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. ‘As you may be able tell by his feeble nature, Garland is merely a puppet. He controls nothing. He is the Rochelle Walensky of the DOJ. He takes orders and says yes.’

    1. It’s amazing to me how Trump disciples fall for the lip biting and fist pumping as proof of strength for someone who’s not even man enough to admit that he lost a free and fair election. Like Biden, Garland is a measured, professional, compassionate person. But Trump fans view a foppish, overweight narcissist wearing a rug and sporting a fake tan, bad comb-over and who constantly lies as some kind of strong leader.

      1. It’s his shaky voice, his energy, his ‘chi’ is weak — he exudes feeble weakness — same with Biden. It was a whole lot of nothing coming from Garland today. He was forced out there sounding defensive and cagey and his statement did nothing but make it worse.

        1. Your comment just shows how addicted to the fantasy world of image-making you Trumpsters are. You conflate Biden’s admitted stuttering problem and Garland’s soft-spoken, professional demeanor with “feeble weakness”, but buy into the fake persona of a fist-pumping, lip biting chronic, habitual liar– a phony reality television personality who has a track records of business failures, failed marriages and thousands of lawsuits for refusing to pay his bills, but who still claims to be fabulously wealthy. This is a person who isn’t even man enough to admit he lost a free and fair election, and who has done the unthinkable: foment a riot to try to prevent his successor from taking office, attacking his own VP by accusing him of failing to “do the right thing”, and didn’t call off rioters for over 3 hours while they hunted down the VP, seeking to lynch him, while they tore apart our Capitol. To people who aren’t under the spell of Trump Delusion, Garland came across as the former federal judge he used to be, measured, professional, and fiercely defensive of the FBI and DOJ people under his command.

          1. “fiercely defensive” is right! But, excuuuuuse me, AG Garland, it is NOT beyond the pale to question the integrity nor criticize the actions of your precious FBI (and DOJ) based on THEIR historical record of abuse — whether we look back 50 years or 5 years or 5 months — they blew it and they will never, ever regain the trust of the American people.

              1. RE:”People like you are not representative of “the American people.” …..So you can speak to what is representative of ‘the American People’. There are 50 states worth of sameness and differences, needs and desires, hopes and dreams, which will speak their minds in November. You, and I, and the rest of the lot, will just have to deal with the outcome going forward. My father-in-law, of blessed memory, could have told you what is was like dealing with the consequences of the actions of a maniac who decreed what was representative of the German people when they invaded Poland in 1939. That maniac saw fit to slaughter 12 million Europeans of all kinds, who he deemed were not. It that’s where you like to go, remember that when they come for you, there’ll be nobody left to protest.

              2. One more thing….What’s most representative of ‘The American People’ are all the diverse opinions and the talent which expresses them, that you find in these conversations every day. Absent that, you are inviting the establishment of every type of totalitarian state and form of government that you knowledge of history can reference up to and including the present day.

  2. I suspect ultimately that the urgencies of this raid is going to be shown to be driven by congressional Democratic leadership demands on the Justice department. Not too long ago a federal court decided that Congress cannot be prevented from having access to presidential records in the National Archive. Thus the demand for compliance to the PRA. Trump probably had some records that he did not want visible to Congress for awhile. A less aggressive subpoena approach would probably have been resolved after the midterm elections – too late for the purposes of this current Congress.

  3. “A former senior FBI lawyer, Kevin Clinesmith, who was found guilty of forgery in the Trump-Russia probe has been restored to “good standing” status by the District of Columbia Bar Association despite not fully completing his probation sentence.”


    Garland today: “I will not stand by silently when their integrity is unfairly attacked. The men and women of the FBI and the Justice Department are dedicated, patriotic public servants.”

    HAHAHAHA Yeah, no one believes your tripe, Garland. Abolish the FBI!

  4. Garland is not on the Supreme Court because of Trump. Yet AG Garland just stood before the nation and said he “personally signed off on” the FBI raid on Trump’s home? Shouldn’t there be loud shouts for Garland to have RECUSED HIMSELF FROM THIS MATTER?

    The Republican silence is deafening.

    1. Garland is not on the Supreme Court because of Mitch McConnell, not because of Trump.

  5. Unprecedented. Outrageous. Utterly disgraceful.

    Akin to handing out a speeding ticket at the Indy 500.

    We are witnessing a DOJ politicized and weaponized beyond belief: consider Mars a Lago raid, targeting of parents as domestic terrorists and, of course, Hunter Biden just for starters.

    Never before has our democracy been under attack like this as Dems seek to remake America into a socialist state.

