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Sketch of Judge Aileen Cannon

Courtroom sketch of U.S. District Court Judge Aileen Cannon, who was appointed by former President Donald Trump. (Image: Sketch by Bill Hennessy)

'Unfit for the Bench': Trump-Appointed Judge Orders Halt to DOJ Review of Seized Materials

"This judge is now an active participant in Trump's crimes," said one critic.

Julia Conley

Political observers on Monday said U.S. District Court Judge Aileen Cannon "engaged herself in obstruction of justice" by ruling that the U.S. Department of Justice must halt its review of materials seized at former President Donald Trump's Florida estate, Mar-a-Lago.

Cannon, who was appointed by the former Republican president and confirmed after he lost the 2020 election, ruled that Trump "faces an unquantifiable potential harm by way of improper disclosure of sensitive information to the public" if the review of the materials, which included documents marked "confidential" and "top secret" continues.

Political scientist Norman Ornstein noted that lawyers for Trump hand-picked Cannon to oversee the case.

Cannon "has violated her oath and is unfit for the bench," he tweeted, adding that her ruling is "a clear-cut impeachable offense."

Slate journalist Mark Joseph Stern said he had been assured that "no judge would take Trump's absurd filing seriously" after the former president sued the DOJ over the FBI raid which was sparked by the department's finding that Trump had taken classified documents from the White House when his term ended in January 2021.

"The problem, of course, is that Cannon is not a real judge, but a Trump judge, and one of the most corrupt of the bunch," said Stern.

Cannon ruled that a "special master" should be appointed to review the materials seized by the FBI and said the federal government should be "temporarily enjoined" from examining the documents further.

The Justice Department now has until September 9 to propose a list of special master candidates. It was unclear Monday whether the Biden administration would appeal Cannon's ruling.

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