Judge Cannon Denies Trump’s Bid to Dismiss Classified Documents Case — for Now

Judge Aileen Cannon did not dismiss the classified documents case against former President Donald Trump based on ‘unconstitutional vagueness,’ but hinted that the case may nonetheless be dismissed for other legal reasons.

On Thursday, Judge Cannon denied the motion to dismiss based on phrases in the statute that Trump’s legal team claimed were “unconstitutionally vague,” including the terms “unauthorized possession,” “relating to the national defense,” and “entitled to receive.” Cannon has yet to rule on the other motion presented during the hearing, which seeks to dismiss the case under the Presidential Records Act.

“Although the Motion raises various arguments warranting serious consideration, the Court ultimately determines, following lengthy oral argument, that resolution of the overall question presented depends too greatly on contested instructional questions about still-fluctuating definitions of statutory terms/phrases as charged, along with at least some disputed factual issues as raised in the Motion,” the ruling stated.

According to CNN, Cannon questioned if it would be “premature” to dismiss Trump’s complaint under the Presidential Records Act when there was still a dispute over whether papers were designated as personal.

During the hearing, Cannon also questioned why Trump is the only president to face charges for his handling of secret material, citing Special Counsel Robert Hur’s report on sitting President Joe Biden.

As reported earlier, Hur’s report showed that Joe Biden not only willfully and intentionally mishandled classified documents, stored them in multiple insecure locations, and procured them while Senator and Vice President, but he also misled federal investigators, obstructed justice, and divulged national security secrets.

Biden’s leaks of classified information are deemed to be so serious that the Intelligence Community is now performing a “damage assessment” to ascertain the extent they compromised national security.

Judge Cannon on Thursday took a wrecking ball to the Department of Justice’s case against Donald Trump, as reported by Julie Kelly.

“Robert Hur report and testimony is the biggest elephant in the room,” Kelly noted. “The term ‘arbitrary enforcement’ used frequently by both the defense and Judge Aileen Cannon.”

“Cannon hammered the fact no former president or vice president has been charged under Espionage Act for taking and keeping classified records including national defense information–which represents 32 counts against Trump in Jack Smith’s indictment,” she continued.

“Prediction: Cannon won’t dismiss the case based on the motions debated today–vagueness of Espionage Act and protection under the Presidential Records Act,” she added.

“But it’s very likely she will dismiss the case based on selective prosecution, a motion still pending before her,” she stated.

Kelly provided more information on the courtroom developments.

“Cannon pressed both defense and Special Counsel to explain when the ‘crime’ of willful retention of national defense information begins–she noted the date in Jack Smith’s indictment as to when Trump first violated the Espionage Act,” she said. “January 20, 2021, the day he left office.”

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“Jay Bratt, representing special counsel office, confirmed the ‘crime’ began that day because as a former president, he was entitled to retain the documents,” she also noted.

“Cannon again asked for historical precedent as to when a former president or vice president faced charges for similar conduct. Bratt of course said there is none.”

“She added ‘vice president’ on numerous occasions for a reason–Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, and Mike Pence all skated on criminal charges,” Kelly went on. “Trump is the only one who has not.”

“Cannon: ‘Arbitrary enforcement… is featuring in this case’. Cannon also addressed the ‘foreseeability’ as to Trump’s awareness he was committing a crime by keeping classified/national defense information,” she added.

“Given the constellation of what happened before”–meaning no criminal prosecution of former presidents including Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan and vice presidents–Cannon suggested Trump could have reasonably expected he was in the clear,” she went on.

Special Counsel Jack Smith’s classified documents case against Donald Trump is thus in peril of being dismissed for other reasons, such as “selective and vindictive prosecution.”

By Melinda Davies
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