The judge overseeing ex-President Donald Trump’s mammoth lawsuit against Hillary Clinton and a slew of other 2016 political enemies rejected Trump’s request that the judge disqualify himself on Wednesday.
Trump had requested that that the judge, Donald Middlebrooks of the Southern District of Florida, step aside because he was appointed by Clinton’s husband, ex-President Bill Clinton.
In his decision, Judge Donald Middlebrooks said it wasn’t lost on him that Trump’s legal team had initially tried to file the lawsuit in a division of the Southern District of Florida that’s presided over by a Trump-appointed judge, Aileen Cannon.
“Despite the odds, this case landed with me instead,” Middlebrooks wrote in his decision.
In fact, the judge noted, Trump has a history of not caring about partisan bias when one of his cases goes to a judge he himself appointed, including the judges who oversaw his infamous lawsuits, in which Trump and his campaign tried to overturn the 2020 election.
“To warrant recusal, something more must be involved than solely my appointment to the bench twenty-five years ago by the spouse of a litigant now before me,” Middlebrooks wrote, adding that he’s never even had contact with the Clintons.
“I have never met or spoken with Bill or Hillary Clinton,” he stated. “Other than my appointment by Bill Clinton, I do not now have nor have I ever had any relationship with the Clintons.”
The judge described how Clinton had nominated him in 1996 at the recommendation of both Democratic and Republican senators from Florida — Sens. Bob Graham (D) and Connie Mack (R) — before he was confirmed in the Senate by unanimous consent.
Middlebrooks also pointed to an obvious fact: Literally every federal judge is tapped by either a Democrat or Republican president, so what Trump’s essentially arguing is that no judge can be trusted to do their job independently and they’re all just doing the bidding of whichever president put them on the bench.
“Every federal judge is appointed by a president who is affiliated with a major political party, and therefore every federal judge could theoretically be viewed as beholden, to some extent or another,” he wrote.
Trump’s lawyers filed their motion for recusal on Monday that bizarrely argued Middlebrooks’ appointment by Clinton “amounts to prejudice so virulent or pervasive as to constitute bias against a party.”
Yet Trump’s legal team didn’t offer any actual evidence of a potentially improper relationship between the judge and the Clintons that would’ve tainted the case. Rather, the basis of Trump’s complaint rested entirely on the fact that the ex-president doesn’t know if there’s a potentially improper relationship.
Per the Trump team’s filing, “the Plaintiff is unaware of the exact extent of the relationship between Judge Middlebrooks and the Defendant, HILLARY CLINTON, herself, who acted as First Lady of the United States, during the time of the Judge’s nomination to Federal Court Judge.”
Additionally, “the Plaintiff is also unaware if the Judge has current relationship with either [Hillary Clinton] or her husband, and how far back the relationship has existed.”
Read the response from an unimpressed Middlebrooks below: