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. Saw AG Garland on TV chastising Americans for noticing that the FBI is chock full of liars to judges, elitists and politicians. What a pathetic little weasel.

    1. “We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.”

      – Barack Obama

      “We will stop him.”

      – Peter Strzok to FBI paramour Lisa Page

      “[Obama] wants to know everything we’re doing.”

      – Lisa Page to FBI paramour Peter Strzok

      “I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office — that there’s no way he gets elected — but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before 40.”

      – Peter Strzok to FBI parmour Lisa Page

      “People on the 7th floor to include Director are fired up about this [Trump] server.”

      – Bill Priestap

      1. RE:”Saw AG Garland on TV chastising Americans..” Ditto to your out-takes and so many more. The failure to enforce promulgated Federal law regarding immigration and the recent issues surrounding demonstrations in front of SCOTUS Justices homes as example. The unenlightened braindead my wife played canasta with this week are flagrant parts of the problem. and hardly part of the solution. I told her to look to them to become collaborators to save their asses if and when.

      2. There are so many, but you plucked some good ones. There is no doubt in my mind that the people on the 7th floor were fired up because President Voldemort fired them up. President Voldemort.

  2. “FBI agents searching Trump’s Mar-a-Lago sought classified documents relating to nuclear weapons, sources told the Washington Post”

    Hey everybody, It’s because Nukes! HAHAHAHA

      1. Yes Garland comes out an hour late to give a ridiculous statement and then turns around and leaks “It’s about the Nukes!” to Wash Po. What a disaster they are.

  3. **** Trump, Garland and the FBI
    The attorney general holds a brief press conference to laud himself and his colleagues.*****

    “On Thursday at the Justice Department Attorney General Merrick Garland made a brief self-congratulatory statement on the work performed by him and his colleagues. He took no questions from the assembled media and provided no explanation for the Monday search of former President Donald Trump’s home.”

    disgusting, self-congratulatory, arrogant, detached from reality, took no questions from the handpicked media…. this presidency is a disgrace. They should all be impeached, removed by the next Congress and charged with insurrection? They should start with Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Joe Biden, James Comey and all who orchestrated a coup against the winner of the 2016 presidential election.

    Our Federal government is the Nazi Gestapo

      1. Anomaly,

        “You obviously didn’t lose any family in the Holocaust.”

        Says the guy who has spent five years calling Republicans Nazis…

          1. Testifying Falsely in court is NOT a process crime.

            Clinton lied about something that was not a crime. But lying under oath is NOT a process crime.

            Further other charges included obstruction and witness tampering – also not process crimes.

            1. A crime created out a perfectly legal underpinning is a process crime. When a crime is manufactured by getting someone to lie about something perfectly legal, you are manipulating the criminal justice system to play gottcha. You are not in pursuit of justice or criminals in any real sense of the term. It is known as a type of perjury trap. Such prosecutors, wherever they exist, have no place in a system of justice. That goes for the trick prosecutors tried to play on General Flynn as well.

              1. “In United States criminal procedure terminology, a process crime is an offense against the judicial process.[1] These crimes include failure to appear, false statements, obstruction of justice, contempt of court and perjury.”

                You appear to be correct. Perjury and obstruction of justice are process crimes.

                But no one “made” Clinton lie. He could easily have told the truth. The consequences would have been bad – but not nearly as bad as having lied about it.

                Nor did anyone make him try to coerce Lewinsky into lying, or AK State Troopers into Lying.

                There was no “trick” played on Flynn. DOJ dropped the case because the investigation had obviously lost its predicate before Flynn was interviewed. But there is no evidence that Flynn actually lied to the FBI. Flynn plead guilty to lying to the FBI – because they threatened to go after his family and because he was bankrupted by the costs of defense.

                This BTW is not at all uncommon – pleading to crimes that you did not commit.
                What is uncommon is being actually innocent of anything.
                The Flynn prosecution was a massive abuse of power.
                Flynn was not tricked into lying.
                He was coerced into pleading guilty to lying.

                That is radically different.

                That is also what all the other Mueller guilty pleas were.