    Best way to combat all this? Vote while you still have that right

  6. Part 2

    As I am very suspicious of anything I read attributed to anonymous sources, I look for plausibility. It is said [3] that

    1. two senior officials could locate and identify classified documents including that they were contained in a specific safe in a specific room (Why did the feds search from 9 am to 6.30pm, acting with so many people throughout Trump’s office and residence space including Melania’s wardrobe?),
    2. operation was planned weeks ago (Why should a 2nd subpoena not work six weeks later?),
    3. the raid was scheduled with no political motive, the FBI solely intent on recovering highly classified documents that were illegally removed from the White House.(Why took it three days to unseal the warrant and why are other releated documents like the affidativ still sealed?).

    Not everybody links the raid to National Archives [4]:

    “The Justice Department obviously used the potential classified information as a pretext to obtain a warrant so it could search for what it is really looking for: evidence that would tie Trump to a Capitol riot offense – either a violent crime, such as seditious conspiracy to forcibly attack a government installation (which is highly unlikely), or a non-violent crime, such as conspiracy to obstruct the January 6 joint session of Congress to count electoral votes, or conspiracy to defraud the government.”


  7. Part 1

    There might be a reason why only 14% American’s trust the criminal justice system [1]

    After a grand jury subpoena was delivered end 5/22 to former President Donald J. Trump, “federal authorities said they suspected there were more classified materials still left at Mar-a-Lago, and arranged an appointment on 6/3/22.As Trump signaled full cooperation, president’s lawyers complied and allowed the search by the FBI before the entourage left cordially.[2]



    They want to provoke violence. DO NOT TAKE THEIR BAIT

    1. RE:”They want to provoke violence..” Well writ and sage advice. It’s coming from many quarters and worth repeating.

    2. Trump supporters have shown that they’re quite willing to become violent.

          1. No comparison.

            “The summer 2020 riots resulted in some 15 times more injured police officers, 30 times as many arrests, and estimated damages in dollar terms up to 1,300 times more costly than those of the Capitol riot,”

            And then the vast majority of charges were quietly dropped.


            1. None of which changes the fact that some Trump supporters have shown that they’re quite willing to become violent.

              1. “None of which changes the fact that some Trump supporters have shown that they’re quite willing to become violent.”

                Remarkably few, but two protestors were murdered by the Capitol Police and 2 men likely killed because of a percussion grenade launched by the police. At least on person was thrown from a high ledge by police causing serious injury. Many people were beaten with batons even while dying on the ground or being beaten while submissive. Leftists were violent at the Capitol. Almost 500 riots by leftists with ?34 deaths 2Billion in property damage while destroying entire neighborhoods.

                Anonymous the stupid has to learn what he is talking about.

          2. Where the Capitol police were the only murderers??? Two unarmed murdered women. It was Nancy’s goon squad that were the violent ones.

              1. “No one was murdered on 1/6.”

                Ashli Babbitt was murdered. The Capitol Police assisted in the death of Roseanne Boyland who lay on the floor, was beaten, tear gassed, and trampled through the acts of the police. I would say that constituted murder as well.

  9. Anyone that loves their country should invest only 40 minutes, to watch the last part of “Day 8 of the January 6 Hearing”. Especially Matthew Pottinger near the end of the hearing.

    Pottinger was a Marine Corp officer that served 3 tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan and a loyal Trump supporter. Pottinger became one of Trump’s national security advisers.

    The video of this brave Marine Corp officer and Trump loyalist should be viewed in every American high school. Pottinger precisely draws the line between proper American loyalty and betrayal. It’s great Civics lesson for all Americans.

    1. RE:”Garland’s public statement” ..” Suppose HIS watch was in 2016, would He have met Bill Clinton on the tarmac? Would Comey have made that July speech letting HRC off the hook?

      1. You want me to answer stupid questions and make ridiculous guesses?

        Tough luck.

        1. RE:”You want me to answer stupid questions..” Take a sedative and accept it as rhetorical?” That will serve.

        2. Anonymous says: August 11, 2022 at 3:34 PM
          You want me to answer stupid questions and make ridiculous guesses?

          It’s what your handlers pay you to do 24/7.

          1. I don’t have handlers and am not paid.

            Perhaps you have handlers who pay you, and you’re projecting.

  10. I said earlier that the KGB/FBI armed raid on Trump’s home energized Republicans and Independents.

    Now this: “New Polling Shows How the FBI Raid on Mar-a-Lago Has Motivated Voters”

    I saw that Garland is going to hold a presser. He must know he stepped into a stinking, smoking pile of doo doo. Or maybe he dove in head first.

