The Mar-a-Lago Raid: Criminal Prosecution or Political Indemnification?

Below is my column in the Hill on the raid on Mar-a-Lago. Questions continue to grow over the necessity for the raid as opposed to the use of a subpoena or other means. According to the Trump counsel, the former president was given an earlier subpoena and complied with it and then voluntarily gave the FBI access to a storage area and agreed to add a specified lock on the room. It is not clear why a second subpoena would not have sufficed if there were other covered material under the Presidential Records Act.

There is also a report of a confidential informant or source used in the operation. The only thing clear is that, while the J6 Committee does not appear to have changed many minds, the raid has. Any possibility that Donald Trump might not run seems to be evaporated with any likely challengers in the wake of the raid. That could change as we learn more details but the raid has galvanized Trump’s supporters. Ironically, Newsweek reported that the FBI was hoping the raid with Trump out of town would be a “lower profile” option — a notion that borders on the delusional. The lower profile option is called a subpoena.

Here is the column:

The unprecedented raid on former President Trump’s home in Florida has set off firestorms of celebration and recrimination across the country. For Trump foes, it is the long-awaited moment of FBI agents swarming over Trump’s property in a concrete step toward criminal prosecution. For his supporters, it confirms long-standing suspicions of an FBI willing to target Trump on any grounds possible, to bar him from regaining office.

The raid will fulfill the narrative of both sides and, in many ways, advance both causes. For many Democrats, it will paint Trump as a felon-in-chief; for many Republicans, it will reinforce belief in a “deep-state” conspiracy against him.

Yet this is another moment in need of sobering reality checks on what it does and does not mean.

The most serious possible aspect of the raid did not occur on Monday night. This apparently was not a warrant executed in relation to the Jan. 6 riot or an outgrowth of an ongoing grand jury investigation in Washington that could involve charges of seditious conspiracy, obstruction of official proceedings or other serious counts.

Instead, the raid initially appears to be an outgrowth of the long tension between Trump and the National Archives over material removed at the end of his presidency that is subject to the Presidential Records Act (PRA).

previously testified in Congress on the seizure of some boxes of material at Mar-a-Lago and the authority of the National Archives to seek intervention by the attorney general to force compliance with the PRA. The PRA is rarely subject to criminal prosecution, and past prosecutions have resulted in remarkably light punishments.

While the PRA requires the preservation of documents — and Trump’s alleged removal of records likely violated the law — it is relatively weak on enforcement elements. As shown in prior administrations, presidents have long chafed over the PRA’s limitations and required disclosures.

The 1978 law requires that memos, letters, emails and other documents related to a president’s duties be preserved for retention by the National Archives and Records Administration at an administration’s end. Prosecutions can include charges under Section 2071 which states that anyone who “willfully and unlawfully conceals, removes, mutilates, obliterates or destroys … any record, proceeding, map, book, paper, document, or other thing, filed or deposited … in any public office” can be fined or imprisoned up to three years. An allegation of removing classified material can trigger other laws beyond the PRA that bar the removal without authorization and proper protections.

Records violations involving both presidential and non-presidential material are common, however. Those laws were raised with regard to former FBI Director James Comey removing FBI material and then leaking information to the press, yet he was not prosecuted.

In the case of President Clinton’s former national security adviser, Sandy Berger, the violations involved stuffing classified material into his pants and socks to remove them from the Archives and, after dropping them at an outside location, to retrieve them later. Berger was allowed to plead to a misdemeanor, given two years’ probation and a three-year suspension — not a permanent revocation — of his security clearance.

Former CIA director and retired four-star Army general David Petraeus was accused of giving access to classified information to his alleged lover. Although prosecutors reportedly wanted to file serious felony charges, Petraeus also was given a generous plea deal without jail time.

Thus, the targeting of Trump on a PRA case would raise questions about the necessity for such a raid, as opposed to using a subpoena or other measures. It does not mean criminal charges are inevitable, despite the euphoria expressed in many quarters.

All this brings us back to Sandy Berger’s socks — with a top official knowingly stuffing classified material in his clothing in order to remove it from a secure location, then dropping it at a spot for later retrieval.

Thus far, Trump’s reported behavior is well short of Berger’s. According to Trump’s son, Eric, Trump’s safe was forced open, only to find it empty. The question is, what documents were found and was there prior knowledge that they were illegally withheld? Archives officials searched Mar-a-Lago in February and recovered 15 boxes of material; it is unclear whether they identified and notified Trump of other missing documents believed to remain on his property.

While there is no need to show “evil intent,” the Justice Department must show that “an act is … done voluntarily and intentionally and with the specific intent to do something the law forbids.” Whether such evidence exists here is not clear.

