The Incredible Shrinking Merrick Garland

 

 

 

Below is my column in USA Today on the diminishing role of Attorney General Merrick Garland at the Justice Department after a series of controversies. As a well-known moderate, many of us had hoped that Garland could be a unifying presence at the Department; assuring a divided nation that justice would be pursued in an even-handed and apolitical fashion. Yet, in controversy after controversy, Garland has failed to take modest steps to make such assurances. After well documented cases of bias and false statements by FBI and DOJ officials in past investigations, there was a clear need for greater transparency and independence in investigations. Garland has consistently swatted away such options. This week, Garland stayed on that path and refused to release any part of the affidavit used as the basis for the search of Mar-a-Lago. This included the possible issuance of a redacted copy or even responses to specific concerns over the timing or basis for the search. While Trump has called for the release of the affidavit, Garland will not even release those sections dealing with the account of the prior discussions and agreements with the Team Trump. There is little proactive effort to anticipate or address such concerns as vividly shown in the last week.

Here is the column:

In the cult classic, “The Incredible Shrinking Man,” the character Scott Stuart is caught in a thick fog that causes him to gradually shrink to the point that he lives in a doll house and fights off the house cat. At one point, Stuart delivers a strikingly profound line: “The unbelievably small and the unbelievably vast eventually meet — like the closing of a gigantic circle.”

If one image sums up the incredibly shrinking stature of Attorney General Merrick Garland, it is that line in the aftermath of the Mar-a-Lago search.

Two years ago, I was one of many who supported Garland when he was nominated for attorney general. While his personality seemed a better fit for the courts than the Cabinet, he is a person with unimpeachable integrity and ethics.

If there are now doubts, it is not about his character but his personality in dealing with political controversies. Those concerns have grown in the past week.

In the aftermath of the FBI’s search of former President Donald Trump’s home in Florida, much remains unclear. The inventory list confirms that there were documents marked TS (Top Secret) and SCI (Sensitive Compartmented Information) —two of the highest classification levels for materials. The former president’s retention of such documents would appear to be a very serious violation.

However, the status of the documents is uncertain after Trump insisted that he declassified the material and was handling the records in accordance with prior discussions with the FBI. While the declassified status of these documents would not bar charges under the cited criminal provisions, it could have a significant impact on the viability of any prosecution.

I have not assumed that the search of Mar-a-Lago was unwarranted given that we have not seen the underlying affidavit. Yet in another controversy, Garland seemed largely reactive and rote in dealing with questions over bias or abuse in his department.

In his confirmation hearing, Garland repeatedly pledged that political considerations would hold no sway with him as attorney general. Yet, in just two years, the Justice Department has careened from one political controversy to another without any sign that Garland is firmly in control of the department. Last year, for example, Garland was heavily criticized for his rapid deployment of a task force to investigate parents and others challenging school boards.

When Garland has faced clear demands for independent action, he has folded. For example, Garland has refused to appoint a special counsel in the investigation of Hunter Biden. But there is no way to investigate Hunter Biden without running over continual references to President Biden.

By refusing a special counsel, Garland has removed the president’s greatest threat. Unlike the U.S. Attorney investigating Hunter Biden, a special counsel would be expected to publish a report that would detail the scope of the Biden family’s alleged influence peddling and foreign contacts.

Likewise, the Justice Department is conducting a grand jury investigation that is aggressively pursuing Trump associates and Republican figures, including seizing the telephones of members of Congress. That investigation has bearing on the integrity and the status of Biden’s potential opponent in 2024.

The investigation also has triggered concerns over the party in power investigating the opposing political party. It is breathtaking that Garland would see no need for an independent or special counsel given this country’s continued deep divisions and mistrust.

Democrats often compare the January 6 investigation to Watergate but fail to note that the Watergate investigation was led by an independent counsel precisely because of these inherent political conflicts.

Then came the raid. While Garland said he personally approved the operation, he did little to help mitigate the inevitable political explosion. This country is a powder keg and the FBI has a documented history of false statements to courts and falsified evidence in support of a previous Trump investigation.

Yet, there was no prepared statement or response for days, which allowed speculation and rage to grow. When Garland did respond, he offered a boilerplate defense of the department and sought only the release of the warrant and inventory list.

If there was one occasion for total transparency, including the release of the FBI affidavit, this was that moment. Yet, Garland refused to act further. He declined to seek the release even as news media reported an array of leaks from the Justice Department, including the allegation that Trump took nuclear weapon secrets to Mar-a-Lago. As his department leaked like a sieve, Garland withheld the document that would set the record straight. 

The Justice Department also reportedly refused to allow a special master to review the seized material after alleged attorney-client material was taken — a move that would have addressed concerns that the search was “pretextual” to seize January 6th evidence.

Despite this record, I do not view Garland as inherently political in contrast to predecessors like Eric Holder. Garland’s judicial temperament may be ill-suited to the demands of this office.

Garland sometimes looks more like a pedestrian than a driver on decisions in his own department. Top positions were given to figures denounced as far-left advocates on issues from defunding the police to racial justice. For the moderate Garland, these did not seem like natural choices. Neither did the department’s recent controversial move to effectively circumvent a Trump pardon to prosecute a Florida nursing home operator.

And Garland has not responded to new allegations of bias at the FBI and Justice involving the downplaying of evidence involving the Hunter Biden laptop controversy.