    I won’t watch. I don’t care what that imbecile has to say.

    1. If you don’t care what he says then you don’t care about relevant facts.

      In part, he said that they’ve moved to unseal the warrant, and he confirmed that he had approved the decision to carry out the search prior to it being conducted.

      1. “. . . you don’t care about relevant facts.”

        People have to be incredibly naive (or evasive) to believe that they are going to get “relevant facts” from pathological liars (and power lusters).

        People who believe that the ends justifies the means, feel that their ends justifies lying.

    2. This is what Merrick Garland said today:

      He then addressed “recent unfounded attacks on the professionalism of the FBI and Justice Department agents and prosecutors. I will not stand by silently when their integrity is unfairly attacked.” – Fox News

      Americans recall what he failed to do a few weeks ago regarding the “unfounded attacks on the SCOTUS Justices” when their “integrity was unfairly attacked”.

      In other words, Merrick Garland is now getting a taste of what police officers across the country have endured under the Democrats Brownshirts: ANTIFA BLM.

      1. RE:”This is what Merrick Garland said today:..” It’s all airy persiflage” in the interests of maintaining an image. .For those to whom it matters, the sins of omission can be well documented right back to Hunter Biden’s computer and more.. For others, he’s doing his job, it wasn’t soon enough,they couldn’t be happier and are hoping for more.. All clearly reflected in the opinions being expressed here today.

      1. Young: Hope you made it down far enough to the “Conclusion and Order. (The Order didn’t appear happy with the gov’t setting up a filter team from another USDA office, ha ha!

    1. Magistrate judges are the ones who sign most search warrants, and he’s a federal magistrate judge.

    2. What about that case has any applicability to Trump stealing classified documents? “In re Sealed Search Warrant, CASE NO. 20-MJ-03278-O’SULLIVAN, 3-4 (S.D. Fla. Sep. 23, 2020) (“the parties do not dispute that some of the items seized during the search are at least potentially privileged.”). There’s NO issue of privilege involved in Trump wrongfully possessing classified documents he failed, twice, to return. So, what was your point?

      1. Natacha: The indiscriminate seizure of privileged/confidential/atty-client/non-relevant material, “boxes” of materials. I’m sorry that you did not grasp that from my original 2:14 p.m. comment

        1. Who has ever claimed that the documents Trump took were: 1. privileged; and/or what privilege; 2. subject to the attorney-client privilege; or 3. non-relevant? “Relevant” to what, exactly? White House documents became the property of the National Archives at noon on January 12, 2021 when Donald Trump became a private citizen. He had NO right to possess any classified documents. The case you cited has nothing whatsoever to do with a former government employee absconding with documents belonging to the National Archives. In the O’Sullivan case, the parties agreed that at least some of the disputed documents could have been privileged. No such facts exist here.

          1. If you are a lawyer, which I believe you said you were, you must realize that the cited case has to do with “filter teams” segregating indiscriminately-seized material (privileged, confidential/atty-client/work product/non-relevant, etc.) –along with material covered by a warrant. Why are you so combative? Also, please (you and Svelaz) note that Garland just announced that DOJ just filed a motion to “unseal” the warrant.

            1. Trump already has the warrant and the list of documents retrieved. In fact, there’s reporting that he had the warrant before it was served. There’s no reason he couldn’t release them other than he’s using it for fundraising by stirring up his fans and as a grounds for attacking Biden, the DOJ and FBI. In fact, one of them tried to storm the Cincinnati FBI office this afternoon.. Trump has never claimed, to my knowledge, that anything retrieved was privileged or otherwise didn’t belong to the National Archives. In the cited case, the parties agreed that there could be claims of privilege. That doesn’t apply here. The case you cited discussed disputes regarding the agreed-upon “filter team”. What does that have to do with this scenario?

              1. With all due respect, this is apparently going over your head. My original comment and its follow-up (including the cited case) has NOTHING to do with, –(and I never even mentioned anything about) whether Trump had rec’d or was aware of a warrant. My comment was/is about “filter teams” segregating indiscriminately-seized material (privileged, confidential/atty-client/work product/non-relevant, etc.) –ALONG WITH material covered by a warrant. I am not going to reply to you anymore unless you address that topic and/or your failure to understand my cited case. Your apology not anticipated. Thank you very much Natacha.

                1. Was there a “filter team” in this case like the O’Sullivan case, and if so, did the parties have some dispute about the “filter team”? I’ve seen nothing about any “filter team”, so what the hell does the O’Sullivan case have to do with the search warrant served on Trump? Who ever said that anything confiscated was privileged and/or confidential? Where did you get that idea?