The Justice Department could argue that the earlier recovery of 15 boxes put Trump on notice that he had to make a complete surrender of any such documents. However, it still would need to show he had the specific intent to hide or retain such material. If he was given specific notice of material in his possession, it could show specific intent. It also would show a virtual self-destructive mania in light of the host of investigations already circling the former president. Absent an extraordinary disregarding of any notice, this search could find covered or classified material — but not necessarily find a viable criminal case.

If that is the case, there likely will be continuing questions over the use of a sensational raid to look for classified material, particularly this close to the midterm elections. The Biden administration has engaged repeatedly in heavy-handed FBI raids without any clear necessity, including searches or arrests targeting Rudy Giuliani, Roger Stone, Peter Navarro and other Trump associates; each played out on television, despite the obvious alternatives of voluntary surrenders. It remains unclear whether some of these raids even uncovered criminal evidence or will result in criminal charges.

There is a documented history of bias against Trump by top FBI officials, including prior falsification or misrepresentations used to facilitate the Russia conspiracy investigation. Thus, Attorney General Merrick Garland surely knew this raid would rekindle suspicions that this could be another example of what fired FBI official Peter Strzok once called an “insurance policy” against Trump becoming president in 2016 — only this time in 2024. For that reason, the Justice Department has an added burden to show this raid was a step toward actual criminal prosecution and not just a political indemnification.

We will soon learn if a criminal case can be brought on the fruits of this search. Absent such charges, the empty safe at Mar-a-Lago could become the most indelible and embarrassing image since Al Capone’s safe.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanTurley.

 

616 thoughts on “The Mar-a-Lago Raid: Criminal Prosecution or Political Indemnification?”

  1. Jonathan: Regarding your previous column on the J.6 hearings you are as perceptive as Helen Keller. Of Course, Americans have not changed their opinion. As far back as January Mitch McConnell concluded Trump was largely responsible for Jan. 6. All the polls since show the American people agree with McConnell. And it isn’t “striking” that 60% believe the aim of the J.6 Hearings is to keep Trump from running again. What the J.6 hearings have accomplished is to flush out the details of how planned and executed his plot to overturn the 2020 election. So the polls prove the opposite of what you intended in your column.

    As to the FBI raid you were on Fox News 2 days ago trying to make the case that is a “mystery” why the FBI did not simply issue a subpoena or ask for voluntary compliance for the requested classified docs. It now appears there was an informant inside Mar-a-Lago that told the FBI where to find the docs–thus making it easier to get a warrant that requires “specificity”. It should also be pointed out that for over a year the National Archives had sought voluntary compliance but Trump basically gave the NA the middle finger. A subpoena would have been equally ineffective. Trump would simply go to court and try to obstruct and delay and then flush the docs down the toilet! That’s how Trump works when he is trying to hide something. Your argument does not pass the laugh test!

  2. Passing along the following of possible interest. Based on a recent Fox report, it appears that JT wants Garland to appoint a special counsel to investigate Trump and J6 (not sure if that covers the records issue). Based on a recent Larry Tribe tweet, he is making a distinction between additional qualifications and disqualification and therefore thinks that disqualification provisions for a President are constitutional.

  3. Maybe we need a psychologist or profiler to give a view here as to overall context?

    You have a guy that probably was rich kid driven to grade school in a chauffeured limousine (probably never rode in a public school bus in his life). Basically an elite prima Dona and bully since childhood. Used to getting what he wanted and likely never worked a real blue collar job in his life.

    A guy used to doing what he wants regardless of any law or any rules. Maybe it’s that simple. He finally may have met his match!

  4. Because the warrant is sealed, I’m wondering if it expressly provides for an INDEPENDENT “FILTER TEAM” to review all seized material and separate material that could be subject to privilege/confidentiality/work product/relevance, etc.??? -Never practiced crim law, but I know that search warrants often contain such provisions and protocol, especially involving corporations with massive documents/materials.
    When so provided in the warrant, I think the filter team may get the seized material to review (to limit investigators’ access to privileged/private material), so that Trump’s team can file for protection, or Trump can waive. When done correctly, appears to contain “fishing expeditions.”

    1. Trump lawyers have a copy of the warrant. They can release it anytime. What IS sealed is the affidavit.

      1. Thank you, Svelaz: exactly correct. The Judge seals the Affidavit itself, and for valid reasons.

  5. The Latest Canard:

    If he wants to, Trump can make public a copy of the sealed search warrant.

    So a court issues a *sealed* search warrant, a copy of which (let’s assume) is presented to the target of that warrant.

    According to the latest canard, the target is then free to make public the contents of a *sealed* search warrant?!