                1. A perjury trap of any type is an abusive legal tactic — period. It is possible Flynn did lie to FBI investigators. That is what he was charged with. But the people at the FBI knew that the phone call he made, and was questioned about, was perfectly legal. Why are they asking him any questions about it at all?

                  An honorable agent of justice does not troll a citizen about lawful conduct, and try to manufacture something out of it from there.

                  1. Absolutely,
                    But every time you testify in court is NOT a perjury trap.

                    Your argument inevitably leads to no one ever testifying under oath.

                    “It is possible Flynn did lie to FBI investigators. ”
                    It is possible – though there is no mention of any lie until August of 2017 – more than 6 months after
                    The contemporaneous FBI 302’s say Flynn was credible.
                    I would note the Flynn interview WAS a trap.
                    The FBI did not need to interview Flynn about his conversation with Kislyak – they had the transcript.
                    Further Strzok and others discussed before hand setting Flynn up.
                    And last – the investigation was over before the interview.

                    There is no such crime as lying to the FBI.
                    The crime is lying to a federal agent engaged in an investigation. Flynn as the NSA looking into corrupt practices during the Obama administration would be someone you can not lie to.

                    “That is what he was charged with.”
                    No it is what he plead to – after the bankrupted him and threatened his family.
                    “But the people at the FBI knew that the phone call he made, and was questioned about, was perfectly legal. Why are they asking him any questions about it at all?”
                    Because THAT was a perjury trap.

                    “An honorable agent of justice does not troll a citizen about lawful conduct, and try to manufacture something out of it from there.”

  4. I’m keeping a log of conspiracy theories to explain all this. Like Sydney Watson, “I need new conspiracy theories because my old ones became fact.” Here’s my list so far:
    1) Fishing expedition for Jan 6. That’s probably #1 to most people.
    2) Garland needs to pick on Trump to get political cover before naming a Special Counsel for Hunter. A plausible longshot. Clay or Buck floated this one.
    3) The Deep State wants the records because they contain dirt Trump can use against his enemies. Attribution to Robert Barnes. I especially like this one because even if it isn’t true, it will drive the commies insane.
    4) Trump and the “informant” are trolling the DOJ. Trump gets to play the martyr, and the DOJ gets to look tough on Trump to their fanboys at MSNBC. The only loser is Desantis, who gets overshadowed. I can see the DNC and FBI knowing all this and going along anyway. This theory is mine, but I’m not sure if even I believe it.
    5) Yes, the FBI’s leadership is really that stupid. A fan-favorite ever since the Russian-collusion hoax. This is a great theory because you can mix and match it with the others. It has the added advantage of being true in any event.

    1. Diogenes: When I got to #3, I smiled. When I got to #4, you made me laugh out loud (no meme attached), and #5 convinced me that I needed to acknowledge your humor. Thanks for the succinct fun.

      1. Thank you, Lin. Most commenters consider me a total crackpot. It’s nice to have a friend and ally 🙂

    2. Truth can be stranger than fiction!

      6) The DOJ picked the worst possible Magistrate to approve the warrant as they want to look tough but lose the case.

            1. RE:”Like Banquo’s ghost, Epstein sits at the table of every Democrat fundraiser..” Marvelous!! Need more well-read creativity like this around here!!

  5. “We can fool some of the people some of the time. We can fool all of the people some of the time. But we can’t fool all of the people all of the time. However, two out of three ain’t bad.”–Merwreck Garland

    1. Flashback to Feb. 2019: “Whistleblowers Raise Grave Concerns with Trump Administration’s Efforts to Transfer Sensitive Nuclear Technology to Saudi Arabia”

      1. If True – that is still a problem for GSA and NARA – not Trump.

        If Trump personally took classified Documents to Mar-A-Lago – they are declassified.

        If the GSA transfered them to Mar-A-Lago as part of the transition – that is their problem.

        It was NARA’s job to find them and recover them.
        Given that there have been atleast 50 Boxes of documents taken by NARA/FBI since Trump left office – there are probably far more than that at Mar-A-Lago,

        Are you claiming that Trump was obligated to go through every box one at a time searching for inadvertently transfered classified documents ?