Concerns also have been raised about the decision to appoint the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Detroit office to lead the Washington, D.C., office. The agent, Steven M. D’Antuono, led the disastrous investigation of the alleged plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Many observers viewed that case as clear entrapment and abuse by the FBI. Given the importance of the January 6 investigation, it is baffling that the Department of Justice would make this controversial transfer at this time.

An attorney general should not be motivated by optics in his decisions, but he also cannot ignore optics when they undermine the integrity of his department. The search of Mar-a-Lago was a historic raid with sweeping political implications, including on the approaching midterm elections. Garland must have known that it would be viewed by many as an “insurance policy” taken out against a Trump presidential run.

Yet, with leaks coming out of his department undermining Trump’s claims, Garland merely offered “trust us we’re the government” assurances while resisting the release of the affidavit.

When Scott Stuart faced his diminished stature, he asked, “I was continuing to shrink, to become… what? The infinitesimal? What was I?” That is a debilitating question for any person, but it is disastrous in an attorney general.

It is not that Merrick Garland is absent but that his presence often seems immaterial.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University and a member of USA TODAY’s Board of Contributors. Follow him on Twitter: @JonathanTurley

484 thoughts on “The Incredible Shrinking Merrick Garland”

  1. Garland has proven himself to be 100% partisan in every way, shape and form. Thank god in heaven this man was prevented from joining the Supreme Court. This is easily the best thing Mitch ever did, by far.

  2. Yet another post deflecting from the fact that Trump got caught red handed stealing classified materials.
    And the standard for issuing a search warrant has never been “Do you know now that you will have an airtight case?”

    1. Negative. He did not. You’re just another Pin-head that just despises President Trump. And you’re also just repeating the same words that the people you love keep repeating and those people are the biggest threat to America and to our way of life. They are the ones that pushed Ukraine into a war with Russia because they have lusted for a war with Russia.

      And out of everybody that’s involved in that situation only Vladimir Putin has come out showing that he’s the actual emotionally mature adult in the entire arena. And your brain dead piece of scum leader, Mr Dingle Berry himself, Joe Biden, is so far beneath Putin that’s it’s unbelievable. And I never thought I’d live to see the day that I would say this about an American president.

        1. Anonymous being the littler McCarthyite that he is. Remember when the left hated when they were called communists or communist sympathizers…even though they were. Now we have “liberals” like Anonymous calling you a Russian if you point out the truth. Fascists will always be fascists.

          PS. Anonymous, why not go find a site that you like instead of poisoning this great site?

            1. No I would just like some liberals that could do more than troll, or cut and paste long treatises from others. Always mucking things up with the daily talking points handed out to the mindless.

          1. BTW, if you think “out of everybody that’s involved in that situation only Vladimir Putin has come out showing that he’s the actual emotionally mature adult in the entire arena” is “the truth,” you’re worse off than I’d realized. THAT lauding of an awful dictator is why I called the person a Russian troll.

      1. You had me until Putin. Vlad is a brutal dictator who deserves to be pilloried in the center of Red Square right beside our own Idiot in Chief.

    2. Sammy are you an ignorant sucker or are you a part of the hoax? Answer honestly. Is someone paying you to say stupid stuff?

    3. Did he get caught up in Obama’s web of SPYING on him?? WHEN does Obama go to prison for that? Would you be okay if Trump was spying on Biden?

  3. Defund as many DC agencies as possible their too large, a tax burden and can no longer be trusted

      1. Anonymous says:
        According to you, who can be trusted?
        Trump? ROFL.

        One thing for sure Norman a troll like you can’t be trusted!

      2. Sure as heck not the Obama spies, the Clinton Cabal or the Chinese Bidens or any of the agencies that have protected them with their lies and corruptions.

  4. Turley is the one who has shrunk … He chooses to feed the rage in the “age of rage” he complains about, as he’s too small to write non-cherrypicked columns.

    1. Negative. He has not. You’re just another one of those that simply does not like him or what he writes about. And when he does publish articles it’s not to your liking. Your bias, is so blatant that it’s unbelievable….

    1. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
      -Ephesians 6:12

    2. Yep. And “But Trump!” is a distraction from what is really going on with the Great Reset agenda. Pay attention people.

  5. I am (perhaps incorrectly) assuming that the Professor may know Garland personally, and indeed, in personal interactions he may be above reproach. If we’ve learned anything these past years though, for some inexplicable reason TDS can bring the irrational hatred and contradictory soft-brain out of even those we thought the most intelligent and virtuous in our milieu. If he is what has been said than it’s pretty clear he is not the one with authority, and subservience or even acquiescence speak volumes, too. Our former dem party no longer exists. Prying past notions from people’s metaphorical fingers is like prying a cherished heirloom in a literal death grip.

  6. I have serious doubts Garland knew anything about the Raid. He is taking the fall. To admit he know nothing, is to prove the DoJ is the Democrat Party Secret Police.

    1. Iowa: Believe me, a matter of this importance would be brought to the attention of both the AG and the POTUS. It would be part of their daily briefs by their executive staffs. Remember, this is an administration that was so clued-in on everyday happenings that it asked the FBI to monitor school board meetings after receiving a complaint from the National School Board Association. And last year, after the NEA asked for help from the White House, the CDC upped it recommendation for masking kids in school. No, it’s beyond a stretch of one’s immagination to think the president and attorney general were not informed before, during, and after the FBI’s plan for this search. Of course they will say so, but remember, these are the folks that are telling us spending lots and lots of money we don’t have will bring down inflation and the Big Guy never knew what his kid was doing on the side. Oh, and don’t forget, since this is the one year anniversary, POTUS said we were not going to leave any Americans behind in Afghanistan. Iowa: I have a bridge for sale in Brooklyn that would look great in DesMoines.