                  1. Natacha: Please reread my 2:14 original comment. You will note that I was “wondering” if the warrant contained a provision for a filter team. Later today, in response to Svelaz, I did a little research and found a FL federal case that dealt with filter teams, -so that readers could see exactly what I was talking about. THAT was the relevance to my original comment.
                    Whether or not there is a provision in Trump’s warrant for seized materials to go through a filter team (I anticipate not), we will eventually learn whether Trump/lawyers filed motions for protection of any materials they believe are not directly related to the scope of the warrant. They can do that directly, or as a result of a filter team’s determination(s).

          2. Natacha: It looks like Turley has egg on his face! The NY Times just reported that Trump WAS served with a subpoena for the missing docs. So it is clear the DOJ tried methods short of the warrant. It is interesting Trump was the one that disclosed the “raid” on Mar-a-Lago–not the FBI or DOJ. Trump kept saying he was trying to “cooperate” while he was really fighting to keep the docs.. Now Trump refuses to disclose the contents of the warrant. The truth eventually comes out despite the attempts by Trump supporters–including Turley–try to obfuscate!

  11. Jonathan: Coincidentally, Trump appeared in NY on Tuesday to give a deposition in AG Letitia James’ civil investigation of Trump’s business practices. Trump took the 5th to all Qs. In an ironic twist Trump has referred to those who take the 5th as “a sign of guilt”. When Hillary Clinton staffers took the 5th during the investigation of the attack on the US Consulate in Libya Trump remarked: “So here are fine people taking the Fifth Amendment. Like you see the mob do, right? You see the mob take the Fifth. If you’re innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment” Exactly, Donald, if you are innocent why did you take the 5th in response to every Q you were asked on Tuesday? Trump was not the only one to take the 5th in this case. Eric Trump invoked the 5th over 500 times when he was deposed.

    Now the interesting thing about the NY investigation is that it is a civil proceeding. In a criminal case the Trumps could invoke the 5th and this could not be introduced at trial. In a civil case the fact that you invoked the 5th can be introduced at trial so the jury can draw any “negative inferences” from that invocation. If AG James decides to prosecute the Trump family it will be interesting to see how the Trumps try to persuade a jury the whole case is a “witch hunt” to try to “destroy a very successful business”. Invoking the 5th so many times in the depositions will weigh heavily on the jury’s deliberations. I mean, if you are “innocent” why plead the 5th? The chickens are truly coming home to roost!

    1. Dennis: Thank you. Michael Cohen testified some time ago that Trump kept 2 sets of books: one that devalued his assets for tax purposes and another that was over-valued to juice up his Forbes rating and also, apparently, to qualify for loans and/or for loans against the equity in his properties on more-favorable terms by inflating their value. I’ve seen reporting in which there are wild discrepancies in things as simple as the square footage of his apartment at Trump Tower. Tax returns and financing statements are signed under oath, subject to the penalties for perjury. So if, during the same time period, there are massive discrepancies in documents sworn to by Trump regarding the valuation of his assets, this would constitute fraud.

      1. Natacha: Yep. Now we know why Trump took the 5th to every Q during his deposition!

      2. financing statements are signed under oath,

        Trump Inc is privately held. No signatures required. Tax documents are signed by lawyers and CPA’s an ford the tax payer. Lawyers and CPA’s do not risk their license for avoiding taxes.

        As far as valuation of property, that’s is a business deal between the loaner and borrower. Collateral for loans get examined by the loan officer. A piece of property can be looked up instantly. Once the loan officer signs off, those valuations get checked by bank regulators.
        What you read is just wrong. Anyone that has mortgage should understand the basics.

        1. When you go to an FDIC-insured bank or lending institution and apply for a loan secured by collateral, you have to sign a statement verifying the value of your assets under oath. Tax rmust be signed by the taxpayer. If a lawyer or CPA helped prepare the return, there is a space for his or her name on the return. I know a lawyer who got in big trouble for messing up peoples’ tax returns. He was in way over his head. The IRS found a pattern of similar mistakes, which they were able to track because the lawyer signed off on the returns, but the taxpayer is the one who must sign the return, under oath. What you don’t seem to understand about banks and lending institutions is that the money they have available to loan is belongs to depositers. It’s not money beloning to the institution, and it’s not some private “business deal” between a borrowr and the institution. The FDIC protects depositers’ money if there are losses, which is why banks are regulated, and one way to protect against losses is to require financing statements to be signed under oath, subject to the penalties for perjury. I am involved in a case right now where someone tried to take out a mortgage on property he didn’t own, but claimed that he did. This property has belonged to my client’s family since 1958. The lender mistakenly sent the completed loan application form to the property, which is how my client found out about the attempted fraud. The form was required to be signed under oath. This attempted fraud was reported to law enforcement. If there’s no bank or lending institution involved, then it is a private transaction, but in Trump’s case, in past loan transactions, there is reporting that he overvalued his assets to banks or other lending institutions in financing statements while simultaneously undervaluing them for tax purposes. The latest round of bailouts he received was a private transaction by someone who has an ownership in some internet bank, and it was the person’s own funds.