        Given that he knew the Biden admin was targeting him – it is likely he has not touched any of these boxes.

        Frankly he has been busy since leaving the WH – it is unlikely he has had time to go through any of this.

        No one doubts you could get a DC jury to convict – just by telling them the defendant was DJT,
        But getting a real conviction by a real jury that would hold up on appeal with what facts we currently know is not happening.

        It is Biden in Trouble – not Trump.

        Garland has committed to unsealing the warrant.
        He is trying to minimize personal backlash – and the amount of time he spends at the house testifying in 2023.

        1. They’re trying to play any card they can think of to get themselves out of their own self-inflicted mess. I’m running out of ideas as to what they will try next. I saw the whole nuclear bit coming a mile away.

  6. Turley: Clearly ‘Not Clear’ What Happened

    But Folks Are Really Mad!!!

    In the above column, Professor Turly is responsible enough to clearly state that the reasons for Monday’s raid are ‘not yet clear’.

    Here are three passages where the professor conveys his unclearness.


    “It is not clear why a second subpoena would not have sufficed if there were other covered material under the Presidential Records Act”.

    “Whether such evidence exists here is not clear”.

    “It remains unclear whether some of these raids even uncovered criminal evidence or will result in criminal charges”.


    While Turley is clearly unclear about the raid, he nevertheless makes extensive notes about how outraged Trump supporters are.


    “But the raid has galvanized Trump’s supporters”.

    “The unprecedented raid on former President Trump’s home in Florida has set off firestorms”.

    “For his supporters, it confirms long-standing suspicions–

    “For many Republicans, it will reinforce belief in a “deep-state” conspiracy against him.”

    “The targeting of Trump on a PRA case would raise questions about the necessity for such a raid”.

    “Heavy-handed FBI raids without any clear necessity–

    This column is pretty typical of Johnathan Turley’s Culture War-effort. On the surface he presumes to be a mild-mannered law professor; emphasizing the unclearness of it all.

    Yet at the same time Turley stokes the anger of Trump’s base with such phrases as:

    “unprecedented raid”

    “set off a firestorm”

    “deep state conspiracy”

    “questions about the necessity”

    “Heavy-handed FBI raids without any clear necessity–


    These phrases clearly imply that something is really peculiar here. But nowhere does Turley imply that Donald Trump could be even remotely responsible for this big misunderstanding.

    1. The resolution to a Big Misunderstanding is not a Sealed Warrant and an FBI Raid.

      What occured reflects more than a misunderstanding.

      It reflects using DOJ/FBI/NARA as a political weapon, as well as the arrogance that even the perception of not kowtowing to DOJ/FBI/NARA is criminal.

      Search Warrants are CRIMINAL, the are not “big misunderstandings”.

      If you are going to escalate to criminal – you had damn well better be absolutely right.
      And not alittle right – but MASSIVELY right.

      Trump was impeached over conduct that was not even a fraction as consequential as this.

    2. This act by the doj and fbi made ur least favorite person President and all the bs u just rattled off is just that

  7. ‘The reason Garland looked the other way on threats and violence against pro-lifers, including Supreme Court justices, is because he supports the violence.

    The VERY FIRST act of the new Congress in 2023 needs to be the immediate impeachment and removal of Garland and Wray.’ @seanmdav

    100% and if Republicans do NOT do this, they are finished.

  8. As a student of history, the Trumps are being treated like Romanovs in Russia. Certainly looks rigged.

    1. Anonymous, were the Romanovs a sympathetic dynasty? Did Czar Nicholas II handle WW I like a master tactician? Were the Russian people happy??

  9. It’s depressing to realize the whole lot of Republican Senate are for Trump being neutered and/or indicted. They want him taken out and will do nothing to hold anyone accountable nor to ‘change the status quo.’ Nothing. The election rigging/steal is in motion now. The fix is in. Trump will be taken down. Your vote will not count. America has fallen.

  10. Well overdue. Donald’s cavalier handling of classified information was / is a threat to our servicemen and national security. If I did what he did, I’d be in prison.

