Aileen Cannon Gets Something Right For Once

INSIDE: Donald Trump ... Fani Willis ... Sarah Sanders
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Stopped Clock Or Blind Hog?

In what I think is her first substantive CIPA ruling, U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon has sided with Special Counsel Jack Smith and ordered that the classified discovery in the Mar-a-Lago case not be shared with Donald Trump’s two co-defendants.

Smith’s contention was that because neither Walt Nauta nor Carlos De Oliveira were indicted for unlawfully retaining the documents in question they were not entitled to see them to mount their defense. Cannon agreed. Nauta and De Oliveira are charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice and various other counts related to the failure to return the documents to the government, but not the companion charges Trump faces for illegally retaining national security information.

This was a no-brainer decision, and it’s a sign of how abnormal Cannon’s handling of the case has been that this wasn’t decided as a matter of course earlier in the proceedings and that there was any suspense around how she would rule. Giving classified information to criminal defendants who had not previously seen the information or had proper classification to see it would have turned CIPA, the classified discovery law, totally upside down. So yay that she got it right! But let’s not judge her on too much of a curve.

In a separate move, Cannon issued guidance to parties for the upcoming all-day hearing Friday on a host of scheduling and other pretrial matters. As one of my colleagues put it, the order is rather pedantic. With Cannon, I find myself less convinced of her partisan allegiance to Trump than of her lack of confidence, experience, and competence. It doesn’t have to be either/or, though. In her insecurity, I suspect she gravitates toward the tribal cues and preferences she picks up on as a sort of security blanket. Not good!

That Was A Dud

The anticipated testimony of a supposed witness to the romantic relationship between Atlanta District Attorney Fani Willis and special prosecutor Nathan Wade fizzled in open court, leaving it even less likely that the trial judge will disqualify Willis from the case.

Wade’s divorce attorney Terrence Bradley said he didn’t know when the relationship started and that anything he may have previously said with certitude was mere speculation. Bradley was not a terribly convincing witness, but in the absence of any direct evidence that Willis and Wade were involved earlier than they claimed to the court, the judge isn’t left with much to go on. And even if Trump and his co-defendants had established what they set out to, it’s not clear if that would have been enough to warrant disqualification of the prosecutor.

I was left with the impression after watching yesterday’s hearing that Judge Scott McAfee figured it would be better to have all this aired in court even if it didn’t amount to much rather than leave lingering doubt about what may or may not have been testified to behind closed doors. Agree or not with that decision, it does seem to make any grounds for appeal much shakier given that McAfee allowed such a thorough airing of the issues and defendants came up with so little evidence.


Still no immunity decision from the Supreme Court.


Still no decision from the Supreme Court on the Colorado Disqualification Clause case.

Fun Read Of The Day

TPM’s Hunter Walker goes deep on Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ Super Bowl extravaganza:

Your humble TPM correspondent is, much like Hunter S. Thompson, Ice Cube, and the legendary “Violator,” a proud member of Raider nation. That means I come to the table with a healthy distaste for the Chiefs and I know exactly who to call about tickets in Sin City.   

Tea-Leaf Reading On Michigan’s Uncommitted Vote

The uncommitted protest vote against President Biden in the Michigan Democratic primary is going to come in at around 13%, neither an unmitigated disaster nor a trifling annoyance.

It remains the case that the Israel-Hamas war has been highly divisive for the Democratic coalition. The Biden campaign will need to work hard to reunite it going into November. That applies to the Arab-American community, the Muslim-American community and to a lesser but real degree young and non-white voters more generally. This is especially the case in Michigan which has a substantial Arab-American community, is always close in presidential elections and is a must win. Even limited disaffection is a big deal.


Democrats end up not going all out to squeeze partisan advantage out of the new district maps in New York.

Hunter Biden On The Hill

The president’s son will be grilled by House Republicans today as part of their election-year impeachment-apalooza.

That Turned Fast

Border visits are okay for me but not for thee:

IVF Is The Third Rail Of Abortion Politics

TPM’s Nicole Lafond: Another Day, Another Empty Display Of Support For IVF From Republicans

Shutdown Fears Fade

A White House meeting and continued negotiation seem to lower the risk for a partial government shutdown starting Friday.


A federal judge in Texas has ruled that Congress’ COVID-era proxy voting violated the Constitution’s Quorum Clause, invalidating in this case a major spending bill

Scientists Really Are Freaking The Eff Out

The dramatic increase in ocean surface temperatures in recent months, especially in the North Atlantic, has even normally circumspect scientists alarmed.

This Aged Well

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