On Tuesday in Miami, former President Trump pleaded not guilty to 37 counts related to the alleged mishandling of classified documents. Trump is by far the leading contender for the Republican nomination for president in 2024, against current President Joe Biden. Trump has denied all charges and vowed to fight them.
When the FBI raided former President Trump’s Florida home and seized documents from his presidency stored there, U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon was assigned to the case. A Trump appointee, Judge Cannon was nominated for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida in May 2020. She was confirmed in that appointment by the Senate by a vote of 56-21.
Soon after the seizure of the documents, Cannon agreed with Trump that a special master be appointed to review the documents in addition to the Biden DOJ officials doing the same.
Democrats objected to Judge Cannon, due to her conservative views, but she has never indicated that she would recuse herself from the Trump documents case.
In contrast, Special Counsel Jack Smith, Who was appointed to look into the former president’s alleged storage and handling of classified documents, and who brought the case against Trump last week, has been an adversary of Trump for some time.
Smith, whose wife directed a documentary about former first lady Michelle Obama and also donated to Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign, was appointed by Attorney General Merrick Garland last year after the Biden FBI raided Trump’s home. Smith brought the case against Trump last week.
On Tuesday in Miami, former President Trump pleaded not guilty to the 37 counts related to the alleged mishandling of classified documents. Now U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon has issued her first order since she was assigned to assigned the case, Western Journal reports.
Judge Cannon ordered the attorneys in the case to each obtain their required security clearances due to the sensitive nature of the matter, CNN reported Thursday.
“In a Thursday order, Cannon gave ‘all attorneys of record and forthcoming attorneys of record’ a Friday deadline for getting in touch with the Justice Department’s litigation security group so that they can expedite ‘the necessary clearance process,’” the network’s Tierney Sneed reported.
US District Judge Aileen Cannon jumpstarts her oversight of the Trump classified documents case with an order on security clearances https://t.co/Sgd0VpCp9C
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) June 16, 2023
Ordering that all attorneys involved in the case “expedite” the process, Judge Cannon gave all until Tuesday to comply with the order, and Sneed reported Trump attorneys Todd Blanche and Chris Kise had done so as of Thursday evening.
By issuing the order, Judge Cannon is indicating that she will not draw out the process with the case but will proceed immediately.
Republicans have been rallying around Trump in the consistent legal attacks by Democrats and the Biden DOJ. While some attempts, like the impeachment based on the Jan 6 events at the Capitol, have fizzled out, others have gone so far as to result in indictment. when Trump pleaded not guilty to charges relating to business records in New York, Republican rushed to his defense.
Trump stated at the time, “This fake case was brought to interfere with the upcoming 2024 election. I have a Trump-hating judge with a Trump-hating wife and family,” While the White House refrained from mentioning justice or truth, with press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre stating, “I am not going to speak to an ongoing case. We condemn any type of attacks on any judge.”
MAGA supporters of Trump see all the legal attacks as an attempt to silence and neutralize the former president as well as turn public opinion against him, and as an indication of how scared the Democrats are of a Trump nomination for the office in 2024.
While GOP RINOs who back other candidates have been openly questioning Trump and indicating there may be a basis for the charges, a number of his challengers in the 2024 Republican primary race have pledged to pardon him in the event they win the presidency.
Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, and talk show host Larry Elder have all stated that if they were elected they would pardon Trump over the documents case, Newsweek reports.
Initially quiet on the matter, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has indicated that he too would pardon Trump, as he stated in an interview in late May, “We will be aggressive ]in[ issuing pardons,” and argued that the DOJ has become “weaponized” in order to pursue political instead of law enforcement goals.
Former Fox commentator Tucker Carlson, who refuses t be silenced and has turned to other platforms to air his commentaries, has stated, “Prosecution of Trump Isn’t Just Political, It’s Ideological.”
Republican Kari Lake declared,” if you want to get to President Trump, you are going to have to go through me.” Representative Andy Biggs of Arizona tweeted “Eye for an eye,” and Senator J.D. Vance, R-Ohio, stated, “We have to grind this Department to a halt,” saying that he will block all DOJ appointments in retaliation unless the DOJ drops the criminal case against Trump.