    2. Iowan2,

      You have serious problems dealing with reality. Garland publicly stated he signed off on the warrant. He’s legally obligated to to so.

      What is amazing is the lengths Trump supporters go to just to make excuses and deny reality.

      Trump has been making lame excuses and willfully lying about the reasons for illegally having documents he has no right to have. Even Turley grudgingly admits that’s a real problem.

      1. Garland publicly stated he signed off on the warrant. He’s legally obligated to to so.

        The AG is not required by law to sign off on search warrants.

        1. “ The AG is not required by law to sign off on search warrants.”

          On this one he was required because it involved a former president. He’s was required on this occasion.

          1. Svelaz, I’m still waiting for your cite about the Presidents lack of power to declassify documents. So you providing the statute requiring the AG to sign off on a search warrant for a former President.
            You would not be near as wound up it you took a couple of remedial classes on the Constitution. Learn about separation of powers.
            To paraphrase Regan. ‘It’s not that the left doesn’t know anything. It’s just that so much of what they do know, is wrong.’

            1. Again, He does in fact make the claim. But the lies coming out of DoJ allows us to discern their actions, and ignore their words.

                1. You disagree with Svelaz demonstrating you can think. However, blaming Iowan for “losing track” is not where you should place the blame.

                  One doesn’t know which person you are, and that adds to the difficulty of interpreting what you say when you use pronouns.

    3. Garland held a briefing last Thursday during which he stated that he signed off on the affidavit to get the warrant.

  7. When AG Garland assured us that “he was in charge”, he looked like Joe Biden: lifelessly reading a platitudinous statement from a teleprompter and then refusing to answer questions. He gives the impression, like Biden, of someone who is being controlled by stronger forces. It reinforces the question of the Biden White House: who is really in charge? Perhaps it really is a cabal that still includes of Eric Holder. Another issue that Prof Turley did not mention in this column is whether the FBI judge-shopped the warrant request in order to get an anti-trump magistrate.

  8. My one disagreement with the Professor regarding this column is that I do not think that Garland is honorable, truthful or just. His actions, all of his actions, have been political and harmful to the people of this nation. From parents at school board meetings to SCOTUS Justices, to a]pro-life organizations being attacked, this guy has been a political hack and nothing more.

    1. Turley also says it’s not his character, but rather his personality. Of course it’s also his character. He may have a personality better suited as a judge and not running a department, but he lacks the moral strength; the integrity to stand up against the inevitable political forces that come from within and outside his department. The impression I get from him is he is being held hostage by the same group controlling Biden. Weak and Meek. Not good for an AG.

    2. “My one disagreement with the Professor regarding this column is that I do not think that Garland is honorable, truthful or just. “

      Hullbobby, what do you want from Turley. Do you want to see SWAT teams breaking down his doors coming from land, sea and air? 🙂

  9. The DOJ wants everyone to assume the raid was justified. After the Russian collusion debacle they don’t have the right to such assumption.

    1. It WAS justified. Since they DID find documents that Trump had no legal right to have and they involved highly sensitive government secrets. It’s pretty obvious they HAD to act. Trump was not complying with requests to return documents and only when he was subpoenaed he didn’t turn in all of it. Trump the fact that the TS/SCI documents were found after the FBI’s informant positively identified them before the raid shows the justification for doing a search warrant. It was that serious.

      1. And yet, no word from you on all the evidence on Hunter Biden and why in that case not a single action has been taken.
        Or did I miss the FBI raid on Hunter by any chance?
        Nor did I see the same reaction on Hillary or Obama.
        Care to explain why?
        And please do not try something like: “But this is not about Hunter, Clinton or Obama”
        Because it is, to my latest knowledge there is no 2 tier judgement system in the US so all should be threated the same or all should not.

        1. “ And yet, no word from you on all the evidence on Hunter Biden and why in that case not a single action has been taken.
          Or did I miss the FBI raid on Hunter by any chance?”

          Why would there be a raid on Hunter Biden? He’s not committed any crimes or withheld classified documents that did not belong to him. The FBI already has his laptop and hard drive.

          You seem to think that just because something happens to Trump the same thing should happen to Hunter or Hillary or Obama. That’s not how the justice system works. You are really confused.

          1. Well, I dunno..
            Maybe because there IS clear and actual video and email evidence on wrongdoings from Hunter and “The Big Guy”?
            Instead of, just picking a few, fake russia steel dossier created by DNC, the false Quid Pro Quo statement etc etc.

            But reading your reply you do not have any problem with those actual crimes, as long as it is done by democrats do you?

            1. What “wrongdoings” are you referring to? Are they clear articulable crimes? Illegal activity? Show us the evidence you speak of. What would the FBI raid need to look for? Explain your reasoning for their need to “raid” Hunter Biden.

              “ But reading your reply you do not have any problem with those actual crimes, as long as it is done by democrats do you?”

              They are not actual crimes. That’s why there aren’t “raids” or investigations.