    True to form, the apologists wil blithely drop this canard — and fabricate countless more.

    1. Warrants are routinely sealed to third parties!
      That doesn’t mean that the subject cannot make the warrant public if s/he chooses.

      True to form, you pretend that sealing the warrant implies that Trump cannot make it public. You are wrong about this.

      1. Trump nor his attorneys have the warrant or the affidavit. The FBI did not even communicate with local West Palm Beach Police Dept.

        Palm Beach Police Department
        @PalmBeachPolice
        We have received numerous requests from media outlets in regards to an incident that occurred at Mar-A-Lago yesterday. (Part 1)
        1:51 PM · Aug 9, 2022·Twitter Web App

        Palm Beach Police Department
        @PalmBeachPolice
        The Palm Beach Police Department was not aware of the existence of a search warrant nor did our department assist the FBI in the execution of a search warrant. (Part 2)
        1:52 PM · Aug 9, 2022·Twitter Web App

        Palm Beach Police Department
        @PalmBeachPolice
        · Aug 9
        The Palm Beach Police Department continues to maintain a good relationship with the FBI; however, we are disappointed by their lack of communication regarding this incident. (Part 3)

        1. All they’re saying is that they weren’t involved and weren’t aware prior to the search. Duh. It was a federal warrant, not a local warrant.

    2. Trump has the manifest or list of everything that was seized. There is no reason he couldn’t release it, OTHER THAN he is using the search warrant to stir up his fans and to fund-raise. If nothing was seized that was classified or top secret, then he could argue that the search warrant was politically motivated. BUT, he hasn’t released it because he did illegally retain documents he stole.

      1. OH YES! Why oh why, won’t the evil and inept Trump simply prove his innocence against this latest batch of inane smears, eh Nacho?

        Why you ask, because THAT is not how the system works. You dolts must PROVE a crime… and in this case, you’ve likely committed a crime. I wonder if the DOJ found the Crossfire Hurricane documents they are desperate to keep hidden and which Trumps declassified and a court has ordered a Response regarding. It took them 9 hours to retrieve documents in a locked room that they had previously ordered locked? It’s going to be a lot harder for the DOJ to pretend they “lost” more documents if they are not sure that Trump can provide them a copy pursuant to a Court order, of course.

        Good Luck Nacho, you and yours are going to need it.

          1. Oh Anonny, if you are gonna keep going around getting all personally offended, use a real fake name for pete’s sake, george’s sake, matt’s sake — oh and let Nuttychacha fight her own battles.

  6. This may simply be a “recovery operation” without criminal indictment. The National Archives may be simply recovering the American people’s property that was stolen from us. Usually the elites like Trump never serve any jail time (unlike little people like Reality Winner, John Kiriakou and Chelsea Manning).

    1. Barring information that shows the search warrant was for something more than what has been reported, most Americans are not going to support raiding somebody’s home for this.

      Again, barring something more in the warrant, this just can’t happen. This is a HUGE mistake. HUGE. I just can’t imagine what they were thinking.

      We’re probably at a point where a clear majority of Americans don’t believe in our federal justice and law enforcement agencies. That adds to an unstable situation.

      1. The government cannot execute a valid search warrant at the home of someone who is illegally in possession of government property, after previously asking the person to turn over all of the government property?!?

      2. And this did not help with that.

        Biden and Garland are undermining their own credibility.

        They must come up with something – COMPELLING and quickly or the damage is huge.

    2. It’s also a great way for Trump to get a lot of documents cataloged or admitted as evidence with a definitive chain of custody. This boomerangs badly imho

    3. Already trying to back pedal.

      So exactly what was this property of the american people ?
      And how was it stolen ?

      Do you honestly believe that Trump had – on paper in boxes, documents that do not exist anywhere within the US government ?

      Did he walk off with the original of the Declaration of independence ?

      So is your claim that Donald and Melanie backed a Uhaul up to the Est wing late at night and hauled out 50 boxes of documents ?

      Do you ever think about the things you say ?

    4. AZ, for some reason your prior comment and subsequently my comment was deleted. Whether this had something to do with Anonymous the Stupid, I can’t tell for sure. If your response was to him then it probably was caused by ATS. I am repeating that posting here.

      “Those documents belong us, not Trump.”

      AZ, you make that comment without knowing what documents you are talking about. A piece of toilet paper slipped into some of the papers. I will provide you with ownership of that piece of toilet paper. Before you make such a claim, you ought to know what you are talking about.

      Do you realize how many times the record keepers and the FBI have been at MAL collecting things they believe are their duty to collect? If they did the job correctly the first time, one would expect that no documents remained. If they did the job a second time it would be crazy to believe Trump withheld anything because by that time they would have figured out what they forgot. I don’t know how many more times officials were collecting things but as late as June third the FBI collected more documents and Trump thanked them and said his door was open to any further requests they had. They then asked to place their lock on the storage room which was intact when they last broke in to do what was completed months before.

