A Trump-appointed federal judge repeatedly snapped at the former president’s lawyers during classified document hearings, dispelling fears she’d give him an easy ride.
U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon has been overseeing the case against the former president over his alleged handling of classified documents.
Despite being nominated by the former President in 2020 to serve as a district judge in southern Florida, Judge Cannon is said to have snapped at Trump’s lawyers.
The New York Times reported that during a two hour pretrial conference earlier this week she fired back at one of his lawyers saying: ‘That’s not my question’, after they gave a ‘rambling rejoinder’ to one of her queries.
The outlet also reported that she frequently pushed his legal team to ‘articulate precisely the novel questions’ as to why she should delay the trial.
Judge Cannon, left, is said to have fired back at the legal team of the former President, right, during a pretrial conference earlier this week
In this courtroom sketch, attorney Todd Blanche stands as he enters a plea of not guilty on behalf of former President Donald Trump, second from right, last month
Judge Cannon is also said to have nodded when prosecutors argued that Trump should not be treated differently from any other citizen.
She also warned the defense team: ‘I don’t want to have delays’ before she then set the May trial date for the case on Friday.
Prosecutors had wanted the trial to take place in December, after the 2024 presidential election he’s running for.
But Cannon signaled Tuesday that she thought the timeline was too ‘compressed’ for a trial that involved classified materials.
That move was taken as a further sign that the judge will treat the man who appointed her in the same no-nonsense way as she would any other defendant.
By May, Trump – who is running far ahead of the other 2024 GOP contenders in early primary polls – could be the Republican Party’s presumptive presidential nominee.
It will be unprecedented to have a former president and presidential candidate standing trial.
Trump also said this week that he expects to be indicted again by Special Counsel Jack Smith on charges related to the 2020 election and January 6.
Last month, Trump appeared in federal court in Miami and pleaded not guilty to 37 counts related to his mishandling of classified materials including the willful retention of national defense information and making false statements.
The case, which is being handled by Smith, started after Trump refused to hand back classified documents he took from the White House to his Florida home and private club, Mar-a-Lago.
A photo of boxes of documents from the White House being stored in a bathroom at Mar-a-Lago that was part of Trump’s federal indictment
Trump is said to have kept boxes of documents at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, pictured here
In an interview last month with Fox’s Bret Baier, Trump said he had been ‘very busy,’ which was why he didn’t give the documents back.
‘Before I send boxes over I have to take all of my things out. These boxes were interspersed with all sorts of things – golf shirts, clothing, pants, shoes – there were many things,’ the ex-president explained.
Trump also claimed that ‘everything was declassified’ that he had in his possession.
The case potentially hinges on Trump’s admission, captured on tape, that he knows the information he had was classified and that he never declassified it.
In late June, CNN obtained an audio clip, referenced in the indictment, in which the former president can be heard showing people a document that he says was ‘highly confidential’ and contained ‘secret information’ about Iran.
The former President is pictured here in a court room sketch alongside his aide Walt Nauta and attorneys Chris Kise and Todd Blanche in Miami, last month
In the audio recording, Trump can be heard saying that the Pentagon and military officials ‘presented me this – this is off the record – but they presented me this.’
‘This totally wins my case, you know? Except it is highly confidential. Secret. This is secret information,’ Trump is heard saying in the leaked clip.
The indictment listed meeting attendees as Trump, two of his aides, a writer and a publisher who were working on former White House of Chief of Staff Mark Meadows’ memoir.
The rustling of papers is heard multiple times during the two-minute clip.
‘By the way, isn’t that incredible?’ Trump also said. ‘These are the papers. This was done by the military and given to me.’
‘See, as president I could have declassified it. Now I can’t, you know,’ he added, noting how it was ‘interesting’ and ‘cool.’