September 29, 2022

Report that FBI sought nuclear documents sharpens Trump showdown with Justice Department

7 min read

The Post cited people familiar with the investigation as saying that federal agents were searching Trump’s resort for classified documents related to nuclear weapons, among other items. The people did not describe the documents in detail, nor do they relate to the nuclear weapons of the United States or any other country. CNN has not independently verified this report.

But if it turns out that Trump took such material from the White House, it raises the question of why a former president would need such highly classified secrets after leaving office. The possibility that such material would be stored in an unsecured location, where visitors come and go and where it would be potentially vulnerable to penetration by a foreign intelligence service, puts government officials at risk. I will put

In the escalating legal battle over the search, Trump has until 3 p.m. ET on Friday to formally indicate whether he will fight Garland’s move.

In a statement on his Truth social network late Thursday, the former president said he would not oppose the release of documents related to the “un-American, unnecessary and unnecessary raids and vandalism” of his home. He did not say exactly which documents he would be willing to release. And the FBI search wasn’t a bust. It was legally authorized by a warrant approved by a judge who had to find probable cause that a crime had been committed.

This is your trick, Mr. Ex-President

Garland’s gambit was neat.

Search warrants are usually put in place to protect the reputation of the person they apply for. But Trump himself broke the news of the search, thereby breaking his own expectations of its secrecy, in order to plan a political fireworks display to discredit the investigation. And if Trump fights to keep the document sealed, he will look even more like he has something to hide.

“It’s a pro move,” former FBI and CIA official Phil Mudd said of Garland’s actions on “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.”

“It’s not a pawn move, it’s something between a rook and a queen.”

If Trump decides to fight the sealing of the warrant — a move that could neutralize GOP claims that the former president is a political victim — his lawyers will have to explain why in court. The judge in the case, who has received death threats and abuse on social media from Trump supporters, could still decide to support the Justice Department’s motion, even if the former president keeps the information secret. Why don’t you want to?

Merrick Garland says DOJ files motion to seal Trump Mar-a-Lago warrant and property receipt

“This is what it looks like when you see the rule of law fighting against Trump’s lies,” Nick Ackerman, a former assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, told CNN’s Erin Burnett.

“I think it’s very unlikely that Donald Trump will prevail here.”

Garland’s play is an apparent attempt to deflect Republican officials’ anger over unprecedented search warrants at the former president’s home. Lawmakers, media pundits and Trump supporters have made baseless claims that America is now nothing more than a police state, with a Gestapo-like secret police, and has descended into tyranny.

In deciding to appear before the cameras at the Justice Department, Garland didn’t just bow to Trump’s bluff and pressure from Republican leaders who have demanded to know the justification for the search. He sought to protect his department and the judicial process as he insisted that every step in the investigation was deliberate. His brief appearance, in which he did not field questions, was scripted to deflect specific criticisms and control conspiracy theories from the far right.

“Faithful adherence to the rule of law is a fundamental principle of the Department of Justice and our democracy,” Garland said.

“Upholding the rule of law means applying the law equally, without fear or favour,” he said, meaning that even if former presidents are suspected of having committed a crime. If so, they are not protected. Garland also spoke forcefully in defense of the rank and file of the FBI and Justice Department, calling them “dedicated, patriotic public servants,” as Trump’s servants portrayed the bureau as a political arm of Democratic chicanery. Is.

Merrick Garland just called Donald Trump's bluff.

The attorney general’s remarks, a dramatic moment in Washington, were a sign of the extraordinary sensitivity and importance of the investigation against the former president. Normally, the FBI says little about an ongoing investigation until someone is indicted — a step that, if it happens, seems some way off in this case.

The unsealed search warrant will not conclusively establish whether the department’s action against Trump was justified or excessive. But Garland’s move suggests strong confidence in any case the bureau is building against Trump. It also shows that the department, from the very top, stood behind the decision to go ahead with the search — in the clear knowledge that it would trigger an extraordinary and severe response from Trump.

The idea that the whole thing is just a politically motivated plot by legal hacks — the essential Trump case against him — is much harder to believe after Garland’s appearance.

Trump’s decision

Trump’s lawyers have not yet responded to the DOJ’s motion.

The former president has three options. He can issue search warrants and inventories of items the FBI has removed from his resort. He may accept the application of the department as opened by the court. Or he may oppose the issuance of the warrant to the public.

In a logical universe, the latter option would seem unlikely since the former president broke the news of an FBI search in the political ring Monday night to reveal his privacy. And the Justice Department is essentially arguing in its court filings that the public’s interest in knowing what actually led to the search now outweighs Trump’s interest in keeping the details under wraps. Public interest is arguably even greater in light of the Post’s reporting on the nuclear documents.

Here's why the public owns Trump's presidential record.

“For him to come back now and say, ‘I don’t want this,’ would be very weird and strange,” said Vermont Law School professor Jared Carter.

But Trump doesn’t play by the usual rules. Given their lifelong record of exhausting every legal option to thwart accountability and the incompetence of judicial and political institutions, a counterintuitive legal strategy cannot be ruled out.

Whether the former president follows through on his promise not to oppose the release of documents in the case is likely to become clear on Friday.

Republicans move the goalposts.

The FBI’s reporting of the discovery of nuclear documents at Mar-a-Lago raises new questions for Republicans, who are attacking the bureau and the Justice Department over the search without clear knowledge of it. are

Even without that context, Garland’s move early Thursday should quell calls from Republicans for him to publicly talk about the search and publish a warrant. But as the attorney general stopped talking, key Republicans demanded more.

“What I’m looking for is a prelude to a search,” Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said in a statement.

“Was the information provided to the judge sufficient and necessary to authorize a raid on the former president’s home within ninety days of the midterm elections? I am asserting, indeed insisting, that the DOJ and the FBI put their cards on the table. But why did it happen? The course of action was necessary,” the South Carolina Trump ally added.

Timeline: Justice Department criminal investigation into Trump taking classified documents to Mar-a-Lago

While Garland asked to unseal the search warrant, which may have included an inventory of documents taken from Trump’s residence, he did not ask to unseal the affidavit that was intended to reveal that an offense was committed in support of the warrant application; . So Graham made his appeal knowing he was asking for a step that would violate long-standing Justice Department guidelines — and could harm any criminal case the FBI eventually brings against the former president. can enter

Trump himself responded to Garland’s on-camera appearance with a characteristic “witch hunt” post of his own on his Truth social media network.

It is impossible to verify the statements of a former president who certainly lied while in office. But several of Trump’s earlier claims that he was targeted in a surprise “raid” and “besieged” by FBI agents were undermined by Thursday’s developments. For example, CNN’s Evan Perez, Gabby Orr and Pamela Brown, Reported That federal investigators presented to an earlier grand jury and seized documents from Mar-a-Lago in June. Monday’s search appears to have been a last resort and supports Garland’s claim that the FBI took steps to ensure the search was as intrusive as possible.

But the attorney general is also trying a strategy that has always failed with Trump – using facts and legal principles to break through his wall of lies and lies.

Some Trump allies have already floated another conspiracy theory — that the FBI planted documents in the former president’s residence.

Nearly two years after Trump lost the last election, the nation faces another grueling challenge to the rule of law from the twice-impeached former president.

Facts and truth are once again the first casualty.

This story has been updated with additional developments.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.