      “Those documents belong us, not Trump.” sounds like a record that doesn’t recognize that the FBI supposedly emptied everything from MAL. The President hasn’t been back to the WH since. Such ignorance is not expected from you AZ.

      ” Trump has a copy of the search warrant and inventory of what items were seized.”

      You don’t know that to be true. You assume it and may or may not be correct at this hour, but not when the search occurred. It was a sealed warrant and the attorney at MAL stated they did not give it to her. I explained this to Svelaz earlier. Try not to listen to what he says because it will make you look as foolish as him.

      ” instead cited the 5th Amendment over 440 times.”

      More uneducated BS. AZ. Why do you want to sound like the nuts that surround you? Once a person takes the Fifth it is permanent unless he wishes to fully testify. A prosecutor can repeat the same question a million times and the person must repeat that he takes the Fifth a million times. That is why your comment sounds so ignorant. Try to keep your comments rationale based on critical thinking.

      “Trump never owned those documents.”

      Again, you don’t know that.

  7. Holocaust survivor Hanna Arendt wrote in ‘Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report of the Banality of evil’ a sentence that could show reflections of today’s circumstances.

    “It was as though in those last minutes he was summing up the lessons that this long course in human wickedness had taught us—the lesson of the fearsome, word-and-thought-defying banality of evil”.

    1. I consider you an example of banal evil. You lie day in, day out. You argue that women shouldn’t have the right to vote. You argue that Black Americans should lose their citizenship. Your bigotry is disgusting. I bet that Arendt would have been on my side in this and not yours.

      1. You should watch where your brush is used. You have previously barked up the wrong tree, your arrogance and accusations aside, I have never said such things like what you wrote. You have me confused with someone else.

          1. Oh stop Anonny. If you want to get all personal and offended, use a real fake name for george’s sake 😉

            1. I’m not offended, simply acting like an adult and apologizing for confusing George W with George the Bigot.

              1. “I consider you an example of banal evil. You lie day in, day out. You argue that women shouldn’t have the right to vote. You argue that Black Americans should lose their citizenship. Your bigotry is disgusting.”

                Uh, sweetheart, that’s called “being offended” K?

  8. Thank you Professor Turley for a pertinent and thoughtful column. Unprecedented actions demand unprecedented disclosures. Outrageous actions demand unprecedented accountability. The nation has neither from Garland or Wray. Hiding behind the well worn phrase of “I can’t comment” to defend their actions only leads to greater and increasingly bizarre speculations. Given the past history of the FBI & DOJ, Garland and Wray are obligated to defend their actions to the nation. The nation will judge if those actions were rightfully unprecedented or conversely, demand a full accountability.

  9. The whole thing is very odd. What possible motive would Trump have for retaining documents the Archives wanted? If they were highly incriminating why would he retain them rather than destroy them? And why were three (3) DOJ lawyers present? Government lawyers don’t normally participate in executing search warrants. Were they just there for the show? It seems likely this was all political theater for the Democrat base. Even if no evidence was found, they’ve now accomplished two things to make the base happy: (1) humiliated Trump by treating him like a criminal and (2) disrupted his life by turning his home upside down and taking some of his property. As someone said, “the process is the punishment.”

    1. “ The whole thing is very odd. What possible motive would Trump have for retaining documents the Archives wanted?”

      It’s not all about motive. It’s also about the basic fact that those documents were not his to keep. They are the property of the archives. When Trump took those documents from the White House the act constitutes an act of theft.

      Trump had no reason whatsoever to argue that he could keep them. None.

      “ And why were three (3) DOJ lawyers present? ”

      Since this search warrant was for a former president’s private residence there had to be an absolute need to do everything by the book. Everything. Having the DOJ lawyers would ensure that any dispute or issue could be dealt with right then and there. It would also provide ample witnesses to attest that everything went according to the law.

      The process is not a punishment. It’s essentially the government taking back what does not belong to Trump by force due to the sensitivity of the classified documents. If there were very sensitive classified documents known to be in Trump’s possession the government will not hesitate to take serious action. Trump is no longer president and as a private citizen he’s committing a crime by keeping those documents. It’s as simple as that.

      1. “It’s not all about motive. It’s also about the basic fact that those documents were not his to keep. They are the property of the archives. When Trump took those documents from the White House the act constitutes an act of theft.”

        No one seems concerned about the millions of documents that Obama still has.

