravity of Biden’s actions.

Judge Cannon examined the case against Trump closely in the midst of the revelations. According to legal commentator Julie Kelly, Cannon contested the Department of Justice’s position, pointing out that there is no precedent for prosecuting a former president or vice president for keeping secret documents under the Espionage Act. A crucial point was highlighted by the judge’s examination: Why should Trump’s case be any different if Biden’s purported improper handling of sensitive documents has not resulted in charges?

Cannon’s investigation proceeded even farther, as she raised questions about the origins of the “crime” of knowingly holding onto sensitive national security secrets, tying the date mentioned in Smith’s indictment to Trump’s resignation. The line of investigation called into question not only the prosecution’s timetable but also the fundamental elements of their case.

Furthermore, the judge added a new perspective to the discussion by challenging the formal procedures—or lack thereof—regarding a president’s security clearance after leaving office. The special counsel’s office representative, Jay Bratt, argued that a president’s clearance automatically ends at the conclusion of their tenure. But the claim runs counter to established procedures for former government employees to keep their clearances, which further muddies the legal waters.

According to journalist Kyle Becker, today’s developments are great signs for Trump:

That is as clear a signal that the Trump classified documents case is in peril as could have arisen out of the day’s courtroom proceedings.

While both cases may contain elements of technical illegalities, Donald Trump’s case is far less egregious than Joe Biden’s, given the fact Trump was a sitting president with ultimate declassification authority; he stored the documents at Mar-a-Lago, his authorized presidential office away from the White House; and he has further protection by the Presidential Records Act.

Thus, in the event of a “guilty” verdict in the Trump case, it will be a case of “selective and vindictive prosecution” — as blatant a case of election interference in U.S. history.

A Trump guilty verdict would thus be a political outcome subverting the will of American voters. It would be the true “attack on democracy” that the Democratic Party is dishonestly protesting about, while it interferes in America’s elections and compromises institutions such as the rule of law.

If Judge Cannon dismissed the Trump classified documents case with prejudice, it would be a true victory for “democracy.”

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