    1. You’ll be among the first to lose your rights. In fact, you’re an easy sell for them. How did you feel about 33,000 e-mail acid washed lass docs with a real subpoena given the finger?

    2. And you know this because ?

      ANY president is free to be as cavalier with classified information as they please.
      They can declassify anything by executive order.
      Or they can declassify it by just making it public, or giving it to someone who is not cleared for it.

      There is very little evidence – and lots of rumours that Trump did that as president.
      The rumours – like all the other rumours and gossip about Trump are unlikely to be true
      because almost nothing in the press about Trump ever proves true.

      1. Trump is no longer President, and in the June 3 meeting his lawyers referred to these as still-classified material. That ship has sailed.

        1. What ship is it you think has sailed ?

          There are only two ways “classified” material gets to Mar-A-Lago.

          Via GSA – which is the Governments problem.

          Or Via Trump while still president – in which case it is declassified. EOS.

          Regardless, Trump remains cleared an Mar-A-Lago has a SCIF.
          No one is claiming Trump may not have classified information.

          Even the FBI after their search directed Trump to put a better lock on the classified storage.

          If Trump was not permitted to have it – they were obligated to remove it.
          If it was not classified – why was FBI asking for a better lock ?
          Why were hey asking for surveilance video ?

          Even if you somehow made the case that Trump was not allowed to posess this material – you now have entrapment.

          No matter what direction you go on this you have problems.

          We do not know what is at issue yet,

          But it is starting to look like this is the material Trump declassified by Executive order as president related to the Collusion Delusion.

          If that is the case – you now have the Biden admin engaged in a coverup of Collusion delusion material.

          As I said – whatever way you go – this stinks.

          This is also exposing and deflating the Trump Grand Jury.

          1. There is a process for declassifying documents. Unless Trump declassified them, then they remain classified, even if he took them to MaL.

            Trump stinks.

            1. There is a process for everyone EXCEPT the president to declassify documents.
              The president can do so completely on his own authority, and he can do so defacto.

              As an Example When Trump purportedly gave Classified intelligence on terrorists to the Russians in order to secure their cooperation in Syria.

              We only have an anonymous news source for that – but it is likely true. And it is perfectly legal.
              The president can on the spur of the moment make any classified material public.
              And though I can not recall the specific – Reagan did so on atleast one occasion.

              If Trump deliberately took classified material to Mar-A-Lago – it is declassified.

              If the GSA unwittingly transfered classified material to Mar-A-Lago it is not. But then there is no crime.

              For Trump to have committed a crime he has to have personally (or directed othersto ) taken Classified material AFTER Biden was sworn in.

            2. Your entitled to whatever views you wish of Trump.

              But warrants must allege crimes, and it is going to be incredibly hard to reach a crime here.

              And even trying is incredibly dangerous to Biden.

  11. Apparently some lunatic tried to attack feeb offices somewhere (Cincinnati?) and I realized that once I would have been upset by an attack on a premier law enforcement agency.

    But now I don’t really care. It’s like reading that two mob families had a shootout. Yawn. Don’t care.

    They’re all bad guys.

  12. Amusingly, Democrats seem to be both 1) inherently slated towards a heavy-handed approach to Trump whenever they can do anything, and 2) prone to have it blow up in their collective faces. This is yet another example of the law of “unintended consequences.” Yet another law the Democrats continue to ignore.

  13. Unless the affidavit in support of the warrant is released along with any other documents justifying the search we will remain in the dark. In particular, what is needed is an explanation of why Garland concluded that it was no longer possible to obtain the documents at issue through less intrusive means, such as a court order compelling delivery under an outstanding subpoena or a new subpoena, and why he concluded the matter had suddenly become time sensitive. The impossibility of less intrusive means is the excuse he gave today for signing off on the warrant application.

    Without a persuasive explanation, the history of abuse of process against Trump by the FBI and DOJ supports an inference that it is happening once again. I strongly suspect that the impetus for this search was to sweep up as many documents as possible in the hope of finding something incriminating about J6. Information discovered about one matter in the course of an unrelated search on another matter may lawfully be used in that first matter. That is what they are hoping for here.

