Judge questions Trump claim that Smith is part of ‘shadow government’

June 23, 2024

Judge Aileen Cannon grilled attorneys in Florida on Friday about how much independence special counsel Jack Smith had over the classified documents case against former President Donald Trump. Cannon’s questions came as part of hearing on a request Trump made in February that the case be dismissed on the grounds that Attorney General Merrick Garland allegedly unlawfully appointed Smith as special counsel. The hearing was dense and involved Cannon, a Trump appointee, entertaining weedy legal theories about the constitutional provisions and statutes that govern special counsel appointments, according to reports from the courtroom. Cannon’s decision to hold a hearing on the special counsel question has drawn criticism from some who say that arguments surrounding special counsel appointments have been exhaustively entertained in courts. Cannon’s approach has been favorable to Trump, who pushed for a trial to occur after the presidential election.