        1. The documents from the obama administration were also given the the archives at the end of his terms. What you don’t understand is once the Obama library or any other presidential library opens. The archives go thru a process to declassify and vet documents for the library. They don’t go to Obama or any other president’s home.

          It’s the archive that controls the dissemination of those documents because it’s the law. Obama doesn’t have documents from the White House except his own personal documents which any president is allowed I keep. Trump got White House documents that were government related and included classified documents which he was not authorized to have. That’s the difference.

  10. Was all of this a subtle plot to fire up the Republican base?

    My Republican friends are speechless with rage and laser focused on the coming midterms.

  11. Joe Biden’s ‘handlers’ expect the American Public, no matter what side of the political spectrum, to believe that Joe had no knowledge of the FBI action at Mar-a-Lago.

    They can deny deny deny all day long, but they cannot expect that at least 1/2 the country won’t believe Joe’s denials.

    This was an orchestrated event and may yet turn out to be a ‘triggering’ event to be looked back upon to explain future events in the period 2022 through 2024, perhaps beyond.

    1. Joe Biden’s ‘handlers’ expect the American Public, no matter what side of the political spectrum, to believe that Joe had no knowledge of the FBI action at Mar-a-Lago.

      It’s plausible he was briefed, but given he can’t remember who he shook hands with 5 seconds ago, it’s equally plausible that he has no knowledge of the raid.

      1. I saw he needed Jill’s help putting on his jacket. I wonder if he needs help wiping when he uses the loo.

        What a disgrace this administration is.

  12. “the raid initially appears to be an outgrowth of the long tension between Trump and the National Archives”

    You’ll have to excuse me if I’m a bit skeptical of this. But even if true, then it’s an overly draconian act.

    Having said that, it was Trump who increased penalties for the Presidential Records Act, and hyped its significance as a criminal act of major proportions. Apparently, he believed his own rhetoric about Hillary Clinton enough that he is actually a willing participant in giving the federal government and excuse to do things like this — claiming this “major criminal activity” created the necessity for this type of action.

    1. You actually believe Reptillary didn’t break any laws by having a private email server at her home to conceal and withold OFFICIAL US Government material that was never turned over to the National Archives, as REQUIRED BY LAW? Irrefutable fact.

      Your stage 5 TDS has made you delusional.

      1. I don’t excuse Hillary. The State Department IG report speaks for itself. But you’ve got a syndrome of your own if you think she violated the espionage act, or other evidence sufficient for a prison sentence.

        You obviously haven’t seen my other comments describing what the F.B.I. did here as brazen corruption.

        But the con man Donald “only the mob takes the 5th” Trump would be rooting the F.B.I. on if this were being done to somebody else.

    2. Steven,

      That’s the biggest irony in this whole scandal. Trump did what he accused Hillary of doing and he did it as a private citizen not a government official. By his own rules Trump is liable to go to prison off five years. Trump took months to finally return documents that he wasn’t supposed to have the first time he was subpoenaed by the archives a fact that Turley conveniently leaves out. After Trump finally turned in documents the archives noticed he didn’t return all of them. They had proof that trump had more and correctly notified the DOJ. Because it involved highly sensitive classified documents the DOJ was obligated to act fast. Remember Trump is a private citizen illegally in possession of documents pertaining to national security. The government is not obligated to wait for a subpoena to be issued.

      1. “Because it involved highly sensitive classified documents the DOJ was obligated to act fast.”

        I am skeptical of that. But you raise a sticky issue. In the real world of sanity, this raid is excessive. But Trump himself supported amping up the Presidential Records Act beyond reasonableness.

        We have a bloated often ill-thought-out criminal code. He added to it.

        1. “ In the real world of sanity, this raid is excessive.”. It was not a raid. It was a search for documents.

          If it indeed involves sensitive national security documents. The DOJ IS obligated to act fast because Trump has a well known history of destroying documents he thinks are his.

          Legally Trump stole those documents and according to the law he can be deemed to have stolen classified documents which is a serious crime.. according to Trump’s own words.

      2. We don’t know what the FBI was searching for, and we shouldn’t pretend to know. The facts will become public in time.

        1. Off-the-record leaks of a general nature, and sometimes of a specific nature, are part of the natural order in Washington. From the New York Times to the Washington Post, to the Washington Times to The New York Post, a general leak has taken place — this was about a document dispute.

          And I don’t think it’s a good idea for the electorate to allow itself to be put on hold regarding government activity. There are things that can be discussed among the electorate, and information of a general nature demanded from the government regarding its activities.

  13. We still have the issue of the “informant”, arguably there to plant evidence on behalf of the FBI – both parties have the “means, motive, and opportunity” to frame Trump because they can.