              1. Stick your head back in the sand. You have no clue, or you are playing dumb. Neither is a good look.

                1. Svelaz is Sammy is Seth Warner is Natacha is…..

                  all one and the same troll. Analyze their sentence structure, their word count, their choice of vocabulary, their habitual themes: insult Professor Turley, disparage Fox News, connect Turley to Fox News, demean Trump supporters, laud the same liberal news sources, and use a sophomoric mode of expression. Either they are the same person or their paid handlers hire the same type of person: adolescents, emotionally conflicted college students, individuals with Axis II / personality disorders, folks who can not sustain intimate relations with anyone. On rare occasions Turley has commenters who offer dispassionate criticisms. On the whole, the hit-and-run trolls on here are nothing short of emotionally unstable, online bomb throwers who lob virtual molotov cocktails from their keyboards. Just don’t ask them to meet you outside in front of the bar where you might have met them….they’ll piss in their Underoos

              2. What “wrongdoings” are you referring to? Are they clear articulable crimes? Illegal activity? Show us the evidence you speak of

                The DoJ could start with more than 150 Suspicous Activity Reports. (SAR) More than any other person or entity EVER. That is much more substantive than what got the raid on MAL

                I’ve tried to post this twice with links and it never posts

          2. Svelaz, a true moron, loves to always claim that there should be no investigation of Hunter because he has committed no crimes?? Hey genius, how do you find the crime without the investigation? There is a ton of probable cause with Hunter, it is not a witch hunt. There should be a special prosecutor and everyone knows it, but little partisan hacks like Svelaz keep pretending that Hunter, Joe, Hillary and Obama have never committed any crimes. It is sickening and harmful to our nation.

            1. Hullbobby a true idiot. I never said there shouldn’t be an investigation. Don’t lie to make yourself look smart.

              “ Hey genius, how do you find the crime without the investigation? There is a ton of probable cause with Hunter, it is not a witch hunt.”

              What’s the probable cause? Nobody is articulating that. Peddling influence? Sorry, that’s legal according to the conservatives on the Supreme Court. Making millions from a foreign company? That’s also legal. What else?

              Unless there’s actually evidence of something that is actually a crime probable cause still has to have an illegality as a component. So far nothing he’s done is illegal or criminal, just unethical or purely bad optics.

              “ Svelaz keep pretending that Hunter, Joe, Hillary and Obama have never committed any crimes. It is sickening and harmful to our nation.”

              What crimes have they committed? I’m willing to see what you have to offer as proof. They will have to meet legal requirements for their actions to fall under criminal conduct. I’ll wait.

      2. Hillary had many top secret documents on an easily accessible server she had no legal reason to have yet the FBI gave her a pass. To overlook the obviously unequal application of the law is to show yourself as a partisan buffoon.

        1. “ Hillary had many top secret documents on an easily accessible server she had no legal reason to have yet the FBI gave her a pass. ”

          Her server wasn’t “easily accessible”. It was firewalled and encrypted. That’s why there was never any evidence of it being breached. Republicans looked hard for any evidence of hey server being hacked. They found none.

          1. Her server wasn’t “easily accessible” but material was found on other computers where it didn’t belong

          2. That’s why there was never any evidence of it being breached.

            Why do you insist on lying? No one ever did a forensic audit on the server.

            Virtually every email which was sent to and received on the Clinton server was forwarded to “carterheavyindustries@gmail.com,” the documents show.

  10. Rest assured that Trump will NOT be indicted. To indict him would give him rights to the affidavit and other documents of the FBI and Department of Justice that he would need to defend himself. That affidavit, like it or not, has taken on the same security as a FISA warrant affidavit and, like a FISA warrant affidavit, it will never see the light of day or be litigated in a court of law. That said, the attorney-client materials seized from Trump may include correspondence between Eastman and Trump and may be grist for the J6 folks, which is what motivated this search to begin with. The media will continue as the unofficial-official spokesperson for the Department and the FBI while the public is left hanging and growing angrier and angrier. Garland and Graves for the moment are in charge and can spin this to achieve whatever political object they want, but in ten weeks, things might begin to change when the other team gets the ball. The public, including many decent Democrats and Independents, have had enough of the corruption and the lies from this administration and the shrinking men and women of the Justice Department.

    1. “ To indict him would give him rights to the affidavit and other documents of the FBI and Department of Justice that he would need to defend himself. ”

      That would be when the investigation has concluded and charges filed. That’s how it’s supposed to work. The affidavit would be used to justify the charges and Trump would be able to challenge the charges.

      If the investigation is ongoing the affidavit is not going to be made public. It’s like Trump holding back his tax returns. If he released them he would be at a disadvantage in court. The DOJ has reason to withhold the affidavit before charges are filed.

      1. Yes, this is what I said. But my point was, and is, he will not be indicted because the Department does not want to ever make that affidavit available to the public. They hope to achieve the very same result, which is besmirching the reputation of Trump so he doesn’t run in 2024. If Trump were to come out tomorrow and say he’s retired and not running again, chances are they would ship all his seized materials back to him with a thank you note. At some point, though, if as I suspect they do not indict and the grand jury is dismissed, then the Congress may have first dibs at the “evidence,” including the affidavit used in the now-closed investigation.Eventually, the truth will come out. Everyone, it seems, should want that.

        1. “If Trump were to come out tomorrow and say he’s retired and not running again, chances are they would ship all his seized materials back to him” … only in your imagination. They’re Presidential Records that belong with NARA, not Trump.

          The judge has been asked by several news organizations to unseal the affidavit and hasn’t yet ruled on it. The court has a copy and can release it if the judge so orders.

        2. “ Yes, this is what I said. But my point was, and is, he will not be indicted because the Department does not want to ever make that affidavit available to the public.”

          That will entirely depend on the judge not the DOJ. Currently the DOJ doesn’t want to make the affidavit public BECAUSE there’s still an ongoing investigation. That’s normal practice. Furthermore the law prevents the DOJ from disclosing the contents of the affidavit until there is a trial or charges are filed.

          1. NO ONE can validly question the contents of the Affidavit: the fruits it produced attest to the accuracy and validity of the allegations contained therein: 20 boxes of TS/SCI documents that Trump’s lawyers swore did not exist in response to a subpoena that already yielded 15 boxes.

            I don’t understand why the disciples don’t see the plain facts here: Trump stole documents he shouldn’t have had. He only voluntarily returned a handful, so the NARA had to get a subpoena, which netted 15 boxes, along with a declaration that all had been returned. In response to a tip that there were more he refused to return, Garland had to decide whether to allow Trump to get away with keeping TS/SCI documents, including those related to nuclear weapons, or risk the fallout from executing a search warrant. At the end of the day, national security triumphed, and 20 more boxes were disgorged. Trump is now leveraging this incident into political gain and has sent out fundraising requests based on the fury his mischaracterization of this incident has caused. One Trump supporter has already died, and the FBI is under threat, all because of Trump’s ego. Trump went on Fox last night and commented about the anger and fury of this country (actually only his supporters), blaming the DOJ and FBI. TRUMP is the one who stirred up this fury, which he is leveraging for fundraising and political support all because he stole documents he shouldn’t have taken and has refused to return them and has lied about returning them. THOSE are the things that should get any patriotic American upset.

            Tell us, Trumpsters: WHY should he have these documents? WHY wouldn’t he return all of them: 1. when informally asked; 2. in response to a subpoena. WHY did his lawyer file a false declaration that all were returned? WHY did he lie: 1. that the FBI planted the documents; 2. that he signed a “standing order” to declassify, when it doesn’t exist? Why do you Trumpsters believe that it is the DOJ or FBI who are at fault here? Should they just let him keep nuclear secret documents in an unguarded closet, when in Washington those with security clearance must go to a SCIF to even see the documents or risk being accused of being politically-motivated?

            1. “NO ONE can validly question the contents of the Affidavit: the fruits it produced attest to the accuracy and validity of the allegations contained therein: “

              Nutso talking to clueless.

              1. Now, I’m “nuts”? Trump admitted that there were TS/SCI documents, but tried to defend his possession of them by claiming that he had a “standing order” to declassify them if he took them. According to his national security advisor, John Bolton, there is no “standing order”.

                Answer me as to WHY he took them, lied about retaining them, and forced the NARA to get a search warrant. WHAT has or is he planning to do with them? Trump is an ordinary citizen, just like you and me, and neither of us would be entitled to have TS/SCI documents. If we did, the NARA would come after us, which is the right thing to do.

                1. No Trump did NOT admit anything.
                  several Trump WH attorney’s have confirmed there was a standing order.

                  Regardless a standing order is a red herring.

                  If the president – ANY president, removes a classified document from a secure setting – deliberately or accidentally – it is declassified.

                  This is inherent in the fact that the power to classify and declassify – like ALL executive powers constitutionally belongs to the president.

                  If Trump removed classified documents AFTER he was no longer president – you have a claim.
                  If he directed their removal AFTER he was no longer president – you have a claim.

                  If the GSA removed them at anytime – You do NOT have a claim.

                  You said Trump stole the documents – that is actually important.
                  To be a crime they must be removed by someone who is not permitted to remove them at the time they were removed.
                  i.e. to violate the law – a person must ACT in a way that is not permitted that results in diminishing the security of classified information.

                  You have no evidence of that.
                  You do not even ha ve a public allegation of that.

                2. “Answer me as to WHY he took them,”
                  He did not.

                  “lied about retaining them,”
                  he did not

                  “and forced the NARA to get a search warrant.”
                  NARA was free to come and look through his documents whenever they wanted.

                  “WHAT has or is he planning to do with them?”
                  Sell them to the bunny rabbit – what is it that you think h was going to do with them.

                  “Trump is an ordinary citizen, just like you and me, and neither of us would be entitled to have TS/SCI documents.”
                  Also FALSE. Ranking former members of govenrment retain their security clearances.
                  John Bolton retains his, Brennan and Clapper retain theirs. Trump retains his.
                  I have a TS/SCI clearance over a decade ago. It was suspended when I ceased work as a govenrment contractor.
                  Brennan’s Clapper’s, Bolton’s and Trump’s are still active.
                  Trump and Pence and former presidents and vice presidents are especially Unique because their access to classified information unlikely everyone currently in government (except the current president and vice president) is NOT on a “need to know” basis.
                  Trump like all other presidents and ex-presidents is free to request, and possess any classified document at any classification level. Only the current president can say “no” – this BTW is per Obama’s EO on classified documents.

                  “If we did, the NARA would come after us, which is the right thing to do.”
                  Nope, NARA is the national archives – they are NOT the classified document police.

                  They have two roles requarding classified documents – protecting those currently in their possession, an declassifying the huge backlog of past clasified documents.
                  They are not the colassified document police, The FBI is.

    2. Trump — like anyone who has had his property searched — already has a right to read the affidavit (just not to make a copy or release it publicly).

      1. “ Trump — like anyone who has had his property searched — already has a right to read the affidavit (just not to make a copy or release it publicly).”

        Wrong, Trump doesn’t have a right to read the affidavit prior to trial or before charges are filed. Only after charges are filed does trump have a right to view it.

        He has a right to a copy of the warrant AND the receipt of items taken. That’s it.

        1. Just because you apparently hate Donald Trump, at least have a little respect for the office. You leftists are all the same. One tier of justice for Democrats and another for Republicans. In the next Congress, when the Republicans are in control, I am going to enjoy the screams coming from the left that everything is racist or whatever. Remember, what goes around, comes around.

          1. Simon, there is no “tier” of justice for one party or another. Trump is making so many poor excuses and lied about what been unfair to him regarding this search and the obvious fact that he DID indeed have documents that he was not supposed to have and the fact that he DID break the law.

            Pointing out how the justice system actually works to those who don’t know is not hatred of Trump. Like everyone else I’m just pointing out the fact that Trump is an idiot who keeps shooting his mouth off and getting deeper in that hole he’s digging.

        2. No, Svelaz, see Rule 41: “A person who wishes to challenge the validity of a search warrant has access to the affidavits upon which the warrant was issued.”
          https://www.law.cornell.edu/rules/frcrmp/rule_41

          Strangely, Trump’s lawyers have not challenged the warrant in court.

          You were also wrong about the judge being a Trump appointee, when magistrate judges are appointed by the federal district judges.

          1. I was wrong about the judge. I admit that. BUT your cited rule is not what you think. Pay attention,

            “ A person who wishes to challenge the validity of a search warrant has access to the affidavits upon which the warrant was issued.”

            The person who wishes to challenge the validity of the warrant has to have access to the affidavit first. This does not mean he has a right to the affidavit. It’s IF he already has access to the affidavit. You need to read the whole paragraph. Not just focus on that one sentence.

            “ The requirement that the warrant itself state the grounds for its issuance and the names of any affiants, is eliminated as unnecessary paper work. There is no comparable requirement for an arrest warrant in rule 4. A person who wishes to challenge the validity of a search warrant has access to the affidavits upon which the warrant was issued.”

            That’s not saying what you think it’s saying. Nice try.

              1. No anonymous (S. Meyer). Given your atrocious reading comprehension skills it does not say what you want it to say. That sentence is part of an entire paragraph that adds context to your sentence.

                You’re not paying attention or your just not good at reading comprehension.

                1. Svelaz the Clueless, that you can neither read or think is well known. When responding to a brainless fool I sometimes make typos but what I write can be understood by one with half a brain. You lack even that.

          2. “ Strangely, Trump’s lawyers have not challenged the warrant in court.”

            The can’t challenge the warrant after the feds FOUND incriminating evidence proving that the affidavit was correct. There’s nothing to challenge.

              1. What’s there to challenge? The Trump lawyers have not demonstrated that the warrant was executed incorrectly or that anything not in the warrant was seized.

                1. Pointing out the fact that they can legally challenge it does not imply that they have a good case.

  11. Almost no person understands the real purpose of the Mueller appointment. Because all the DoJ knew the fact. There was NEVER a Russia connection so they had to down any other investigation of the whole Russia scam. DoJ bigfooted anything to do with Russia. All other investigations could not begin, as it would interfere with Mueller.
    Nwt the same thing will happen to toiletgate. Garland is the director of this theatrical production and leaks from the DoJ will be released when the leaks will best support the Democrat Party.

    This is all staged managed to ambush President Trump.

    The DoJ, (if you believe them) already has the evidence to indict President Trump. But again, even a conviction would prevent trump from running for and being elected to office.
    The only play Democrats have is the drip drip drip of ambigious findings that sound bad, but aren’t. But work great for filling the cable news networks with content. Just like the golden days of new!!!! Trumps first term. Because when President Trump is quiet, the theater critics (talking heads) head for the unemployment lines.

  12. A fantastic commentary on the state of “justice “ in America today. I agree that Garland is marshaling the awesome forces of the Federal Government in the manner of a vendetta against Republicans.
    His actions so far are in concert with a promise to President Biden to be his powerful ally to “get Trump”. His zeal to avenge Mitch McConnell for preventing his Supreme Court nomination to get a hearing and vote is insatiable and in plain view.
    Thanks for calling out the “shrinking man”.

  13. I was turned off by his unethical non sequitur attempt to deflect criticism of his decision to raid Trump’s home by implying the criticism was directed to low level FBI personnel whom he was supposedly defending.

  14. OMG! Turley must have fallen and bumped his head. EVERY ATTORNEY AND JUDGE IN AMERICA KNOWS THE AFFIDAVIT USED TO ACQUIRE A SEARCH WARRANT IS NEVER, EVER RELEASED IN PART OR IN WHOLE, PERIOD! Every attorney knows that the affidavit used to obtain a search warrant is not released until AFTER CHARGES ARE FILED!!!
    And for damn good very obvious reasons EVERY ATTORNEY AND JUDGE UNDERSTANDS EXCEPT FOR TURLEY.
    Prosecutors do not want the identity of witnesses revealed PRIOR TO charges being filed.

