Of Donald Trump: ‘He’s done.’

Gilead

Donald Trump

Coup attempt


Fig. 1. Department of Justice photograph of seized materials, reportedly partially redacted, via the Washington Post, August 31, 2022, public domain.[7]

When I got home last night, my Twitter feed was dominated by a fair amount of triumphalism, including among lawyers, with a lot of screenshots from the Appeals Court stay of Aileen Cannon’s order regarding classified records that the Department of Justice won.

The lower court [Aileen Cannon] “abused its discretion in exercising jurisdiction … as it concerns the classified documents,” the [U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta] panel wrote in a 29-page opinion. Two of the judges on the panel were appointed by Trump; the third was an Obama appointee.[8]

The appeals court’s opinion was unsparing toward [Aileen] Cannon and replete with indications that the appeals judges took a vastly different approach to the document fight than she did.

[Donald] Trump’s legal team, Cannon and even a senior judge that she appointed as a special master have generally referred to the national-security documents at issue as “marked classified,” deferring at least to a degree to Trump’s claim that he declassified all the records found at Mar-a-Lago, despite a lack of evidence buttressing his assertion. But the appeals court panel took a different approach, often referring without qualification to the records as “classified.”

They also characterized the public dispute over potential declassification of the documents as a “red herring,” contending that even if true, “that would not explain why [Trump] has a personal interest in them.”[9]

[A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit] repeatedly rejected not just the Trump legal team’s lack of arguments, but also [Aileen] Cannon’s acceptance of them. Indeed, they suggested it was inexplicable that Cannon ruled for Trump even by her own logic.

The ruling really kicks into gear when the judges address what a 1977 Supreme Court case considered the “foremost consideration” in deciding whether a court such as Cannon’s should exercise jurisdiction in such a case: whether the government “displayed a callous disregard for … constitutional rights” in its seizure.

The judges say Cannon conceded that it hadn’t displayed such disregard, but then disregarded that consideration all the same — and say she thus “abused” her “discretion.”[10]

My favorite response, though, would be this:


It recalls my mother’s comment that judges do care what their colleagues think of them. But I guess the only opinion Cannon cares about is Donald Trump’s.

Jennifer Rubin, “If Garland sincerely believes in the rule of law, Trump is in deep trouble,” Washington Post, September 19, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/09/19/garland-trump-cannon-ruling-appeal/

Josh Gerstein and Kyle Cheney, “Special master to Trump’s lawyers: ‘You can’t have your cake and eat it,’” Politico, September 20, 2022, https://www.politico.com/news/2022/09/20/trump-special-master-judge-mar-a-lago-00057805

Perry Stein, Devlin Barrett, and Shayna Jacobs, “Special master prods Trump lawyers: ‘You can’t have your cake and eat it,’” Washington Post, September 20, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/09/20/dearie-mar-a-lago-trump/

Chris Walker, “Trump’s Lawyers are Already Bickering With the Special Master, Whom They Picked,” Truthout, September 20, 2022, https://truthout.org/articles/trumps-lawyers-are-already-bickering-with-the-special-master-whom-they-picked/

Devlin Barrett, “Appeals court sides with Justice Department in Mar-a-Lago case,” Washington Post, September 21, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/09/21/mar-a-lago-appeal-court-ruling/

Kyle Cheney and Josh Gerstein, “Trump suffers setback as appeals panel rejects Cannon ruling,” Politico, September 21, 2022, https://www.politico.com/news/2022/09/21/donald-trump-special-master-00058176

Richard Nixon [Justin Sherrin], “That is, if I were a Judge and was overturned in this manner, I would find it hard to leave the housek” Twitter, September 21, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/09/22/thorough-rebuke-judge-aileen-cannons-pro-trump-order/

David Smith, “‘He’s done’: how Donald Trump’s legal woes have just gotten a lot worse,” Guardian, September 22, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/sep/21/donald-trump-lawsuit-new-york-investigation

Finances


Fig. 2. Trump International Hotel, Las Vegas, undated image credited to https://www.flickr.com/photos/glynlowe/ [bad link], CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Though the New York suit is not a criminal prosecution, [Letitia] James’s referral to federal prosecutors at the southern district of New York threatens further serious legal peril for the former president and his three adult children.[11]

“He’s done,” said Allan Lichtman, a history professor at American University, in Washington, who has accurately predicted every presidential election since 1984. “[Donald Trump has] got too many burdens, too much baggage to be able to run again even presuming he escapes jail, he escapes bankruptcy. I’m not sure he’s going to escape jail.” . . .

Laurence Tribe, a constitutional law professor at Harvard University, noted that the civil component “involves things of particular significance to [Donald] Trump and his family and his organisation, namely their ability to defraud the public, to defraud banks, to defraud insurance companies, and to continue to subsist through corruption. Without all of that corruption, the entire Trump empire is involved in something like meltdown.”

Tribe added: “Trump is probably more concerned with things of this kind than he is with having to wear an orange jumpsuit and maybe answer a criminal indictment … As a practical matter, this is probably going to cause more sleepless nights for Mr Trump than almost anything else.”[12]

Shayna Jacobs and Jonathan O’Connell, “Donald Trump, 3 of his children sued for business fraud by New York AG,” Washington Post, September 21, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/09/21/trump-sued-new-york-letitia-james/

Hugo Lowell, Maya Yang, and Martin Pengelly, “New York attorney general lawsuit accuses Trump of ‘staggering’ fraud,” Guardian, September 21, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/sep/21/trump-new-york-investigation-ivanka-donald-eric

David Smith, “‘He’s done’: how Donald Trump’s legal woes have just gotten a lot worse,” Guardian, September 22, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/sep/21/donald-trump-lawsuit-new-york-investigation


  1. [7]Devlin Barrett, “Justice Dept. says Trump team may have hidden, moved classified papers,” Washington Post, August 31, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/08/31/trump-documents-removed-storage-room/
  2. [8]Devlin Barrett, “Appeals court sides with Justice Department in Mar-a-Lago case,” Washington Post, September 21, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/09/21/mar-a-lago-appeal-court-ruling/
  3. [9]Kyle Cheney and Josh Gerstein, “Trump suffers setback as appeals panel rejects Cannon ruling,” Politico, September 21, 2022, https://www.politico.com/news/2022/09/21/donald-trump-special-master-00058176
  4. [10]Aaron Blake, “A thorough rebuke of Judge Aileen Cannon’s pro-Trump order,” Washington Post, September 22, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/09/22/thorough-rebuke-judge-aileen-cannons-pro-trump-order/
  5. [11]Hugo Lowell, Maya Yang, and Martin Pengelly, “New York attorney general lawsuit accuses Trump of ‘staggering’ fraud,” Guardian, September 21, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/sep/21/trump-new-york-investigation-ivanka-donald-eric
  6. [12]David Smith, “‘He’s done’: how Donald Trump’s legal woes have just gotten a lot worse,” Guardian, September 22, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/sep/21/donald-trump-lawsuit-new-york-investigation

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