    1. Amazing. You know absolutely nothing about the informant(s), but you “arguably” assume that they were there to plant evidence.

      1. but you “arguably” assume that they were there to plant evidence.

        Because the FBI has a history. The crew that wanted to Kidnap the Michigan Governor>?. More paid informants and FBI agents than civilians. The leader of the group left because it was going off the rails and left months before. Leaving an FBI agent as leader of the group planning the kidnapping.
        Lots of lies in the Russia, Russia, Russia scam. Care to talk about 100’s of young women enduring sexual abuse? The case were the FBI just ignored the crimes for a couple of years. Lying to get FISA warrants , Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. So using power reserved to surveil foreign actors was used to spy on a Presidential Campaign.
        We can talk about Garland breaking speed records to spy on parents going to school board meetings.The White House claiming no contact with DoJ wrote the letter and had the assc of school boards put it on their letterhead.

        So yes. The FBI or their paid informant is most likely planting evidence.

  14. Why won’t Trump show us the warrant and inventory list of items seized? Trump is the only one that can legally do it. If he did nothing wrong why not show us?

    The moral of the story is “don’t steal documents”! Democrats were convicted for doing the same thing.

    1. ^^^^

      behold the current talking points by Team Biden, subject to change as new talking points are delivered to their trolls

      1. Anonymous,

        He isn’t wrong. You didn’t refute what he said. It’s true that Trump has a copy of the warrant since the FBI os obligated by law to hand him a copy. He’s perfectly free to show it to the media and prove his claims.

        He’s not going to because it’s obvious he doesn’t want to expose his lying. Just like Alex Jones who got caught lying on the stand.

    2. “Why won’t Trump show us the warrant . . .”

      Maybe because the warrant is *sealed*.

      The right questions are: Why did the Biden administration demand a *sealed* warrant? Why doesn’t it want the public to see that warrant? What is it hiding?

      1. IF the warrant is sealed (which we don’t know), then a redacted version can still be released, and you should be asking: why isn’t Trump releasing a redacted copy?

        1. Correction: we do know that the warrant is sealed **to third parties** because that’s SOP.

          You’re claiming that it’s sealed to Trump, which would be contrary to law.

          1. Trump nor his attorneys have the warrant. The warrant nor the affidavit have to be shown. They showed Trump’s attorney the warrant from several feet of her presence, after she arrived where they were already ransacking his residence. For this reason Trump’s attorneys are requesting a physical copy of the warrant and the affidavit

            https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2022/08/10/mar-lago-search-warrant-mystery/10289052002/?gnt-cfr=1

            “Matt Dallek, a longtime presidential historian, told USA TODAY, ‘Even if Trump decides to go public with the warrant, he only has a copy of the application for the search warrant. FBI agents never leave the document that spells out the scope and depth of the investigation, which is the affidavit, or statement of facts, filed by one of the investigating agents as part of the application for the search warrant that is presented to a judge, Laufman said.”

            1. Trump’s a pathological liar.

              He hasn’t filed any motion demanding a copy of he warrant. He has it already, and he isn’t releasing it because he doesn’t want to.

              And as I already pointed out, by law, Trump can challenge the warrant application and read the affidavits in a secure location: https://www.law.cornell.edu/rules/frcrmp/rule_41
              As your own article notes, “FBI agents never leave the [warrant application],” so Trump is being treated like everyone else in that regard.

            2. “ Trump nor his attorneys have the warrant. The warrant nor the affidavit have to be shown.”

              They have the warrant. They are required by law to have a copy. What they don’t have is there affidavit. But that doesn’t matter because trump is also required to have a copy of all the items that were removed from the property.

              If the warrant is sealed it means it’s serious enough that it will be used to press charges on trump.

            3. “They showed Trump’s attorney the warrant from several feet of her presence, after she arrived where they were already ransacking his residence.“

              Were you there?

    3. Tough to show a warrant when the closest the fbi allowed the Trump team to the warrant was about 40 ft away. Name any former president, Democrat or otherwise who was convicted of taking documents with them. Hell, the Clinton’s trashed the Whitehouse on their way out and nothing happened to them

  15. The Warrant: Sealed or Unsealed?

    Some claim that the warrant to raid MAL is *not* sealed.

    If that warrant is *not* sealed, then why is Judge Reinhart hearing motions (some 9 of them, including the NYT) to *un*seal the warrant? And why has he ordered DOJ to respond to those motions to *un*seal?

    If you want to be credible, stop with the “narratives,” and get the facts.

      1. “Warrants are normally sealed to **outsiders** . . .”

        Which is of course irrelevant my rebutting those who claim (falsely) that the warrant is *not* sealed.

        But feel free to deflect away.

