Judge Weighs Removing Jack Smith in Trump Classified Documents Case

    Gavel via Wikimedia Commons Image

    Florida Judge Aileen Cannon is currently holding a hearing to consider whether the appointment of U.S. Special Counsel Jack Smith and the funding of his investigations is “unlawful.”

    Upon postponing the classified documents trial, Cannon scheduled deadlines for reports on June 10 and 17 and a hearing on a motion to dismiss on Friday, “based on unlawful appointment and funding of special counsel.” 

    Cannon expanded Friday’s hearing to allow amici to argue before the court, as well as Trump defense attorneys and federal prosecutors according to Fox News.

    Former Attorney General Ed Meese, who served under former President Reagan, filed an amicus brief in the case, in which he argues that Attorney General Merrick Garland’s appointment of Smith as special counsel – a private citizen at the time – violates the appointments clause of the Constitution. 

    Garland appointed Smith as special counsel on Nov. 18, 2022, mere days after Trump announced he would run for president in 2024. 

    Meese argues that the “illegality” of Smith’s appointment is “sufficient to sink Smith’s petition, and the Court should deny review.” 

    Meese and company noted in the brief that Smith was appointed “to conduct the ongoing investigation into whether any person or entity [including former President Trump] violated the law in connection with efforts to interfere with the lawful transfer of power following the 2020 presidential election or the certification of the Electoral College vote held on or about January 6, 2021.”

    Earlier this month, Garland defended his move during a hearing on Capitol Hill, arguing that “there are regulations under which the attorney general appoint special counsel. They have been in effect for 30 years, maybe longer, under both parties.” 

    Meese, however, in his briefs filed in several points in the Trump cases, argued that “none of those statutes, nor any other statutory or constitutional provisions, remotely authorized the appointment by the Attorney General of a private citizen to receive extraordinary criminal law enforcement power under the title of Special Counsel.”

    Meese’s brief was even mentioned in a question by Justice Clarence Thomas in the Supreme Court oral arguments over Trump’s presidential immunity in Smith’s other case regarding 2020 election interference, which the high court is expected to decide this month.

    Presenting arguments on June 21 in Florida on behalf of Meese will be Gene Schaerr; Josh Blackman on behalf of Professor Seth Barrett Tillman; and Matthew Seligman on behalf of constitutional lawyers, former government officials, and “State Democracy Defenders Action.”

    This is a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.



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