Goodnight Aileen Cannon

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I hope you’re sitting down for this, but last week Donald Trump told a lie. Ok, so what else is new? Only, what makes this particular lie stand head and shoulders above the hundreds of other lies Trump told last week is that it was in extreme violation of his gag order in the Florida stolen classified documents case, and it carried with it a menacing provocation to violence and stochastic terror. Trump claimed that, while the FBI was executing the search warrant at Mar-a-Lago on August 8, 2021, the FBI was also there to execute Trump.

“BREAKING FROM TRUMP: BIDEN’S DOJ WAS AUTHORIZED TO SHOOT ME,” Trump wrote. “It’s just been revealed that Biden’s DoJ was authorized to use DEADLY FORCE for their DESPICABLE raid in Mar-a-Lago.” Trump was referring to standard boilerplate language that exists on all FBI search warrants. It said what it always says, that deadly force will be used in response to any attempted lethal attack on its agents. It’s the exact same language that was used on the search warrant executed on President Joe Biden and Vice President Mike Pence.

But Trump didn’t stop there. In a later fundraising email, Trump claimed, “Joe Biden was locked & loaded ready to take me out & put my family in danger.” What Trump didn’t mention was that he was out of state at the time the FBI entered Mar-a-Lago. This was because, in a completely unprecedented (and, in my opinion, wholly inappropriate) move, the FBI warned Donald Trump’s lawyers that they were coming to execute a search warrant on Mar-a-Lago and requested that they ensure Trump was NOT at the property when the search took place. That’s some assassination plan!

In response to this dangerous and hysteria-laden outburst by Trump, and after conferring with Trump’s attorneys by phone, Special Counsel Jack Smith filed a motion in Florida judge Aileen Cannon’s court to sanction Trump for violation of his gag order. Instead of granting Smith’s request, Cannon sanctioned him instead, saying the Special Counsel’s efforts were “wholly lacking in substance and professional courtesy.”

So what was Cannon’s problem? Turns out that Trump’s lawyers wanted to sit down with the Special Counsel in person before he filed his motion, and not right away, and certainly not by phone, but after the holiday weekend, or maybe even a week after that. Given the gravity of Trump’s idiocitc proclamation and the urgency with which it needed to be addressed, Smith correctly decided that Trump’s lawyers were sufficiently briefed and went ahead with the motion. Cannon decided that was rude. You read that right, Cannon decided that provocative and dangerous language used against the FBI was no justification for not extending Trump’s lawyers their infuriatingly absurd and stupidly unnecessary extension.

“Cannon’s wildly lawless rejection of Special Counsel Smith’s clearly correct request for a gag order against fake and dangerous claims that the FBI was ordered to assassinate him is good news,” said Harvard University Professor Emeritus Laurence Tribe. “It’s the smoking gun that will finally lead to her removal from the stolen secrets case.”

But will it? I think not. I think — and this is just my opinion — that Jack Smith wants to wait. While it’s true that the appearance of bias ought to be, technically speaking, enough to get a judge removed from a case, proving it in appellate court can be tricky. I think Smith wants to wait until he has a boatload of impropriety before filing a motion of recusal against Cannon, and Cannon is just stupid enough to keep filling up that board with more and more absurd reasons to justify it.

After all, what’s the hurry? Trump’s next case is probably going to be the Georgia election interference case. The documents case can wait until, say, October at the earliest. Between now and then expect Cannon to screw up many more times. And then it’s going to be “Goodnight Aileen.” And like it says in the old song of similar name, “I’m sorry you ever were born.” And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.

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