Ex-Prosecutor Says New Trump Ruling Is ‘Worst Possible Outcome’ For Government

Former federal prosecutor Andrew Weissmann on Thursday argued why he believes the latest development in former President Donald Trump’s classified documents case is actually the “worst possible outcome” for prosecutors.

Trump-appointed U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon said she didn’t want to “prematurely decide” on Trump’s claim that special counsel Jack Smith’s case was based on unconstitutional vagueness as she dismissed that motion brought by Trump’s attorneys.

But it left the door open for the GOP nominee’s lawyers to raise it again and delay proceedings further, Weissmann told MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell.

Had Cannon “simply said, ‘I agree with Donald Trump and I find that this is vague and I am dismissing it,’ the government could have appealed it to the 11th Circuit, as they have done twice before, and won twice before,” said Weissmann.

That is “something that this judge is trying to avoid at all cost,” he claimed. “She also did not want to rule in favor of the government, so what she did is, said, ‘You know what, why don’t you bring this up later? I think there’s some real issues here,’ so she sort of flagged that.”

Weissmann anticipated “a lot of complications if she deals with this after a jury is sworn in this case because that is the key moment where double jeopardy becomes attached, and there are various legal consequences to that.”

“So this is the worst possible decision for the government,” he added. “By kicking it down the road and saying, ‘I may still decide in Donald Trump’s favor later,’ she has sort of avoided the Damocles of the 11th Circuit, but she has not given the government what they clearly deserve because there is nothing vague about this statute. People are in jail all over […] for violating this statute.”

Obama-era acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal largely agreed with Weissmann’s assessment, saying Cannon had “kicked the can down the road.”

Katyal criticized Cannon for dedicating an entire day to just two motions, which he described as “thoroughly absurd.”

“I mean, really, the only thing Donald Trump’s arguments merit are an eye-roll and a swift denial and not this labored one-day hearing and the like,” he told O’Donnell. “Every time she has these hearings, it delays the day of reckoning for Donald Trump, which is all he wants because if he can stretch this past the election [and he wins] he can order the Justice Department to drop this prosecution.”

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