    1. …what is needed is an explanation of why Garland concluded that it was no longer possible to obtain the documents at issue through less intrusive means…

      following the rule of law is not something DOJ, FBI, CIA, nor the administrative state has done since 2016. Thinking they would suddenly be compelled to do so now is completely delusional. When an entity can taste power, there is no stopping them from going for the jugular. These folks are going for Trump’s jugular.

      I couldn’t care less about Donald Trump. He is old, wealthy, has lived a large life, injured too many people to count, shafted women, disowned his half-daughter whom he fathered with Marla Maples, mistreated Ivana, and has screwed more businesses, more employees (especially Latinos), and cooked so many financial books, than any search warrant will ever reveal. Donald Trump is a modern day Gordon Gekko. Hillary and Bill Clinton, Joseph Biden are as just as corrupt as Donald J Trump. These people could not care a whit about anybody except themselves. Democrats/Republicans are mega- wealthy corporations that manipulate and lie to Ameicans to grow their power and riches.

      If the Executive Branch / DOJ / FBI / US Congress / Federal Judges will break the rule of law to neutralize their targets, it is merely a matter of time when they will target any of us. Been there, that that, my family fled Cuba thinking America was far better. That was then. This is now. Now is incredibly concerning.

      1. Estovir, you can hate or like Trump. That is not a problem. He is far better than Biden, and one can see that in the economic figures of the nation and how the world has heated up militarily under Biden.

        What we are left with are things unrelated to him as President. His morals are very different than mine, but he doesn’t force himself on women. That type of claim has been made but never proven and the claims are overtly suspicious.

        That leaves us with his business practices. He has been audited and investigated numerous times. Nothing has been found because he learned how to use the law in his favor. Some Mayors of NYC hate him because of that fact and the fact that other developers then did the same thing. Why shouldn’t they use the law in their favor especially when the laws were written to hurt them?

        Are you able to provide any proof for your allegations? I don’t think you can provide significant proof of guilt.

        Your decision is who you will vote for. Are you going to choose Biden over Trump? Do you prefer the Catholic who would destroy the Church if he could or Trump who has tried to protect religious freedom?

        We agree on a lot, but on this issue there is disagreement. Would you vote for Biden or Harris instead of Trump?

    2. Hi Daniel: I may be wrong, but I think affidavits are held back/remain sealed until there is an actual indictment, as they likely contain protected names and sources of material information used to evince “probable cause.” Your comment about Garland is right-on, since the subpoena would have to identify which specific “classified” documents the NAR alleged were still missing, but I’ll reserve criticism of him because he may end up telling us something we don’t know…

      1. Lin, you may well be right. I believe a number of organisations have petitioned the court asking for the affidavit to be unsealed and the government has until Monday to respond.

        1. We may both be surprised if the only underlying signatory identified in the affidavit is someone from the NAR who identified the specific documents ostensibly still missing. But Garland’s near-sarcastic comment casting doubt on the success of less intrusive alternatives may speak to some other unknown source; I would hope that he needed to show more than just sarcastic conjecture to convince the magistrate of the need for the raid.

          1. Magistrates are easy to convince.

            Anyone who expects that judges are going to pay more than lip service to the 4th amendment is smoking crack.

            This looks like the Biden admin was deliberately escalating, and that Trump was fully cooperating at every step.

            It looks like a failed effort at entrapment.

            1. RE:”Magistrates are easy to convince…” In the case of Reinhardt, given his CV and track record, and the fact that he was astute enough to recuse himself from Trump v Clinton recently, I wonder how much ‘convincing’ he required. I would have expected him to tell the Feds to take the warrant elsewhere. That he was the wrong man, at the wrong time, in the wrong place. Perhaps he believed that vendetta was nigh and that he would be the instrument of same.

              1. Not a fan of Reinhart.

                But his conduct regarding the Warrant is not unusual.

                I doubt the DOJ had to shop hard. Warrants was far easier for law enforcement to get than the constitution allows.

      2. This is near certain to explode into a fact battle over the extent to which Trump was cooperating,
        And DOJ is on the wrong side of the fight.