          1. You made my point. Collateral is evaluted by institutions loan officer. The loan officer knows all collateral will be audited by govt regulators. A borrower understands this. After all of that, the lender will only accept a percentage of book value. State AG’s have no jurisdiction to muck about in FDIC business. Thats why it is amusing to watch leftist get all itchy thinking Trump is in any jeopardy

            1. Who do you think enforces the “under penalties of perjury” if someone lies on a loan application? It’s NOT the FDIC.

    2. I mean, if you are “innocent” why plead the 5th? The chickens are truly coming home to roost!

      Is this the crime of valuing your assets as collateral?

      1. It was a deposition in a civil case, so the answer to your question is “no.”

  12. Rightwing Media Spreads False Story About Obama’s ’30 Million Documents’

    Over the past 24 hours, conservative media has debuted a new whataboutism defense: What about Obama? Several Fox News shows on Wednesday picked up on a New York Post column that noted Barack Obama at the end of his presidency had 30 million records shipped to Chicago for his presidential library.

    “They shipped 30 million pages of sensitive and possibly classified materials to Chicago, and, by the way, he has yet to return any of it to the National Archives. Not one page,” Fox host Sean Hannity intoned. “So is his house about to get raided?”

    Former federal prosecutor Francey Hakes added on another Fox show: “President Obama refused to turn over presidential records; nobody raided his house.”

    Former Trump campaign legal adviser Harmeet Dhillon added on Jesse Watters’s show: “Are there SWAT teams descending on Chicago to get those documents? No. And so the double standard and triple standard here is very apparent.”

    It’s the kind of thing that sounds superficially similar to someone with no base-level knowledge of how these processes work. But it’s a ridiculous comparison wielded by people who in many cases probably know better. And you can tell that if you look closely at how it’s being portrayed.

    As was reported back in late 2016, the Obama team was transferring the records to Chicago through the National Archives, which legally owns the documents when a president leaves office. Once the documents ultimately reached a warehouse in Chicago, the Obama Foundation was then due to pay the National Archives and Record Administration to digitize the documents. The lengthiness of that process aside, there isn’t the faintest hint of legal violations — nor does the Post’s story suggest as much.

    Edited From:

    1. Did you say Obama?

      Barack Obama will NEVER be eligible to be U.S. president.

      Barack Obama’s father was a foreign citizen at the time of the candidate’s birth.

      – A mere “citizen” could only have been President at the time of the adoption of the Constitution and not after.

      – The U.S. Constitution, Article 2, Section 1, Clause 5, requires the President to be a “natural born citizen,” which, by definition in the Law of Nations, requires “parents who are citizens” at the time of birth of the candidate and that he be “…born of a father who is a citizen;…”

      – Ben Franklin thanked Charles Dumas for copies of the Law of Nations which “…has been continually in the hands of the members of our Congress, now sitting,…”

      – “The importance of The Law of Nations, therefore, resides both in its systematic derivation of international law from natural law and in its compelling synthesis of the modern discourse of natural jurisprudence with the even newer language of political economy. The features help to explain the continuing appeal of this text well into the nineteenth century among politicians, international lawyers and political theorists of every complexion.”

      – Law of Nations Editors Bela Kapossy and Richard Whatmore.

      – The Jay/Washington letter of July, 1787, raised the presidential requirement from citizen to “natural born citizen” to place a “strong check” against foreign allegiances by the commander-in-chief.

      – Every American President before Obama had two parents who were American citizens.

      – The Constitution is not a dictionary and does not define esoteric words or phrases, while the Law of Nations, 1758, does.

      – The Law of Nations is referenced in Article 1, Section 8, Clause 10, of the U.S. Constitution: “To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations;…”


      Law of Nations, Vattel, 1758

      Book 1, Ch. 19

      § 212. Citizens and natives.

