I first noticed something about this yesterday evening, but wanted to follow up and learn more.  It seems, and MSNBC legal analyst Lisa Rubin lays it out well judge Cannon went and in an official judicial order noted a crucial portion of discovery in the FL National Security case against Trump was less than what’s been touted.  A LOT less.

 I’d already posted an article on PolitiZoom about judge Cannon’s order regarding Trump’s desire to have a brand new SCIF set up at Mar A Lago (so he and his lawyers wouldn’t have to drive fifteen minutes to the existing one at the federal building nearby) and how it was a proverbial shot aimed at Trump.   It was a pretty standard piece of judicial handiwork.  Well reasoned and proper sounding and the kind of thing one would expect from a federal judge except this is Aileen Cannon.  Talking to Trump, and in polite legal terms saying “Nope, I’m not ordering the govt. to create a SCIF solely for your convenience and the CISCO who’s been appointed will control access to classified information in the standard ways during regular business hours unless you can convince the CISCO and the U.S. Marshals Service you have a really good reason to have access outside normal business hours.”

What that means in practice is that the CISCO, since he/she isn’t being ordered by the judge to create a special SCIF where Trump lives is that he can by grab have his Secret Service detail drive him over to the federal building if his lawyers want to talk to him there where the CISCO will have a special space set up for Team Trump in the SCIF there.   THAT my friends was a shot, a direct hit on the not-good ship Trumptanic.  However, that wasn’t the only ruling judge Cannon issued yesterday.  In another, she took aim with a stealth missile, or perhaps a direct trajectory shot under the radar but it still opens yet another hole in Trump’s legal ship at the waterline.

You can read about it in this article by Raw Story but it boils down to this: Cannon blew a hole in the argument by Trump’s lawyers regarding the amount of discovery they have to go through.  Now, to be fair there IS a lot but the bulk of it has long been part of the public record.  For example the January 6 Committee published not just their report but the supporting exhibits back in the spring of 2022, over a year before Special Counsel Jack Smith obtained the National Security indictment down in FL for Trump refusing to return classified (some at the highest levels) information he’d stolen.   The people, via govt. prosecutors also have a right to their day in court and if Trump’s lawyers who HAD to know the indictment would one day come couldn’t be bothered to dig in long ago if only to try and stave off an indictment that’s on them.

Ok, so there IS new stuff for them to go through.  The unredacted parts of the J6 Committee reports and exhibits, the grand jury testimony and witness statements and supporting documentation.  That’s a fair amount of work to do but Smith not only started handing everything over within a week of the indictment (long before the normal process where the court would order Discovery production) he also provided a “road map” of what the prosecution would look like.  Normally, as trial approaches Discover would include an outline of the prosecution’s case in the form of the witnesses that will be called (and in what order) and other evidence.  On top of all that Smith’s team had “tabbed” the relevant portions of the whole huge batch of discovery they’ve handed over.

The only outstanding question has been about the actual classified documents Trump stole and refused to give back.  To listen to Team Trump, and pundits after orders came down from the bosses at news outlets there has NEVER been such a HUGE amount of documents/discovery for a defense team to have to go through!  “Gazillions” of pages of stuff, so much that they couldn’t possibly be prepared to go to trial until May of 2026.  (And even that was a maybe)  I called bullshit on both Trump’s lawyers and journalists as soon as this crap started which was less than three weeks after the arraignment.  There were many hundreds of classified documents (we don’t know for sure, maybe over a thousand  or even more) Trump stole and each one represented a crime in and of itself.  BUT, what matters is that Smith’s prosecution only addresses documents found during the Aug. 2022 search of Mar A Lago after Trump’s legal team certified everything had been returned.  That number was around 130.

Even then, Smith’s indictment didn’t cover every one.  It seems the prosecution will be about on 31 classified National Security documents.  I don’t know about you but from where I sit that narrows down the scope of things including discovery and by a lot.  The fun part is that judge Cannon noted it in her order.  From the linked article:

Specifically, Rubin reported, Cannon “says that yesterday, the Special Counsel acknowledged the classified information in this case ‘consist[s] of approximately 3,500 pages classified at various levels.'”

Rubin then added:

“If that’s the totality of the classified information at issue, Trump’s team review and analysis thereof may not exactly justify further delay. After all, the general rule of thumb is that a banker’s box of materials contains roughly 3,000 pages.”

Lisa Rubin is an accomplished lawyer and a very good legal analyst.  We’ve seen he a lot in recent months both outside courthouses and on set and she does a really good job both at finding interesting, overlooked nuggets that can turn out to be significant, and explaining sometimes complicated stuff in easy to understand terms.  I think there’s a much better analogy than “a banker’s box of materials” however.  I’d never even heard that term before.  But you know what?  I can think of an example anyone reading this can relate to.  If you’ve ever refilled a copier at the office you’ve dug into a box of copy paper and pulled out one or more reams of paper.  Each ream is 500 sheets.  A standard box contains ten reams, or five thousand sheets of paper.  See where I’m going?