        They will have to explain why additional warrants or seeking a court order to compell production was not appropriate.

        A warrant requires a criminal allegation – not merely a failure to cooperate with a subpeona – especially absent any effort to overcome that failure.

        Further Trump and his staff and attorney’s are alleging full cooperation. They are alleging that even the subpeona was not needed.

        But even if false. Even if Trump resisted fiercely – that is his right.

        The decision as to whether a subpeona was complied with rests with the COURT not the DOJ or NA.

        Yet DOJ skipped to claims of a crime.

    3. Daniel.

      I strongly doubt that what you suspect is true. Such is the nature of opinion, suspicions, doubts: they are not facts, and people’s views often vary a great deal.

      Trump is welcome to file a motion for the unsealing of the affidavit(s), but the government’s motion to unseal the warrant — — is clear that they’re not among the items that Garland was talking about this afternoon. Unsealing the warrant itself does something significant: it will identify what crimes are being investigated.

      As for why the DOJ chose to go with a search warrant, Marcy Wheeler has made a good case for her conjecture that this is an espionage investigation involving (a) classified material that should have already been turned over to NARA, (b) Trump keeping that material in a location that doesn’t meet the standards for storing classified material, and (c) Trump allowing people who lack the relevant security clearance to view that material. She notes that in a June 3 meeting at Mar-a-Lago about the NARA docs, Trump lawyers acknowledged that he still possessed documents that should have been turned over to NARA and was treating them as classified documents, but also that Trump has made Kash Patel and John Solomon NARA reps for him, and Trump was subpoenaed for surveillance video of who had accessed these classified docs. Also, one of the signatures on the DOJ motion to unseal the warrant is Jay Bratt, the chief of the counterintelligence and export control section at the Justice Department, who had been communicating with Trump’s attorney and was present at Mar-a-Lago June 3 meeting.

      I’m not saying that her conjecture is correct (we don’t know), but she is often correct, and she’s tracking details that a lot of people aren’t, such as the relevance of the June 3 meeting and the video subpoena.

      1. None of this explains why the less intrusive means I identified were unavailable or what suddenly made this time sensitive. Until these aspects are explained persuasively I will suspect the worst, given the recent history of abuse.

        1. You’re free to suspect whatever you want, but there’s zero reason for a judge to unseal the affidavit(s) in light of Rule 6.

          Trump was *already subpoenaed* for these materials and still hadn’t turned them over. He shouldn’t have had them in the first place. He’s had a year and a half to turn them over. I believe Garland. You apparently don’t. People often have different views.

          1. The evidence that were currently have is that Trump has allowed repeated searches of MAr-A-Lago for material of whatever nature that NARA wanted, and allowed them to take whatever they wanted.

            If GSA delivered to Trump things it shoudl not have,
            And NARA searched and failed to retreive them,
            and FBI searched and failed to retrieve them

            The problem is THEIRS not Trump’s

            You would have to PROVE a deliberate effort to hide documents.

            You would have to find them in the walls or stuffed down Trumps pants.

            So far this smells worse for DOJ each day.

          2. Of course I do not beleive Garland – he lied about going after Parents,

            He said this did not com from the whitehouse. When it absolutely did. The Whitehouse solicited the NASBA letter – which NASBA has since disowned. But not until after Garland used it to direct the FBI to investigagte parents as domestic terrorists.

            No I do not trust Garland.

      2. According to what has been reported regarding each of these allegations – Trump has fully cooperated.
        The FBI asked for better locks, The Secret Service installed them.
        The FBI asked for surveilance video – they got it.

        The NA, and FBI has searched Mar-A-Lago atleast twice previously – there are going to be serious questions regardin how THEY missed the material they are demanding.

        The request regarding Solomon and Patel is for access to material that Trump ordered declassified while president.

        It is going to be a huge uphill battle for DOJ to claim it is now classified.

        That claim will stink to high heaven as all that material is related to the Collusion Deliusion.

        And that is only going to make this much much worse.
        It is going to appear that not only is DOJ politically weaponized – but that they are trying to coverup government malfeasance in the Collusion Delusion.