      “The citizens are the members of the civil society; bound to this society by certain duties, and subject to its authority, they equally participate in its advantages. The natives, or natural-born citizens, are those born in the country, of parents who are citizens. As the society cannot exist and perpetuate itself otherwise than by the children of the citizens, those children naturally follow the condition of their fathers, and succeed to all their rights. The society is supposed to desire this, in consequence of what it owes to its own preservation; and it is presumed, as matter of course, that each citizen, on entering into society, reserves to his children the right of becoming members of it. The country of the fathers is therefore that of the children; and these become true citizens merely by their tacit consent. We shall soon see whether, on their coming to the years of discretion, they may renounce their right, and what they owe to the society in which they were born. I say, that, in order to be of the country, it is necessary that a person be born of a father who is a citizen; for, if he is born there of a foreigner, it will be only the place of his birth, and not his country.”


      Ben Franklin letter December 9, 1775, thanking Charles Dumas for 3 copies of the Law of Nations:

      “…I am much obliged by the kind present you have made us of your edition of Vattel. It came to us in good season, when the circumstances of a rising state make it necessary frequently to consult the law of nations. Accordingly that copy, which I kept, (after depositing one in our own public library here, and sending the other to the College of Massachusetts Bay, as you directed,) has been continually in the hands of the members of our Congress, now sitting, who are much pleased with your notes and preface, and have entertained a high and just esteem for their author…”


      To George Washington from John Jay, 25 July 1787

      From John Jay

      New York 25 July 1787

      Dear Sir

      I was this morning honored with your Excellency’s Favor of the 22d

      Inst: & immediately delivered the Letter it enclosed to Commodore

      Jones, who being detained by Business, did not go in the french Packet,

      which sailed Yesterday.

      Permit me to hint, whether it would not be wise & seasonable to

      provide a strong check to the admission of Foreigners into the

      administration of our national Government, and to declare expressly that the Command in chief

      of the american army shall not be given to, nor devolved on, any but a natural born Citizen.

      Mrs Jay is obliged by your attention, and assures You of her perfect

      Esteem & Regard—with similar Sentiments the most cordial and sincere

      I remain Dear Sir Your faithful Friend & Servt

      John Jay

        1. RE:”in response to George” You would have better referenced what criteria confer citizenship. Curious that George would not have know those.

          1. I’ve done that previously. I’m not going to play the game where George the Bigot spews his daily bigotry and I respond as if he’s not a bigot.

        2. Yep. Making a legal argument that one does not like is “bigotry”. Yep.

          1. It isn’t a legal argument.

            Obama is a natural born citizen: born in HI.

            It’s George’s bigotry masquerading as a legal argument. He lies by claiming that Obama wasn’t a natural born citizen, resorting to the Law of Nations, which is totally irrelevant to US law. Federal law defines “‘natural born citizen,’ to establish eligibility for the Office of President, as: (1) any person born in, and subject to the jurisdiction of, the United States; and (2) any person born outside the United States who derives citizenship at birth from U.S. citizen parents, or who is adopted by the age of 18 by U.S. citizen parents who are otherwise eligible to transmit citizenship.” Obama was born in the US and was subject to its jurisdiction; ergo, he is a natural born citizen. But George the Bigot believes that all Black Americans should have been ejected from the US after the Civil War. He objects to Obama because he is Black. If you don’t know these things, perhaps you haven’t read enough of George the Bigot’s comments.

    2. Democrats are allowed the use of cut outs.
      suspected of conspiring with foriegn nations, but with no evidence, that will get you a counter intell investigation launched against you. BUT talk to your atty, that hires an opo research firm that hires a foreign spy, that has Russia connections. Then hide all the money laundering through your campaign as legal fees. All is good.

      So it is clear Trump has done nothing wrong, he is just digitize the documents, when he gets the time.

    1. You mean like Comey did? It would be nice if you people would THINK before writing things that a third grader would be embarrassed by.

      1. Oh, my! That must be embarrassing, and well may be the reason for his/her/its persisting incognito.

    2. The article you link to specifies that Trump asked the National Archives to grant access to non-public but declassifed documents to Patel and Solomon. Nothing illegal in this.

      What is it that you think ? That the once Solomon and PAtel are in the front door at the National Archives – they will be able to sneak arround and get the nuclear bomb codes ?

      While president Trump can give anyone unrestricted access to anything. As an Ex-President – all that Trump can do is ASK that they be given access to unclassified documents – unless they already have a security clearance.

      yYou dimwit lefties have no idea how Classified document access works.