      2. This fool sends everyone to a multipage document without answering the question. That is how ATS functions. Lies, links, and deflection. He is not credible.

        Where in your link does it cover sealed warrants where the party isn’t even on the site? You lied. You didn’t read that far.

  16. Welcome back President Trump. I can’t wait for his next term. He will have revenge on his mind and the backing of the people. Thank you Dems and thank you FBI.

  17. Just when I thought I would never hear the word, #whistleblower again. Bill and Hill had to return furniture, without a raid. Obama took thousands of documents, evidently none were cocktail napkins, with a note from a foreign leader. dimlibs have no shame. What is obvious is the FBI has run amok. It’s no wonder they wanted security cameras, turned off. TDS must be incurable, or those afflicted, won’t take the jab, to be cured.. Melania’s closet, really? Impeach #garland. Might makes right, is the mark of a dictatorship. They use the word democracy, a lot, they have no clue of the meaning. It’s a REPUBLIC.

    1. It appears that the Federal Judge who issued the warrant is now just like the warrant: in hiding.
      Judge Reinhart’s profile page on the Florida US District Court website reads as follows:

      https://www.flsd.uscourts.gov/content/judge-bruce-e-reinhart

      Access denied

      You are not authorized to access this page.

      They are in damage control. Biden’s handlers protect a partisan Judge with an embarrassing legal history, but they allow abortion cult members menace SCOTUS Justices at their homes, characterize parents of school age children as “terrorists” and enable ANTIFA BLM to terrorize Americans.

      More likely that there are too many chiefs in the Executive Branch due to a compromised US President, and now the damage done is out of their control.

      1. He’s been getting threats. We should all object to people who threaten judges/justices, regardless of their personal politics.

        1. Agreed.

          Adherence to the law is predicated on the law being administered transparently, and equitably.

          Law only functions when the people trust those that administer the law. When the administration of law becomes corrupt, laws are useless.

          1. @iowan2

            This is what i always try to address – please don’t misinterpret this as disdain for our host, as there is none, but: the rule of law we elucidate is not a concern for the people currently pulling the strings. Tout it to the skies, they don’t care. Yes, that has been true in the past, but this is different. We have never seen this in our country. ‘We didn’t know.’, RE the raid, and it was a raid, two or so months before elections is straight up bull****. even if they are just ‘playing’ – it is unforgivable. Our modern Dems, and I honestly don’t know what they are, seem to honestly think we are all just brainwashed by social media and celebrity. As *they* are. If anything requires a new definition in the dictionary, it is, ‘hubris’. Please, let’s prove them wrong. It’s going to take a mighty effort.

        2. They should have protected the Supreme court Judges when THEY were being threatened. They didn’t. So cry me a river.

      2. It is true that SCOTUS Justices were and still threatened as reported in print and on video capture for weeks on end. Still nothing was done to protect them. It is a miracle Kavanaugh was not assassinated. But this besmirched Federal Judge gets special protection because he is on Team Biden as opposed to Team US Constitution

        disgraceful

        1. The U.S. Marshals Service has been providing “around-the-clock security” at the homes of all nine Supreme Court justices, per the DOJ.

          Continue living in your news bubble.

      3. This raid on Mar a Lago and DOJ radio silence is also being used to provoke angry protests by Trump supporters to then target them as domestic terrorists, including angry online comments, then locking them up as they did to all the J6 protestors who are still sitting in jail! Do not take the bait.

        “…any Trump-related protest will play as fomenting violence. And the media cartel will be all too willing to convert conservative rallies into “mostly violent protests” no matter how peaceful they are.”

        1. “FBI Director Denounces Trump Supporters for Using Violent Rhetoric Following Mar-a-Lago Search”

          **notice how the propaganda media took the Biden regime’s directive and are dutifully reporting the “FBI Raid” as a “search”…..this is how the Fake News works.

  18. As more facts come out, not looking good for the FBI/DOJ/Dems,
    Sealed warrant? No inventory? Demanding video turned off? Not allowing lawyers to witness what was transpiring, forcing them out of the house? No transparency?
    Not good optics.

    Just read GOP and Independents are more inclined to vote come midterms (for the GOP). This may have backfired for the Dems.

        1. You are confusing the warrant with the affidavit. The warrant is in Trump’s hands along with the inventory list. The affidavit is sealed for now, one of the possible reasons is an ongoing investigation.

