Reports: FBI Executes Search Warrant On Mar-A-Lago

Andrew Donaldson

Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire and his writing website Yonder and Home. Andrew is the host of Heard Tell podcast.

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20 Responses

  1. Philip H
    Ignored
    says:

    Couldn’t have happened to a bigger looser.Report

  2. Chip Daniels
    Ignored
    says:

    Refreshing that they found the political will to do what should have happened a long time ago, which is to treat him like any ordinary criminal.Report

  3. Marchmaine
    Ignored
    says:

    I have to assume that in the time honored tradition of the FBI, they will finally get their man on Tax Evasion.Report

  4. Kazzy
    Ignored
    says:

    If they find he has classified documents that he shouldn’t have, is that a pretty open-and-shut case?

    I’m sure whatever comes will be very very complicated but should it be?Report

    • Michael Cain in reply to Kazzy
      Ignored
      says:

      AIUI, the president can de-classify anything, whenever he chooses. If I’m remembering that correctly, he could walk out with anything he wanted before Biden took the oath. There may be people that he should have notified about the declassification, but that’s probably not a criminal offense.Report

      • DavidTC in reply to Michael Cain
        Ignored
        says:

        AIUI, the president can de-classify anything, whenever he chooses. If I’m remembering that correctly, he could walk out with anything he wanted before Biden took the oath.

        Mmm…that seems legally dubious to me. Not the part that he could walk out with it before Biden took office, that is true. But I’d like some evidence they can keep the stuff.

        There may be people that he should have notified about the declassification, but that’s probably not a criminal offense

        I am 100% sure the president just _having possession_ of something does not declassify it.

        Let’s imagine a hypothetical here. Let’s imagine a burglar with a security clearance. (I know it’s a weird hypothetical, but theoretically possible.) He breaks into Mar-A-Lago and steals the stuff Trump left there. Obviously, the burglary is a crime, but as he has also signed a security clearance, he is bound by classification laws, and cannot release the classified documents without committing an _additional_ crime…right?

        …so, that means it is still classified, right? It didn’t magically get declassified while sitting at Mar-a-Lago.

        The theory is that when the president _gives someone access to it_ who does not have access, the president are implicitly declassifying it, but that in turn means if they _don’t_ do that, it does not become declassified…

        …and they can only do that _while_ president. They can’t keep a document and do it later.

        I.e., I’m pretty certain if Trump had given access to anything that he’d collected as president, but while no longer president, that would be a crime?

        Now, the point I’m not actually sure about is if they can just _keep_ the stuff.Report

        • DavidTC in reply to DavidTC
          Ignored
          says:

          Oh, and as PopeHat said, the timing here is completely weird. If it’s truly about classified documents, that was actually widely reported years ago, it would be very odd to move on it _today_. It should have been moved on back then.

          ….I mean, unless the government _hypothetically_ just got some sort of explicit evidence of very specific crimes of Trump mishandling classified documents very very recently, but I can’t imagine how that would have happened.

          Maybe there was some sort of lawyer screwing up and sending the entire contents of some Trump-ist radio personality’s phone, the sort of public personality that Trump would have no problem with sending classified info to, to the opposing consul in a lawsuit, and that side handing it over to the Jan 6th committee, but that seems _really_ unlikely to have happened. Then again, I haven’t been paying attention to the news.Report

          • Philip H in reply to DavidTC
            Ignored
            says:

            So two things – both you and Popehat clearly missed the reporting about 4 Mo tha ago that a large cache of classified materials had been discovered missing from his papers as turned over to the national archives.

            And second you are correct that the president can’t just take something, say I’m the president and this is declassified. There’s still a process involving several alphabet agencies.Report

            • Marchmaine in reply to Philip H
              Ignored
              says:

              I sure hope it’s more than classified document mishandling. How much prison time did Sandy Berger serve?

              Sure, if the classified materials are the proverbial missing 18-minutes of the Jan 6 texts/records … then it isn’t the procedural issues but the substantive issue.

              Or, like, if he took the Declaration or Washington’s Farewell Address (the originals) or the Area 51 alien photos, or the JFK who dunnit real story… then sure… prison it is.

              Edit: Also… some folks are noticing that the only source for this (at the moment) is DJT himself. Now, that would be a funny troll.Report

            • DavidTC in reply to Philip H
              Ignored
              says:

              So two things – both you and Popehat clearly missed the reporting about 4 Mo tha ago that a large cache of classified materials had been discovered missing from his papers as turned over to the national archives.

              And if the government had any idea where they were, the time to issue a search warrant to look for them would have been four months ago.

              Search warrants are things you cannot wait around for, especially material that could easily be moved. You do not sit on them for four months.

              Something _just_ happened that caused the FBI to believe those documents were there.

              Was it Alex Jones? I obviously have no idea, it could be almost anything.

              But whatever it is, it happened very very recently.Report

              • Philip H in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                In her letter last night Heather Cox Richardson noted that investigators went there in June to ask about the documents. They executed their raid last night in parts of the estate that were different then what they were shown back then. Clearly they concluded he was hiding stuff.Report

              • Philip H in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                Tonight, chief White House correspondent for CNN Kaitlan Collins reported that in early June, investigators had gone to Mar-a-Lago to learn more about the materials Trump had taken when he left the White House. They asked to see where the documents were stored, and Trump’s lawyers took them to a basement room. The search warrant executed today included a safe in Trump’s office, and journalist Laura Rozen reported that agents suspected that Trump had taken and was holding other classified documents after he returned many of them.

                https://heathercoxrichardson.substack.com/p/august-8-2022Report

  5. Mike Schilling
    Ignored
    says:

    Christopher Wray, Democrat. Who knew?Report

  6. Chip Daniels
    Ignored
    says:

    I keep thinking about how we the citizens are reacting.
    With shock and disbelief that such a thing could happen, that law enforcement serve a search warrant on the home of a former President.

    Not shock that he may have committed crimes. No, pretty much everyone is already convinced he has. But the shock is that a VIP is being held to account and made to answer for their behavior.

    Its part of what I find troubling, that the appetite and zeal for a republican democracy is weak. The American people just passively accept the disparate justice given to the powerful versus the powerless, that open corruption is just accepted with maybe a shrug of cynical indifference, when it isn’t celebrated as savvy.

    A republican democracy starts with viewing our elected officials as servants, fellow citizens. And right now that attitude is not much in evidence.Report

  7. Mike Schilling
    Ignored
    says:

    I suspect no one remembers Don Siegelman. He was a Democratic governor of Alabama who was railroaded into prison on a trumped-up corruption charge and hauled off to prison immediately. Then the judge neglected to complete their paperwork, so he couldn’t appeal for years.

    That’s what banana republic justice looks like.Report

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