    I tell you what’s going on here: most attorneys and judges realize that Donald Trump is well on his way to being indicted and Trump supporters are having a MELTDOWN.

    1. Studio: Not true. if someone is indicted and evidence used was obtained by search warrant, the affidavit showing the probable cause must be released to the accused so she can defend herself. It’s called discovery and is strictly upheld by the courts. Any failure to turn over “discovery material” may be grounds to dismiss the action immediately and with prejudice.

      1. It’s provided the person’s defense attorney after the person is indicted. In this case releasing it would tip tge DOJ’s hand on other investigations.

      2. Jjc,

        Trump hasn’t been indicted yet. When someone is indicted it means charges have been filed.

        For the defendant to be able to defend himself he first must be CHARGED. That’s when the affidavit is made available. NOT BEFORE.

        Every lawyer knows this. Including Turley. This just shows Turley is being deliberately disingenuous with his argument. Studio is correct.

    2. Calm down. Affidavits are routinely released when (if) the person is indicted, and they are sometimes released before any indictment per an order from the judge. The affidavit likely hides the identity of any witness (e.g., “unidentified employee #1”).

      Several organizations have moved the the judge unseal the affidavit, and the judge hasn’t ruled on it yet.

      1. ” The affidavit likely hides the identity of any witness (e.g., “unidentified employee #1”).“

        More ass u me from ATS.

        Unidentified employee #1 will testify that he heard every word spoken at MAL. He will testify with the assistance of a translator since he doesn’t know a word of English.

    3. More from Studio.

      There are at least two reasons for not releasing the affidavit. An important one might be to protect witnesses, but that information can be redacted. The second reason is to lie and that is what the left and Democrats are best at.

      Studio thinks everyone on the blog is a dummy, so he is preening with capitalizing words and hyperbolic rhetoric when he actually appears similar to a snake run over by a car.

    4. Trey Gowdy was on TV. He said in the Southern District of Florida the Warrant and affidavit are both make public as routine. After the warrant is served.

  15. It is nonsense as has been written often the last week and as claimed by Wray and Garland that we should respect the FBI. Waco. Storzk. Whitey Bulger. Martin Luther King. Klinesmith. D’Antuono. The list is long and the list is deep and goes back decades. I still remember when 20 of the bozos came and raided at dawn the house of a lady with three little kids near where I lived at the time 20 years ago. Her house was on Oriole Drive. The pervert porn dealer the FBI wanted lived one street over on Bluebird Lane and went free for another 10 years.

    If you are standing by the lighthouse on Cape Hatteras at dawn on a clear March or September 21 and an FBI agent asks you which way is East, take the Fifth. They are scum. Garland is now one of the scum no matter what the Professor thought of him two years ago.

  16. “ Yet, with leaks coming out of his department undermining Trump’s claims,…”

    Those weren’t leaks, they were facts showing Trump was lying. He’s already been caught lying so much everyone is making fun of all the lame excuses he’s been shoving out in an attempt to deflect from obvious illegal activities he was caught committing.

    Turley sure is being quite the sycophant on this issue.

    1. Those weren’t leaks, they were facts showing Trump was lying</i

      Nobody said they were lies, we have said they are "leaks". That is how a corrupt justice system works. Leaking carefully selected, snippets. In and of themself, true. But in the larger body of evidence, reveal something entirely different. That's how you get bamboozled by the Jan 6 circus. 100,000 document, thousands of hours of testimony, but you believe you know and understand eveyrthing from 25 hours of a telenovela.

      1. Iowan2, what “leaks” are you referring to? Trump had been throwing excuses and making up lies that have been debunked as fast as he’s making them. Sometimes by his own lawyers. It’s embarrassing to watch such lame and weak excuses.

  17. Thank God this guy is not on the supreme court. He creates enough damage in his current role.

  18. Turley says, “ This week, Garland stayed on that path and refused to release any part of the affidavit used as the basis for the search of Mar-a-Lago.”

    Turley is a lawyer. He should KNOW that the DOJ cannot release the affidavit because it would undermine the investigation. Turley is ignoring the multiple sad and pathetic excuses Trump has been trotting out in the wake of being caught with documents that he stole from the White House. Those documents did not belong to him and Turley acknowledged that in his last column.

    Attacking Merrick Garland is just a distraction from the fact that Trump is in serious legal trouble. Trump has already lied so many times AND has legally implicated himself multiple times when he kept shooting his mouth off.

    Demanding the release of the affidavit, even a redacted one is not going to happen. The judge won’t release it due to the sensitivity of its contents. Trump supporters have already shown they will use it to attack, dox, and intimate anyone listed on it. One stupid trump supporter already died trying to storm the an FBI office in Cincinnati. Other FBI agents have already been targeted and threatened, even the judge.

    It’s clear Trump supporters are a violent lot who will resort to violence on law enforcement because their “dear leader” Trump was “unfairly” treated by the FBI for not complying with legal demands that turned out to be correct.

    Turley’s criticism of Merrick Garland is just more of the same. Focus on the messenger instead of what the law says. Turley is just another Trump enabler.

    1. Precisely why would releasing a redacted version of the affidavit compromise the investigation? Or that just a conclusory statement.

      1. “ Precisely why would releasing a redacted version of the affidavit compromise the investigation? Or that just a conclusory statement.”