          1. you are not thinking clearly

            Trump nor his attorneys have the warrant. The warrant nor the affidavit have to be shown. They showed Trump’s attorney the warrant from several feet of her presence, after she arrived where they were already ransacking his residence. For this reason Trump’s attorneys are requesting a physical copy of the warrant and the affidavit

            https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2022/08/10/mar-lago-search-warrant-mystery/10289052002/?gnt-cfr=1

            “Matt Dallek, a longtime presidential historian, told USA TODAY, ‘Even if Trump decides to go public with the warrant, he only has a copy of the application for the search warrant. FBI agents never leave the document that spells out the scope and depth of the investigation, which is the affidavit, or statement of facts, filed by one of the investigating agents as part of the application for the search warrant that is presented to a judge, Laufman said.”

            1. Trump has a copy of the warrant.

              “ The former president is free to share a copy of the warrant to clear up confusion about what investigators were looking for, but a source close to the president told NBC News that it’s the DOJ’s responsibility to notify the public, but not Trump’s. “No, we’re not releasing a copy of the warrant,”

              https://www.rawstory.com/mar-a-lago-search-warrant-2657840265/

              They have a copy of the warrant. They can release it anytime they want.

          1. “19 hour(s) ago

            Trump’s legal team seeking court order forcing FBI, DOJ to hand over physical copy of search warrant

            A source tells Fox News that former President Trump and his legal team will likely seek a court order to force the FBI and the Justice Department to turn over a physical copy of the search warrant, the affidavit, and a complete inventory of what was taken in the Mar-a-Lago raid.”

            https://www.foxnews.com/live-news/president-donald-trump-fbi-raid-mar-a-lago-house-news

              1. Trump nor his attorneys have the warrant. The warrant nor the affidavit have to be shown. They showed Trump’s attorney the warrant from several feet of her presence, after she arrived where they were already ransacking his residence. For this reason Trump’s attorneys are requesting a physical copy of the warrant and the affidavit

                https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2022/08/10/mar-lago-search-warrant-mystery/10289052002/?gnt-cfr=1

                “Matt Dallek, a longtime presidential historian, told USA TODAY, ‘Even if Trump decides to go public with the warrant, he only has a copy of the application for the search warrant. FBI agents never leave the document that spells out the scope and depth of the investigation, which is the affidavit, or statement of facts, filed by one of the investigating agents as part of the application for the search warrant that is presented to a judge, Laufman said.”

              2. just because you repeat something does not make it true

                Trump nor his attorneys have the warrant. The warrant nor the affidavit have to be shown. They showed Trump’s attorney the warrant from several feet of her presence, after she arrived where they were already ransacking his residence. For this reason Trump’s attorneys are requesting a physical copy of the warrant and the affidavit

                https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2022/08/10/mar-lago-search-warrant-mystery/10289052002/?gnt-cfr=1

                “Matt Dallek, a longtime presidential historian, told USA TODAY, ‘Even if Trump decides to go public with the warrant, he only has a copy of the application for the search warrant. FBI agents never leave the document that spells out the scope and depth of the investigation, which is the affidavit, or statement of facts, filed by one of the investigating agents as part of the application for the search warrant that is presented to a judge, Laufman said.”

                  1. Trump HAS the warrant, but NOT the affidavit containing the factual allegations that established probable cause. Trump could release both the warrant and the list of materials seized, but he hasn’t. The Judge sealed the Affidavit for valid law-enforcement reasons.

                    1. I know that Trump has the warrant and could release it, and I’ve said so elsewhere in this thread.

                      He also has the manifest and could release it. He does not have the detailed list yet. He will get that after the FBI finishes cataloguing all of the individual documents.

    1. Upstate Farmer, you raise excellent points. Not only was the warrant sealed, IT IS STILL SEALED!!!

      https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/justice/doj-ordered-respond-requests-unseal-fbi-trump-raid-warrant

      The Department of Justice must respond to motions to unseal the warrant behind the FBI raid of former President Donald Trump’s home in Mar-a-Lago, the magistrate judge who approved the unprecedented search ordered Thursday.

      Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart, who is believed to have signed the still-sealed FBI warrant approving the bureau’s Trump raid, said the DOJ must now “file a Response to the Motion to Unseal” following efforts by Albany-based news outlet the Times Union and the conservative advocacy group Judicial Watch requesting the DOJ make the warrant public.

      Reinhart said the DOJ’s response may be filed “ex parte and under seal as necessary to avoid disclosing matters already under seal,” meaning that the full response may be secret but that “the Government shall file a redacted Response in the public record” too.

    2. Non law enforcement are never allowed to be present when items are seized–to prevent them from interfering with the lawful execution of the order. It doesn’t matter who the subject of the search is–only the FBI agents are present.

  19. Only the most rabid of the rabid proglodytes could take warm comfort from such a knuckleheaded play…diseased raw meat for these savages…this is just a giant turnoff to anyone with half a brain…
    The FBI, DOJ and the rest of these leftist hyenas are idiots to show their true colors….

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