The amount of pages of classified information in this case wouldn’t fill a standard box of copy paper!

What Rubin suggests is that Cannon is signaling to Team Trump there’s only so much delaying she can do for them.  As I’ve noted, if they were too lazy or incompetent to not be familiarizing themselves with the admittedly huge amount on of information that had been publicly available for over a year that’s on them.   And while she cut them slack in pushing a trial date till May of next year (which we’ve all expected she’ll allow to be pushed into election season which means no trial until after the election) that’s ample time for Trump’s lawyers to go through the other, new discovery from the grand jury process.  (And again, Smith’s team had everything prepared to help them identify what they’d need to prepare for trial)  The only question that’s been roiling around all summer is the actual classified discovery the defense would have to go through.

And judge Cannon’s order identifies the amount as being not all that much!

Like I said, it blows a hole in an argument Trump’s lawyers have been using to delay things.  And makes an awful lot of talking head TV “talent” look pretty silly for their “OMG there is SO much discovery with all this classified documents aspect to things!” talk.  In closing I’ll include this link to a series of tweets Rubin posted on Musk’s site that sums it all up nicely.  I’m not saying judge Cannon has decided Trump World isn’t for her after all.  But it does seem like she’s willing to aim and fire at Trump these days, if only to cover her own butt and let him know there’s a limit to how much she can or will do for him.

It will be interesting to see if others besides Rubin start pointing out this “stealth missile” shot from judge Cannon.


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  1. Why do they need to look at the classified documents at all?’ The content is immaterial to the charges. The fact that it was at the time, and remains classified, and was in possession of someone without authorization is the crux. Not what was or is in the docs. How in hades can the defense use the actual data? “We move for a misrial because a lot of the data ws less classified than other parts?” PLeASE!

  2. FYI bankers boxers are those white boxes with lids you can buy at Staples or Office Depot to.store files. They are,also useful for packing books. We used them in a move.

    • Also for some of us, similar in size to a winebox, a box made to carry a dozen bottles of wine.

      What? You only buy wine one bottle at a time? How curious, in today’s world.

  3. Before I retired as a compliance & enforcement officer for 2 separate states’ agencies over 35 years, part of my job was assisting the attorney general’s office assigned attorneys general with responding to requests for documents; and producing copies of those documents as part of discovery. That happened at least 20 times with my unresolved enforcement cases involving civil and sometimes criminal litigation if parallel proceedings were invoked.

    I don’t recall a single enforcement case that was litigated that involved either side ONLY producing 1 banker’s box of documents to the other side’s attorneys. Typically there would be 5 – 10 bankers boxes and as many as 30+ produced in response to requests for information pursuant to the Court’s rules of procedure for discovery.

    It would usually be 6 months to 1 year from the start of discovery – including requests for documents, interrogatories and depositions – until the hearing (trial) was scheduled on the Judge’s calendar & begun – assuming the matter didn’t go to arbitration or mediation first.

    Bottom line, there’s no reason or excuse this matter should not go to hearing (trial) within 6 months at most from now.

    • My point is that despite a good sized amount of discovery it’s not nearly so daunting as the defense (and “journalists”) make it out to be. Even with the grand jury proceedings the defense lawyers have no doubt been keeping each other apprised in that way lawyers do, and Trump’s lawyers have long regularly engaged with prosecutors. Getting a big batch of discovery within a week or the arraignment that was already “tabbed” and had notes on where to look for items that would be used at trial on electronic records is significant. And again, SO much was made about the HUGE volume of “classified” discovery. Which the judge has, for someone paying attention as Ms. Rubin did turns out to be not so much. Frankly, as someone who once had a clearance (a long, long time ago) lawyers really don’t have any business reading all the details anyway. All they really need to do is check the classification markings on the cover and that each page bears the same marking. Note that all the pages are there and in order and light skimming to ensure no duplication (say, repeating of pages) took place. Check the date of the classification and who was the classifying authority, then check with said classifying authority to determine if a given document was classified while it was in Trump’s possession. That’s it. That first part could be done in a couple of days. Verifying, and getting in writing that the classification was/was not still in force and/or at the same level would take a little longer but I’m sure any agency would expedite responding and transmit confirmation to the CISCO in charge of things who would then probably have it hand delivered to Trump’s attorneys. That would take maybe another week. That’s it.

      I think the judge has finally been read in enough to know all this and while she’s got a blind spot when it comes to her loyalty to Trump she’s not stupid. She didn’t come from means and earned her way into Duke for undergrad and Michigan for law school and that’s a top tier law school even if not Ivy League. So she’s not stupid. She’s also young and has really sh*t her bed when it comes to Trump. This is a NATIONAL SECURITY case and she might have realized she’s taken an additional sh*t in her bed by pushing the trial all the way to May of next year. She’s young enough that maybe she hopes to after all this is over spend some quiet years in her little courtroom and parlay her time as a federal judge into a comfy gig at some high-end white collar law firm. But that means doing some cleaning up of her own messes and maybe, just maybe she’s realized that and is signaling that she’s given Trump about as much help as she can give him.


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