        Because even a redacted version would expose certain aspects of an ongoing investigation. Affidavits are usually released once charges are filed or when an individual is indicted. Turley who is a LAW professor should know why the affidavit cannot be made public. Every lawyer knows this.

      2. A redacted version will not shed any light on what Trump wants to know. He WANTS to know who ratted him out. That’s NOT going to happen. Plus the majority of the affidavit will most likely be redacted to the point where it’s just useless to anyone.

        The only way Trump will get to challenge the affidavit is if charges are brought up.

    2. Studio’s explanation though unimpressive is better than what we are getting from Svelaz the Clueless.

      1. Anonymous (S. Meyer). Studio is saying the same thing I’ve been saying. What is apparent is your inability to understand.

        1. Studio might have some of the intelligence you lack demonstrated by his ability to use capitals to promote his hyperbole. However, his political understanding of events is near nil.

            1. Svelaz the Clueless, you can say whatever you want, but all the blog members are a lot smarter than you so they pay you little attention.

              1. So you’re saying you’re not smart? You’re paying a lot of attention to me.

                Are you gonna do another incoherent rant? You’re good at that.

  19. The search did find evidence of a crime – Trump had documents he should not have had as you note. And that was a crime whether or not your weird theory about declassification was a crime.

    So there is no need to go to extraordinary lengths to reveal information about why the FBI knew Trump committed this crime. Whomever the informant was, they were spot on correct. Why should we give the name of this patriot out, so Trump and Hannity can subject them and their families to death threats as they have so many other whistleblowers in the past.

    1. Heath, why didn’t they just ask? Why not a subpoena? Why not a judgment to enforce a subpoena? Why didn’t Garland do what he said he was going to do in his statement he gave AFTER the raid, seek the least intrusive action available. But more important, why was the warrant so broad, if, like you claim, they know exactly what documents President Trump had in his possession. BTW, passports are not Presidential documents.

      1. As the news has reported, a Trump attorney in June filed an affidavit with the court that all classified material had been returned. That was a lie, perjury really. The DOJ could keep sending subpoenas and saying pretty please, but Trump and his attorneys would keep simply lying and saying they don’t have anything.

        1. As the news has reported, a Trump attorney in June filed an affidavit with the court that all classified material had been returned.

          That’s a lie, and I will keep correcting it.

          No lawyer, at any level, would sign such a declaratory statement. No non lawyer should, either

        1. Wally, Garland refuses to answer any relevant questions to the lead up of the raid. Likely because he knew nothing of the raid. Transparency is not a core value of the DoJ

      2. They did ask!
        And they did subpoena the documents weeks before the search!

        The fact is that even after asking and after getting a subpoena, Trump still kept boxes of material he shouldn’t have had, and didn’t secure it according to the legal specifications for classified data.

        1. They never filed to judgement to enforce the subpoena. That would be the next step. The claim surrounding search warrant was time was critical. But from June 3 to August 5 is 2 months. That makes the claim of time sensitive a lie. Two months is a long time for court filings and negotiations. Time the DoJ ignored, until the calendar pages peeled off and political dirty tricks came into play for the Democrat Party Secret Police jump in.

          1. There is NO requirement to move to compel or for sanctions. Trump had already failed to turn over most of the TS/SCI documents in response to informal requests and a subpoena. A motion to compel or for sanctions could be tied up in court for years, and the NARA HAD to get these back to protect national security. WHY do you think that the DOJ is the one engaging in “dirty tricks” when Trump is the one who stole the documents, lied about returning them, lied about declassification, and then has tried to leverage his theft and lies for fundraising and political support?

          2. “ That makes the claim of time sensitive a lie.”

            What makes you think the DOJ knew about the top secret files during that time?

            They could have learned about the TS/SCI documents just a week prior to the warrant being issued or just a couple of days. Since they had an informant who they deemed credible enough to act on their information and acted with expedited urgency the resulting evidence justified their need to execute a search warrant.

      3. “ Heath, why didn’t they just ask? Why not a subpoena? Why not a judgment to enforce a subpoena? ”

        They did ask first. When they were ignored they issued a subpoena. THE judgement to enforce a subpoena WAS issued. The last resort was to issue a search warrant which is exactly what happened.

        Trump was not fully complying and he was lying to NARA about what he had.

        The warrant was broad because Trump lied about giving up all classified material and upon learning thru an informant about serious top secret documents being held. The entire residence HAD to be searched, because Trump couldn’t be trusted with telling the truth. He already lied once about turning in everything.

      4. They DID ask, and he turned over only a handful of documents. In response to the subpoena, 15 boxes were turned over, but a tipster told them that the declaration that ALL were returned was false, which turned out to be the case. Trump was NEVER going to voluntarily return all of the documents. You have to ask yourself why: what did he intend to do with them, or, even scarier, what has he ALREADY done with them?

        As to the passports, if they were inside boxes that contained confidential documents, the entire box is taken. The search warrant allows that, and that is also Trump’s fault. Who is so careless with their passport, anyway? Where do you keep yours–laying around with other papers?. Two of them were expired anyway. BTW: TS/SCI documents are also NOT Presidential documents.

      1. I did vote for Hillary and I thought Trump and the Republicans like Turley who were up in arms about the private email server were not sincere in their concerns for national security in that case. We have seen Trump in office and Jared/Ivanka using insecure cell phones and giving away state secrets, and Republicans did not care one whit, so I was correct in that assessment.

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