There has been an amazing amount written both for and against the legal maneuvering over the Mar-A-Lago raid. It seems to me that the relevant facts have been exposed for the public to see, at least for the most part. Many Democrats seem to think Trump was doing something (who cares what?) illegal with the records he kept, and he is therefore guilty of the highest and best charges the government can bring. Trump supporters, on the other hand, see this move as a continuation of the sort of quasi-legal harassment of Trump. You can probably guess my position!
The first question that comes to mind is why was this raid even necessary? President Trump is hardly the first president to get into an argument with an archivist. The pitched battles have been fought between the bureaucracy and former presidents almost from the beginning of the nation. The federal judge in a 2012 case ultimately ruled that it is solely in the discretion of the president about which records are “presidential” or “personal,” and the National Archives have no legal authority to demand or seize control of records deemed “personal.” This was in reference to tapes Bill Clinton had that the government was claiming were theirs. Under that ruling, if Trump says they are personal records, they are personal records.
But let’s get back to why the raid. The archivist who is nothing more than a person that holds and catalogues presidential records, has no authority to “demand” anything. This position is one of taking care of records presented for safe keeping. So just because the archivist gets all upset over this or that piece of paper doesn’t mean there is a federal case to be made…literally - unless, of course, one has ulterior motives for snooping around Trump’s house and hoping to get lucky and find some sign of criminal activity.
And there are other possibilities. For one, how many of us have seen copies of all those records President Trump declassified? He was said to have declassified the “Fast and Furious” scandal records over running guns into Mexico. Many folks insist that Trump had copies of those records and perhaps all the others he declassified as well. Was the raid designed to retrieve those records to keep them from the prying eyes of the public? After all, Trump can declassify them all he likes. If they are not copied and handed out to the public, are they even declassified in the proper sense of the word?
Others believe the feds went in to snoop around and try to find something, anything that would be damning to the president. It certainly would seem that way when they searched the home for nine hours! And the fact they went rummaging through Melania’s closet as well as Baron’s room (Trump’s 16-year-old son) would seem to indicate they were on an all-out search. From what President Trump said, they left the house in a mess. I would certainly like to see before and after pics.
Finally, how bad does all their differing explanations look? First after the raid, they floated the “nuclear codes” justification. Then, top officials said the raid was a routine matter. and no higher-ups were involved. Then, the would-be Supreme Court Justice Garland comes out and admits that he personally approved the raid but seems to indicate the White House was not involved. And finally (for now), the evidence shows that President Biden’s lawyers were totally involved in preparing the way for the claims that led to the raid. Apparently, President Biden “revoked” President Trump’s claim of executive privilege. Does that mean when Trump gets back in the White House in 2024, he can publish all of Biden’s secrets? Finally, will we get a look at the laptop from hell? Until next week…
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