        1. JBS, what makes you think this is about declassified collusion delusion documents? If it were about that, why wouldn’t Trump have just made them public?

          1. What makes me think that is much of the reporting. I could be wrong, but several places are tying the Solomon/Patel story together with this one.

            On January 19th 2021 Trump issued an executive order Declassifying an array of documents associated with the Collusion Delusion and directed DOJ/FBI/…. to review those documents and redact that limited information that would reveal sources and methods.

            In otherwords he did not just irresponsibly dump the documents on the internet.

            To my Knowledge Biden did not rescind Trump’s EO, and I am not sure that it is within a presidents power to undeclassify what was previously declassified. That said it is almost 2 years since the order was issued and those documents have still not been made public.

            It is highly likely that Trump took copies of those documents with him when he left.
            It is highly likely that he is not going to give up those copies.
            It is both reasonable for him to treat them as declassified and possible for a Partisan WH/DOJ/FBI to be pretending that they are still classified.
            It is possible that he has shared those documents with Patel and Solomon already.

            All of that would fit with much of the story we are being told.

            If True you will have Biden/DOJ claiming they are still classified – because DOJ/FBI/… have not completed the redaction process.
            And Trump claiming the Biden admin and DOJ/FBI are engaged in a coverup.

            And this is a fight that the WH/DOJ/FBI would likely lose HUGELY in the court of public opinion,
            It will look really bad that DOJ/FBI/…. failed to complete redaction and release of documents that were ordered Declassified.

            Even if DOJ can successfully claim the documents are still classified – they will NOT be able to prove intent. And they will look really really bad trying.

            I do not know this is the case, but it fits what we know. It is something Trump would not turn over. It is something Trump can legitimately beleive is declassified and it is something that a corrupt DOJ/FBI could pretend in court was classified.

            but it could be something else.

  14. Five years of attacks by the DOJ, FBI, CIA, NSA, CNI, ATF, CDC, DEA, DHS, etc., etc., etc., and now a literal pre-dawn raid by a battalion of Bolsheviks from the Deep Deep State Swamp Palace Guard on Mar-A-Lago, oh, and Melania’s closet and wardrobe.

    Not to worry. If all goes well in November, republicans will have the woke and effete Kevin McCarthy to wave his purse at those pesky democrats before running off to his “wine and brie” symposium.

    Git-R-Done, Kev!

    Wait! That’s exactly what George Washington said, right?



    1. The warrant, served on Trump before the FBI went in, was executed a 9:00 EDT, which is not “pre-dawn”.

      1. So it was a disgusting military-style RAID – for documents which are normally subpoenaed without communist melodrama and histrionics?

        Thank you so much, NUTCHACHACHA.

        1. The documents WERE subpoenaed, which led to the confiscation of 12 boxes of materials last February, some of which were classified, but Trump still didn’t turn over all of them. In June, they tried informally to get him to turn over the rest, but talks went nowhere. The FBI went out of its way to avoid melodrama and histrionics. Agents were in street clothes. Trump’s attorney was present. There are reports that Trump and Melania watched on CC television. The FBI notified the Secret Service in advance, and Trump was given the search warrant before it was executed. Trump brought this on himself by stealing documents he had no entitlement to. The only ones engaging in histrionics are the alt-right media you rely on for daily affirmation.

  15. Why was Search Warrant Assigned to Magistrate Bruce E. Reinhart & why did he not self-recuse?

    Reinhart, then Attorney at McDonald Hopkins (West Palm Beach Office) attacked then President elect Donald J Trump for his lack of decency when talking about House Dem Senior Deputy Whip. late Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) and agrees with former Clinton advisor Robert Reich that “Donald Trump doesn’t have the moral stature to kiss John Lewis’s feet.” {1] Lewis on NBC: : “I don’t see the president-elect as a legitimate president. […]I think the Russians participated in having this man get elected, and they helped destroy the candidacy of Hillary Clinton. I don’t plan to attend the inauguration. I think there was a conspiracy on the part of the Russians, and others, that helped him get elected. That’s not right. That’s not fair. That’s not the open, democratic process”

    On 6/22/22 the Magistrate recused himself from the former president’s lawsuit against Hillary Clinton and other Democrats in the Russia collusion scandal, citing concerns he couldn’t be impartial.