      What do you think there are racks and racks of mixed classified and unclassified documents and people can sneak access to bomb codes while no one is looking ?

      Today it is near certain that almost all classified documents are on computers – very very very few are avilable on paper.
      Patel and Solomon wiill be given accounts on the NA computer system. To access anything classified, they must obtain access to a classified terminal – one that has no USB ports, and no external drives and no bluetooth and no wifi. They will have to log in and they will only be able to access what they have permission to. They can not print and they will not be allowed to take cameras or phones with them.

      On separate computer systems they will have access to the unclassified documents that they have permission for – not every unclassified government document there is. These they will likely be able to print and take copies with them.

      1. You seem unable to pay attention to details John. Wheeler wasn’t talking about docs viewed after going “in the front door at the National Archives,” but about docs that should have been turned over to NARA but were still at Mar-a-Lago. And she was very clearly talking about “TS/SCI documents,” not about declassified docs.

        1. I have no idea what you are talking about – as you are contradicting your own argument.

          Trump asked the NARA to give Solomon and PAtel access to Documents that he declassified as president related to the Collusion delusion.

          The only way any of these would be classified would be if Biden RECLASSIFIED them.

          And that would make this all the worse – that would be the Biden admin trying to coverup government malfeasance in the collusion delusion.
          And then using the power of DOJ to weaponize that coverup against Trump.

          The more than comes out – the worse this looks.

          IF this hinges on Patel and Solomon and the Collusion Delusion documents – Garland is F’d. As is Biden,

          This also apparently ties into the Grand Jury that is supposedly investigating Trump.

          And this is exposing that as a meaningless partisan nonstarter.

  13. ” 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.”…I do believe that FancyPants Nancy Pelosi should be arrested and charged then, She, On National Television, destroyed a document protected under section 2071 when she tore up the transcript of the Presidents speech. There were no FBI raids, No arrests…No charges….just an ass kissing of Pelosi’s diapered ass.

    1. JT indicated that Pelosi did not violate the law — see Feb 6, 2020 blog post.

  14. Turley: you need to stop your irresponsible and inaccurate characterization of the execution of this search warrant as a “raid”. It wasn’t, and you know better. Calling the valid execution of a search warrant a “raid” is a Trump, Fox and alt-right media inflammatory word, calculated to induce anger, and it is beneath you as a faculty member of an accredited law school to mischaracterize this as a “raid”. You know: 1. the search warrant was lawfully obtained from a federal judge in Florida, issued only after he or she found probable cause to issue the warrant; 2. the warrant was obtained only after informal efforts to claw back documents Trump stole from the White House failed; in fact, the national security people DID attempt to get the documents via subpoena, but Trump didn’t turn them all over; in fact, there’s reporting that even more of them may be hidden elsewhere on the compound; 3. no doors were broken down, no one was rousted from his or her bed and the Secret Service and Trump’s lawyers were notified before the FBI entered and Trump wasn’t even there.3. Trump has a copy of the manifest (list) of things that were removed. If the list did not show that he had stolen classified or top secret items, he’d be plastering the document all over alt-right media, but instead, he’s using this incident to fund-raise and stir up his fans with anger-inducing rhetoric. We know that there’s classified materials because Trump and his media enablers are already claiming that the FBI have “planted” documents. Of course, just as with the Big Lie, there’s no proof. And, of course, with the Trump disciples, no proof is necessary. As a result, members of the FBI have received death threats. YOU, Turley, are part of the cause, and what you are doing is irresponsible not just because you know what the Trump mob is capable of but because you teach law and understand that a federal judge would not issue such a search warrant against a high-profile person without there being strong evidence to support probable cause. Trump brought this all on himself. There were multiple means by which this could have been avoided if Trump were acting in good faith. He could have just said “go through everything I took and retrieve things that should be returned”, but he didn’t do this. You also argue that the “raid” was “sensational”. The FBI did NOT notify news media in advance. They were intentionally low-key, not even wearing FBI-logo windbreakers, but were dressed in civilian clothes–jeans and khakis.

    Of course, you are impelled to push the ubiquitous “whataboutism” whenever Trump is caught doing something wrong, throwing barbs at Democrats, all to paint Trumpy Bear as some kind of victim of the “Deep State”. You falsely claim: “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. ” Why are you re-litigating these grievances here other than to keep feeding the Trump victimhood narrative, which helps him raise funds? Biden found out about the search warrant just like the rest of us–on the news. Unlike Trump, who never understood that the DOJ was NOT his private law firm to protect him while he did as he pleased, Biden has a hands-off policy with the DOJ. Merrick Garland has maintained the temperament of the federal judge he used to be–measured and thoughful. He is NO politician, so for you to use your credentials to claim that Biden and/or Garland sought the warrant for political reasons is baseless and irresponsible. There is reporting that a Trump insider tipped the FBI about the documents and that Trump knows that he shouldn’t have them. Time will tell, but for you, Turley, to use your platform to feed into the Trump mob fury with absolutely no basis is immoral.

