Amid some recent and troubling “what the hell?” rulings favoring Trump or denigrating Jack Smith and his team (or both) there seemed to be a bright spot last week. Judge Aileen “Loose” Cannon stuck with her original trial date. At first glance that seems like a positive development but as the old saying goes the devil is in the details as Meidas Touch Network is reporting. Having gotten slapped down (hard!) by a quite conservative appellate court not once but twice she hasn’t learned much about being impartial. However she does seem to have learned a thing or two about how to aid Trump (okay, give him everything he wants) without getting publicly humiliated again by the appellate court.
The linked article notes while Cannon’s latest ruling preserved the planned trial date she said she will revisit the schedule (including the trial date) in early March. Cannon is pushing back the “due by” dates for motions and citing the “YUGE” (my word to summarize) amount of discovery as her reason. I’ve called b.s. on this discovery crap before. This is as the article notes not only the strongest case against Trump, it’s also the most straightforward and despite the overall number of counts in the indictment the simplest.
Most of the counts are repeats – separate counts for each of the classified documents that will be used at trial. There were hundreds (that we know of – there might well have been many more that for national security reasons we haven’t been told about) that could have been used to prosecute Trump over having but Smith crafted a quite narrow prosecution. He limited things ONLY to documents discovered during the SEARCH (it wasn’t a freaking “Raid”) of Mar A Lago after he’d (or had his lawyers do so on his behalf) sworn in a deposition that everything had been handed back to the government. And Smith didn’t even include all of the well over a hundred documents/items that were seized!
Yes, when you take into account the way over a year Trump fought with the National Archive to keep “his” stuff there’s a lot of communications and material to go through. However most of it is irrelevant to the case at hand. Some will be used of course but keep in mind two things. To avoid accusations of holding back Smith gave Team Trump everything. But he also provided a “road map” on where to find things that were relevant to the charges that he filed, greatly simplifying the defense’s task. If nothing else you’d think Trump would grudgingly think it was nice of Smith to save him paying a boatload of billable hours to lawyers. Smith I’m sure provided markers to possible exculpatory evidence and if Trump’s lawyers think they know of more? Uh, YOU guys are the ones who made arguments. Look at your own damned work product for what you tried to legally justify Trump’s actions and when/how you presented said arguments.
Sadly, and for me personally infuriatingly the news business quickly adopted the Team Trump line about this being one of the most sprawling, complex cases ever attempted, with more discovery than and ten trials in history one could name combined! No, no NO! This is simple, straightforward and limited. With an impartial judge we’d be looking at a trial, or at least jury selection starting next month as prosecutors asked for. An actual trial would be in the jury’s hands by the end of January, 2024. But news executives (and sadly most of the “talent”) want their Biden-Trump rematch next year and all the eyeballs (which translates into ad revenue) it will generate. So they have and are continuing to give “Loose” Cannon cover.
As a result she can, because of the enormous discretion allowed to judges abuse that discretion. By pushing off motions and hearings on them she can as the Meidas Touch Network article suggests inflict a proverbial “death by a thousand cuts” on Jack Smith’s prosecution. Doing it the way she is will almost certainly not be enough to force her recusal or replacement on the case. So come March we all know what’s going to happen.
She will give Trump what he wants and push back his trial date!
The hell of it is, she doesn’t even have to risk finding herself in trouble with the appellate court over bias for pushing the trial past the election. From a practical standpoint if Trump is the GOP nominee (and barring something huge he will be the presumptive nominee well before the original trial date of May 24) no prosecution can take place. Even bumping the date a month or two give her another hearing in which she can bump it a bit more – right into that 60-day window where DOJ policy is to “go dark” on prosecutions that could impact an election!
So if you thought there was a rare piece of good news from Cannon’s little one person federal court last week sorry to disappoint you. Trump won’t be tried on what should have been (and eventually will be if he loses his bid to regain the WH) until after the election.