On Last Night's FBI Raid
A quick note and an appeal.
I am of the opinion that last night’s raid does not make us a “banana republic,” but that it probably was a mistake of the FBI.
The FBI has not exactly covered itself in glory in recent years. They have killed a lot of their trust among the American public with investigations leading nowhere, screwing up the Whitmer kidnapping investigation, etc. They have come across as very partisan, and the agents that have spoken publicly on the various scandals at the bureau (Peter Strzok, etc.) have most assuredly not helped.
It’s clear that, given the political rhetoric out there, the Department of Justice is feeling an immense amount of pressure to go after Donald Trump harder. That could have been one of the reasons they pulled the trigger on something like a major, estate-wide search over classified documents that the National Archives said they need.
Andrew McCarthy at National Review has probably the best breakdown of what the FBI said they were looking for versus what they were actually looking for.
The Justice Department is not ready to charge Trump for the riot. It lacks proof that he is criminally culpable for the violence. As for the non-violent potential crimes it is investigating — obstruction of Congress and conspiracy to defraud the government — these are based on disputed theories that Trump and his apologists could persuasively frame as a partisan weaponization of the Justice Department against the likely 2024 GOP nominee. Consequently, the DOJ does not want to suggest that Trump is the subject of a criminal investigation related to the Capitol riot. Nor does it want to be perceived as having told a court it has probable cause tying Trump to Capitol riot crimes.
Nevertheless, prosecutors investigating did want to search Trump’s premises for potential evidence of Capitol riot crimes. The former president’s apparent violations of government records and classified information laws gave the DOJ the pretext it needed.
I don’t believe this is just about the Presidential Records Act and the National Archives. Like McCarthy, I do think they were pulling something akin to the ol’ “in plain sight” trick you see law enforcement use in the movies and on TV. The problem isn’t whether or not Trump is innocent or guilty of anything. The problem is that an agency that has been seen as being partisan and political in its work of late has just raided the home of the previous president, who was the political opponent of the current president in the last election, and possibly the political opponent of the current president in the next election.
I think Trump is definitely running now. The FBI just made sure of it, and the base is now more motivated than ever to ensure he and the Republicans succeed. If there was an abortion bump, there will certainly be a Trump bump.
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