I re-read the heavily redacted affidavit exonerating the Mar-a-Lago search warrant several times because it’s my job. And because, even more directly than the warrant itself, it points to Donald J. Trump’s potential guilt of crimes against the Constitution, truth, democracy, national security, proper filing practices, and, well, good manners, not to mention other important American affairs. laws and ideals.
Incidentally, these other ideals and laws will include the overriding need to protect the identities of sources ranging from international spies to those with access to Mar-a-Lago who have clearly ratted (Trump’s favorite word) on the former president.
But one important piece of information I couldn’t find anywhere—even after listening too closely to what too many cable TV news experts had to say about the redacted lines—was that the FBI used Gestapo tactics when delivering the search warrant. . as a raid on Mar-a-Lago.
Crucially, the FBI has abandoned the gold-plated tribute to excess that is Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence/estate/resort, with boxes containing mishandled—okay, illegally confiscated—national secrets, not train schedules. to nearby death camps.
I say this because, of course, the Gestapo was a metaphor for Lauren Bobert, who went all in with “Gestapo crap” in a tweet, as well as for others who settled in the Trumpist sycophant camp. Here is Bobert video on twitter from the day of the search if you need another reminder of the embarrassment Boebert is causing in Colorado.
(Note: if Bobert wants to check the “shit” that the Gestapo and other Nazis did during World War II, here’s a review from the National Holocaust Memorial Museum. Never forgetting is one thing. I guess in Bobert’s situation, it’s never a question anymore. dont know.)
What was done under oath was completely in line with what the judge wanted – to redact anything that could harm those involved in future, present and past investigations, and, yes, could harm ongoing investigations themselves. But also to let people know that the FBI raid was not a Justice Department weapon, but just one grudging step in a long line of Trump’s refusals to comply with the law.
It emerged that Trump’s defenders, with a few notable exceptions, were unusually quiet once the affidavits were made public. It looks like the Nazis wouldn’t brag about that raid, which of course doesn’t mean we’ve heard the latest Gestapo comparisons. Actually, I’m sure not.
You have to read the affidavit – here’s a nice CNN synopsis – to understand how the National Archives, and later the FBI, went out of their way to give Trump and his lawyers more than enough opportunity to get back the materials he kept in all the rooms. over a private residence. If Trump had simply handed over the documents, we probably would not even have known about the existence of the problem. You remember Trump announced the raid on Mar-a-Lago, another oversight by Trump and his team of mostly third-rate lawyers hired because most lawyers refuse to work for him anymore, not just because he rarely pays. by accounts.
The search warrant was a last resort, even as Trump continued to insist that the items he left behind after returning 15 boxes in January were “mine.” I mean what would you do in this situation? What to do when one of the lawyers says that there are no more secret documents in Mar-a-Lago, when sources – supposedly with access to Mar-a-Lago – tell the FBI that there are many secret documents left.
Want to get early access to Mike’s columns? Click here to become a premium member of The Sun.
Of the January search of the crates, which took the FBI and the National Archives months of negotiation, 25 were marked “top secret,” 92 “secret,” and 67 “confidential.” There were special access program files that we were told were secret programs that are, well, special, that is, critical. Many documents were not only mishandled, but were mislabeled and mismixed with things that weren’t vital at all, like newspaper clippings—not that I neglected newspaper clippings. I myself have boxes with them, although there are no classified materials next to them.
There are questions, of course. What are Attorney General Merrick Garland and the Justice Department doing? The warrant, after all, suggested the possible crimes of Trump and possibly others.
From the affidavit: “There are also probable grounds for believing that evidence of obstruction will be found.”
And more: “There are probable grounds for believing that evidence, contraband, the fruits of a crime, or other items in illegal possession will be found in the PREMISES.”
▶︎ Learn more about Mike Littwin’s columns.
And further: “there is plausible reason to believe that additional documents that contain classified NDIs or that are presidential records that are subject to record retention requirements currently remain on the PREMISES.”
No, I don’t know why the ROOMS are in capital letters, unless it was to use language that Trump could understand.
Former Republican Congressman and former CIA operative Will Hurd explains in tweet thread: “You don’t keep
- NOFORN (Information we don’t share even with our allies)
- SIGINT (the most complex and expensive information to obtain)
- HCS (information obtained from human sources)
- documents next to press clippings and random office files. (3/4)”
There are many questions left to answer beyond what we could learn without editing. Perhaps that is why Trump needs these documents at all. And yes, I have many correspondents who insist that he took them to sell or use as leverage in some way. Trump is a scammer and anything is possible, but selling such documents will most certainly result in jail time. He will definitely get caught.
An even more important question is whether the new documents and all the evidence the committee collected on January 6 will lead to an indictment of Trump by the Justice Department. I guess it could. I am not yet ready to even guess whether it will be. Garland is known to be extremely cautious, and bringing charges against a former president who apparently plans to run again is not how democracies usually operate. In the United States, we have a history of doing things differently, thanks in part to Gerald Ford’s universal pardon of Nixon after leaving office.
Blaming Trump could very well lead to civil unrest, targeted killings, and other nasty things. Dropping Trump’s accusation, if there is sufficient evidence, could very well lead Trump to crown a life lived on the edge of a precipice without even paying a price. It could also be a roadmap for any other Trumpists or just regular demagogues who might ever get the top job. And there’s a great chance that in America it would be hard to find a jury of 12 without a Trump aide or three or four to convict Trump.
And here’s another thing: if Trump really does run in 2024 with all the baggage and not just the boxes he’s carrying around with him, wouldn’t people have a chance to reject him even more forcefully than they did in 2020, with a Lebowski-style message. that this aggression will not stand, dude?
Of course, if Trump does lose, he will obviously again claim that the election was rigged and now he has a plethora of MAGA deniers running for key positions that could make us wait a long time for the time when we managed to get by with one- the day the Capitol was stormed and a bunch of rejected fake electors.
Recently, a regular reader/critic reminded me of an op-ed I wrote shortly after the 2020 election that suggested that we should try to beat Trump now that he lost big to Joe Biden. It turns out I was naive, too naive.
Whatever the various investigations now looming on Trump turn out to be, whatever the 2024 elections turn out to be, the only thing we can now be sure of is that Trump or his shadow will never leave us alone.
Mike Littwin has been a columnist for too many years to count. He covered Dr. J., four presidential inaugurations, six national conventions, and countless mind-numbing speeches in the snows of New Hampshire and Iowa.
The Colorado Sun is an unbiased news organization and the opinions of columnists and editorialists do not represent those of the news department. Read our ethics policy to learn more about The Sun’s public opinion policy. and submit columns, suggest writers, or leave feedback at [email protected]