Pundits on TV and Twitter have spent months vastly overstating the “damage” that Judge Aileen Cannon was supposedly doing to the Donald Trump trial, while severely understating what would be required to get the 11th Circuit to remove her from the case, so that these pundits could turn around and make themselves look “aggressive” by demanding that Jack Smith wave the magic wand and get her removed.
In reality, while Cannon has made a number of low key botched rulings in the case over the past several months, it would take a lot more than that for Smith to be able to get her removed from the case – which is why he hasn’t attempted it. But now Cannon has indeed made a move so absurd and untenable that it’ll be a fairly easy decision for the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals to overrule her, if not take the case away from her entirely.
All along Cannon had been making minor “mistakes” that kept causing the pretrial timeline to fall behind bit by bit. It was as if she was trying to see what she could get away with, without handing Jack Smith the ability to go over her head. But now Cannon has made the bizarre move of ordering that classified evidence be released to the defendants near-immediately.
Something is weird about this. Cannon is pretty much forcing the 11th Circuit to immediately overrule her on this. It’ll be utterly humiliating for her. It’ll serve to reduce the amount of leverage she has over this trial. And it’ll make it easier for Jack Smith to convince the 11th Circuit to indeed remove her, if it comes to that.
It’s almost as if Cannon has decided that she’s had enough of being stuck trying to help Trump, and so now she’s suddenly making the most egregious error she can think of, in the hope that she’ll be forcibly removed from the case. After all, if the 11th Circuit does take the case away from her, then it won’t be her fault that she can’t help Trump anymore. She’ll have the humiliation of having the case taken away from her, but she’ll be off the hook when it comes to Trump.
Or maybe Cannon is just so clueless, she doesn’t realize that ordering the immediate release of classified evidence is a good way to get the Court of Appeals to automatically overrule you, and a good way to potentially get yourself kicked off the case entirely. Either way, Jack Smith is going to be knocking on the 11th Circuit’s door any minute now. Whether this results in Cannon being removed from the case or merely overruled and humiliated on this particular issue, we’ll see.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report