    1. A search warrant is quite different.

      The problem is not impartiality.
      The problem is failure to apply the standards required by the 4th amendment.

      But Reinhart can be forgiven a bit – as unfortunately the 4th amendment is mostly honored in breach.
      If Reinhart approved a bad warrant – he would not be the first judge to do so.
      He would not be the millionth judge to do so.

      1. 1. How many AG’s “personally approved the decision to seek a search warrant”?
        2. t’s just hypothetical as it never will occur: Which main-stream meadia reactions would you expect, if a Magistrate shares his unfavorable opinion about President Joe Biden out in the open AND approves a search warrant against Hunter Biden?
        3. Why do have four out of five American’s thin there is a two-tier justice system? [1]


        1. I have some issues with your 2nd point.

          In a world following the constitution – Judges would treat law enforcement applications for a warrant skeptically and inquire to assure the allegations met probable cause.

          But we do not live in that world.
          More and more damning information on this magistrate is coming out, but it is unlikely DOJ/FBI would have difficulty getting a warrant from another judge. The courts are a rubber stamp for Warrants.

          But DOJ/FBI is – especially when they know there will be no scrutiny, obligated to be SURE they meet the constitutional standards for a warrant.
          Todate there is no evidence that they did.

  16. Armed Man Tries To Storm FBI’s Cincinnati Field Office

    FBI Under Siege By Rightwing Media

    An armed man decked out in body armor tried to breach a security screening area at an FBI field office in Ohio on Thursday, then fled and was injured in an exchange of gunfire in a standoff with law enforcement, authorities said.

    The confrontation that began at the FBI’s Cincinnati field office came as officials warned of an increase in threats against federal agents in the days following a search of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.

    Federal officials said the man “attempted to breach” the visitor’s screening area at the FBI office and fled when agents confronted him. He was chased onto Interstate 71, and a shot was fired from his car, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

    The suspect left the interstate and abandoned his car on nearby roads, where he exchanged gunfire with police. The man has “unknown injuries,” but no one else was hurt, the patrol said. The standoff remained in progress as of midafternoon Thursday.

    There have been growing threats in recent days against FBI agents and offices across the country since federal agents executed a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago. On Gab, a social media site popular with white supremacists and antisemites, users have warned they are preparing for an armed revolution.

    Federal officials have also been tracking an array of other concerning chatter on Gab and other platforms threatening violence against federal agents. FBI Director Christopher Wray denounced the threats as he visited another FBI office in Nebraska on Wednesday.

    Edited From:

    Rightwing media and key Republicans have essentially declared war on the FBI. Which shows that the brutality waged against police on January 6th was ‘not’ just a one time fluke. Republicans are now a party actively trying to undermine law enforcement.

    1. Got it. Everyone who expressed concerns about the legality or propriety of the Mar A Lago search is now responsible for any violence against any FBI agent or facility anywhere, but Shumer, who yelled that Justice Kavanaugh “would pay a price” for contradicting Democrat legal theories, is in NO WAY responsible for the attempted assassination of that Justice. Thank you for keeping our thinking straight. Some had fallen into the delusion that the law applied equally to both parties.

    2. Hey Anonymous, you write about a nut job who shot at an FBI office but you penned nary a word about the nut job who tried to kill Justice Kavanaugh. Undoubtedly you have a copy of Machiavelli’s book on your night stand. It is the backbone of your moral fiber and your go to manual before you make your daily posts. Nothing could not be more apparent.

    3. Ryan J. Reilly: “NEW: Two law enforcement officials have confirmed to NBC News that Ricky Walter Shiffer, the suspect in the attack on the FBI field office in Cincinnati, is dead. Shiffer was present at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Reporting with @jonathan4ny.”

    4. “Armed Man Tries To Storm FBI’s Cincinnati Field Office

      “FBI Under Siege By Rightwing Media”

      Armed Man Tries To Storm Kavanaugh’s House

      Supreme Court Under Siege By Leftwing Media

      (Two can play that game.)

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