Washington Examiner

Judge Cannon grills attorneys on special counsel budget – Washington Examiner

Judge Aileen​ Cannon, during a hearing in Florida, questioned attorneys about⁤ the⁣ funding for special​ counsel Jack‍ Smith’s office ⁤concerning former President Donald Trump’s case on classified documents. The session‍ on Monday continued from a previous hearing ‍on‌ Friday ⁢concerning the legitimacy‌ of Smith’s appointment. Trump’s defense argues ‌that his 40 charges of retaining ⁢national defense information should be dismissed, claiming Smith’s appointment was unvetted and improperly funded.

Judge Aileen Cannon spent Monday morning in Florida questioning attorneys in former President Donald Trump’s classified documents case about the funding for special counsel Jack Smith‘s office.

Cannon’s questions came during a continuation of a hearing that began on Friday in which the judge heard arguments about whether Smith was lawfully appointed to his position as special counsel.

Trump’s defense team has argued the former president’s 40 charges of retaining national defense information should be dismissed on the grounds that Smith’s appointment was both unvetted and improperly funded.

Trump attorney Emil Bove argued on Friday that unlike almost every special counsel of the last 40 years, Smith was not previously a Senate-confirmed U.S. attorney. Smith was therefore not vetted by the Senate before Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed him, Bove said.

The hearings have been dense as Cannon entertains weedy legal theories about the constitutional provisions and statutes that govern special counsel appointments, according to courtroom reports.

On Monday, Cannon gave Smith’s team a “rough reception” as she examined the funding the special counsel had received through Congress, according to Just Security. Smith was in the courtroom for the hearing.

Cannon, a Trump appointee, did not appear satisfied by what she perceived was the Biden administration’s “limitless” funding for Smith’s office, saying it created concerns for her about the separation of powers, Just Security reported.


The judge did not rule from the bench on Trump’s motion to dismiss his charges, but she has surprised some legal observers with how much time and consideration she has given to Trump’s argument, as courts have already exhaustively examined other special counsel appointments. As Cannon noted Friday, they are governed by “well-defined” statutes.

Cannon began the second half of Monday by reviewing a request Smith has made to restrict Trump’s speech about law enforcement by arguing that the former president’s rhetoric prompts certain Trump supporters to threaten law enforcement officials.

The judge was hearing arguments on Smith’s request at the time of this publishing.

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