Aileen Cannon, a United States District Court judge for the Southern District of Florida who was appointed by Donald Trump, has no idea what the former president wants her to do.
Judge Cannon gave Trump’s legal team until Friday to clarify their motive in a 27-page motion filed on Monday with the court asking for a “special master” to comb through the files seized in an FBI search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate on August 8th.
Among the issues that the judge asked Trump’s attorneys to clarify were such basic points as “the precise relief sought,” why the court has jurisdiction over the dispute, what legal standards apply, and whether the former president is seeking an immediate injunction against the government while the legal dispute plays out.
In the “Motion for Judicial Oversight and Additional Relief,” Trump asked for federal investigators to be prevented from further review of the records retrieved during the execution of the search warrant – requesting a third party oversee the process.
“This matter has captured the attention of the American public,” Trump’s motion says. “Merely adequate safeguards are not acceptable when the matter at hand involves not only the constitutional rights of President Trump, but also the preservation of executive privilege.”
Accusations of overreach, weaponization of federal law enforcement, and fourth amendment violations fill the motions, with claims that law enforcement is a “shield,” and “cannot be used as a weapon for political purposes.”
The ex-President also made claims that he wants the records back so they can be included in his presidential museum, Politico reported.
“We are now demanding that the Department of ‘Justice’ be instructed to immediately STOP the review of documents illegally seized from my home. ALL documents have been previously declassified,” Trump declared.
In April, Trump’s legal team was notified of the FBI’s interest in materials being kept at Mar-a-Lago — and their possible top-secret status. Negotiations were reportedly cordial between the Justice Dept. and the former President’s camp – until after the search.
Judge Cannon has said she wants to “understand Trump’s view on the effect of ongoing proceedings before Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart.”
Donald Trump’s motion has been criticized for being “convoluted” and “confusing,” lacking relevance to questions of legality.
Former federal prosecutor Jennifer Rodgers, says Judge Cannon’s request for clarification looks bad for Trump and his attorney’s argument. “It’s filed as a lawsuit but asking for relief as if it’s a motion, and it wasn’t filed with the judge who has the search warrant,” Rodgers said. “It also provides no grounds for relief and did not indicate it had been served on the government.”
This isn’t the first frivolous case filed by lawyers acting on Trump’s behalf.
In April a case was filed accusing Hillary Clinton and half the nation’s capital of conspiring to push “false” allegations that Trump colluded with Russia. Attempts to have that case land in Judge Cannon’s court failed.
An outspoken anti-vaxxer, Judge Aileen Cannon is no stranger to conspiracy theories. That even she can’t give Trump a pass on his baseless claims, does not bode well for the litigious former President.
Original reporting by Kyle Cheney and Josh Gerstein at Politico.
Follow Ty Ross on Twitter @cooltxchick