    1. At natacha, +1000

      You got it right. Especially the criticism towards Turley. Turley is clearly feeding the rage and he’s being especially disingenuous with the narrative. Turley is a lawyer and he should know better than jump onto insinuations that are sure to enrage the Trump maga crowd and his gullible readers here.

    2. Hey mealworm brain, If you had any inkling of the legal requirements that need to be adhered to in the authorization of a warrant, then maybe you would not be here talking out of your biased liberal arse. A “warrant” is required to be authorized by a judicial officer or magistrate who is “neutral”— This magistrate was provably not neutral. The “Trump Mob Fury” is completely vindicated…and even an oatmeal minded idiot like you cannot HONESTLY deny that. You leftist FILTH have been bending, twisting and completely IGNORING the law since a year before President Trump ran for office. Your day will come, and you will be pissing your pants.

      1. Nothing prevents Trump from contesting in court whether the warrant is valid, but your say-so about it is legally meaningless.

    3. Natacha: Excellent comment! Did you see Turley on Fox News on Tuesday?–trying to feebly try to make the case that Trump would have “voluntarily” turned over the docs or that a subpoena would have sufficed. When did Trump ever voluntarily comply to any request for documents? In the Letitia James investigation Trump was held in contempt for refusing to comply with subpoenas. Turley’s role is to inflame the mob against the FBI and the DOJ! Turley did the same thing when criticizing the J.6 hearings–the part when Cassidy Hutchinson testified about the incident inside the security car when Trump demanded to be taken to the Capitol. Turley had to do back flips–trying to argue Trump had a perfect right to be taken to the Capitol. The whole purpose was to further enrage Trump supporters and their fury. Turley often complains about the “age of rage” but he is the greatest practitioner!

      1. Thanks, Dennis. I try to watch Fox as little as possible because it gives me dyspepsia. You are correct, though. Trump wouldn’t have voluntarily done anything because, among other reasons, his ego: no one tells him what to do. There’s an even more worrisome reason, though: he likes to show off. I absolutely couldn’t put it past him to show documents to people he’s trying to impress: “see here–I’ve got this document that says “Top Secret” “. I couldn’t put it past him to disclose documents to Putin, Xi, Kim Jong Un, the Saudis or anyone else. His ego requires him to show what a big shot he is, and that’s what makes him dangerous. I’ve never seen alt-right media try to defend him for having classified documents he shouldn’t have taken in the first place. What possible good-faith reason could there be for taking these things? He’s a private citizen with no greater right to possess such materials as the next person.

        As to Turley: it’s one thing for Hannity, Tucker, Watters, Graham and Levin to stir up the Trump mob with their overheated rhetoric, but for Turley to abet this effort is kind of stunning. He admits throughout his piece that he really doesn’t know what the Affidavit for the warrant says, but that doesn’t stop him from calling it a “raid” 16 times. Nor does it stop him from engaging in the usual “whataboutism”. The FBI went out of their way to mitigate any prejudice: they tried to work it out back in June, they waited for Trump to be out of town, they notified the Secret Service and his attorney, they dressed in civilian clothes, they didn’t bully or abuse anyone. No one was beating on the front door with a battering ram and guns drawn. It wasn’t a “raid”. You are correct; Turley is a hypocrite by complaining about the “age of rage” when he feeds into this himself.

  15. AG Garland will be making a statement this afternoon. Oh goody. Let’s hear him spin how Records Act noncompliance justified a SWAT team raid.

    1. First you gripe because the FBI and or DOJ didn’t issue a statement explaining the grounds for the search warrant, and now that Garland is going to speak, you’ve already decided that he’s lying before he even opens his mouth. That’s what Trump and his media enablers have done to this country, and it’s dangerous–just as dangerous as Trump having access to classified documents in an unsecure basement. I’m beginning to believe there’s truly no help for Trump disciples.

      1. Correct. It is dangerous what Trump has done FOR this country. When the most investigated head of state in our nation’s history exposes corruption in our nation’s capital at a level most had never previously been aware of — including the deep state, the fake news, and that historically lawless agency called the FBI, etc — indeed, this is very dangerous time for the country.

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