This One Sentence in the Ruling Overturning Judge Cannon's Pro-Trump Decision Says It All

Photo credit: Jeff Swensen - Getty Images
Photo credit: Jeff Swensen - Getty Images

One of the more bizarro aspects of Donald Trump's paper caper is all the back-and-forth around whether Trump magically declassified the documents using his extremely powerful brain. This is silly, but it doesn't really matter: The nuclear material he was hoarding in his basement was still the same nuclear material—and still potentially dangerous—even if he declared it declassified. If one of the many sketchy characters wandering the Mar-a-Lago grounds seemingly at all times got hold of it, they would not put it back on the basis it was no longer interesting because it had been declassified. It's the same document! That he may have been keeping in an unlocked storage room! This is insane!

Again, there is zero reason to believe anything Trump says at any time, and he has provided zero evidence for his claim that he declassified the documents. But these declassification questions are important to the legal beagles litigating Trump's attempt to drag all this out by securing a special master. He did so earlier this month courtesy of Judge Aileen Cannon, who was confirmed in that magical period between when Trump lost the election and when he tried to overthrow the government to stay in power. But on Wednesday, a panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals shredded her cockamamie decision in Trump's favor.

The three judges—two appointed by Trump, one by Barack Obama—nixed Cannon's ruling that the Justice Department could not access the classified documents they fished out of Mar-a-Lago until they are reviewed by the special master. In the process, they got to the heart of the matter.

"For our part," the panel wrote, "we cannot discern why Plaintiff would have an individual interest in or need for any of the one-hundred documents with classification markings."

The court is speaking in a legalese context here ("interest" has a specific meaning) but this is the question we should all just ask over and over: Why did he have these goddamned documents? That's what the Sky News interviewer asked Jared Kushner over and over again until he crumpled. Luckily, Trump just did a TV interview of his own with Sean Hannity last night and got to blabbering:

Sure, they raided your house looking for Hillary's emails. But there was a nice little tidbit there upfront: "Because you're sending it to Mar-a-Lago or to wherever you're...sending it." Where else might you be sending the documents, sir?

Maybe it's just a manner of speech. But you get the feeling that the interest Donald Trump continues to have in these documents is not something the country will enjoy discerning at all.

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