Another view | St. Louis Post-Dispatch: The judge in the documents case is clearly playing for the Trump team. She should not preside.

First, Donald Trump-appointed U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon granted the former president’s request for a “special master” to review documents he took from the White House, a baffling decision ridiculed by legal experts from across the political spectrum. Worse still, Cannon ruled that the FBI could not access the classified documents, thwarting an investigation with national security implications – another jaw-dropping position that an appeals court later overturned in scathing language.

Then, last week, Cannon overruled the special master she herself had appointed, saying Trump’s lawyers did not have to provide proof of his baseless claim that the FBI ‘planted’ documents. his home. It has become apparent that this judge shares Trump’s corrupt and transactional approach to politics. She shouldn’t be presiding over this case.

Trump offered several unlikely explanations for why he took and stored classified federal documents (some of which dealt with nuclear weapons) at his home in Florida and refused to return them until they were finally retrieved during a search ordered by the court. He claimed executive privilege, which does not apply to former presidents. He claimed that presidents have the power to declassify documents just “by thinking about it”. He suggested, without any evidence, that the FBI concealed documents in his home during their search.

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What self-respecting judge would tolerate such nonsense? Why, Cannon, whom Trump appointed late in his term and whose slim resume includes membership in the Federalist Society, the right-wing activist breeding ground for so many of Trump’s judicial appointments.

Yet even most Trump-appointed judges have admirably upheld their duty to impartially interpret the law. In fact, Trump named two of the three appeals panel judges who found that Cannon “abused (his) discretion” in suspending the FBI’s investigation into the documents.

But Cannon wasn’t done hauling Trump’s water. On Thursday, she ruled that Trump could ignore a ruling by the special master — whom she appointed at Trump’s request — that would have required Trump’s lawyers to either prove his false claim that the FBI had planted documents or to cease. to claim it. In other words, Cannon said, Trump is free to continue muddying the case with innuendo without having to back it up.

Courts of appeal can reassign cases to different judges based on their bias, although this is an extreme step that is usually not undertaken simply because a judge’s decisions favor one side. and have no legal meaning; generally, the remedy is to have these decisions overturned on appeal. But this is an unusual case in that Cannon’s apparent bias may have jeopardized national security in his attempt to block the FBI’s investigation into the contents of the classified documents.

The Justice Department should ask Cannon to recuse herself, and if she refuses, it should appeal for reassignment of the case. It’s too important to be left on the record of someone whose loyalty is clearly to Trump rather than the law.

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