A three-judge federal appeals court panel ruled unanimously Wednesday that Judge Aileen Cannon—a Trump appointee—\u0022abused\u0022 her discretion by barring the U.S. Department of Justice from proceeding with its criminal investigation into the former president\u0026#039;s removal of classified documents from the White House.\r\n\r\nIn a scathing 29-page order granting a partial stay of the district court judge\u0026#039;s order, two Trump appointees and one Obama appointee on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit dismantled Cannon\u0026#039;s legal reasoning for halting the Justice Department\u0026#039;s criminal probe of documents, writing that they could not \u0022discern why [Trump] would have an individual interest in or need for any of the one-hundred documents with classification markings.\u0022\r\n\r\n\u0022This reads more like disappointed professors correcting a student who clearly hadn\u0026#039;t been doing the reading or paying attention in class.\u0022\r\n\r\nCannon insisted in her ruling earlier this month that the former president has an interest in the documents seized from his Florida home in an August 8 raid because the containers also included \u0022medical documents, correspondence related to taxes, and accounting information.\u0022\r\n\r\nBut the appeals panel noted that Cannon failed to explain how Trump \u0022might have an individual interest in or need for the classified documents\u0022 in particular and observed that the classified material is easily separated from any personal items.\r\n\r\n\u0022Classified documents are marked to show they are classified, for instance, with their classification level,\u0022 the appeals court ruling notes. \u0022Plaintiff has not even attempted to show that he has a need to know the information contained in the classified documents... Plaintiff suggests that he may have declassified these documents when he was president. But the record contains no evidence that any of these records were declassified.\u0022\r\n\r\nIn a Fox News interview that aired late Wednesday, Trump claimed the president can declassify documents \u0022by thinking about it.\u0022\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nThe appeals court panel went on to reject Cannon\u0026#039;s claim that Trump could suffer \u0022irreparable harm\u0022 if the DOJ is permitted to continue its criminal probe of the documents\u0026#039; seizure before a special master is allowed to review the materials. To justify that assertion, Cannon cited \u0022the threat of future prosecution and the serious, often indelible stigma associated therewith.\u0022\r\n\r\nIn response, the appeals court judges wrote that \u0022no doubt the threat of prosecution can weigh heavily on the mind of someone under investigation.\u0022\r\n\r\n\u0022But without diminishing the seriousness of that burden,\u0022 they added, \u0022\u0026#039;if the mere threat of prosecution were allowed to constitute irreparable harm... every potential defendant could point to the same harm and invoke the equitable powers of the district court.\u0026#039;\u0022\r\n\r\nThe panel, whose ruling was limited to the roughly 100 classified documents found at Trump\u0026#039;s home, ultimately concluded that \u0022an injunction delaying (or perhaps preventing) the United States\u0026#039; criminal investigation from using classified materials risks imposing real and significant harm on the United States and the public.\u0022\r\n\r\n\u0022The United States also argues that allowing the special master and plaintiff\u0026#039;s counsel to examine the classified records would separately impose irreparable harm,\u0022 the judges continued. \u0022We agree.\u0022\r\n\r\nIn addition to delivering a win for the Justice Department, which will now be allowed to utilize the classified materials in its criminal probe, the ruling as a whole amounted to a striking rebuke of Cannon\u0026#039;s handling of the case and of the Trump team\u0026#039;s attempts to hinder the DOJ\u0026#039;s probe into the former president\u0026#039;s removal of classified and \u0022top secret\u0022 documents from the White House.\r\n\r\n\u0022This reads more like disappointed professors correcting a student who clearly hadn\u0026#039;t been doing the reading or paying attention in class,\u0022 The Intercept\u0026#039;s Ryan Grim wrote of the appeals court decision.\r\n\r\n\u0022Rather than engage in any sophisticated legal reasoning or deep exploration of precedent,\u0022 Grim added, \u0022the judges here... simply laid out how and why Judge Cannon wasn\u0026#039;t even remotely close to being right in appointing a \u0026#039;special master\u0026#039; to review these documents.\u0022\r\n\r\nTrump\u0026#039;s team, which has claimed the appeals court doesn\u0026#039;t have jurisdiction to review Cannon\u0026#039;s ruling, could now turn to the conservative-dominated U.S. Supreme Court for relief.