Thursday, Jun 20, 2024

Bombshell Revelations About Mar-a-Lago Raid Undermine Government Case against Trump

 

Explosive new material concerning the FBI raid on Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence in August 2022 could significantly influence the outcome of the Department of Justice’s “classified records” case against the former president, legal experts say.

The DOJ case, which includes 40 felony charges against Trump for allegedly “mishandling” presidential records, was originally scheduled to be heard on May 20, but has been indefinitely postponed by presiding Florida Judge Aileen Cannon.

Trump has pleaded not guilty to the charges, denied all wrongdoing and slammed the prosecution as an “Election Inference Scam promoted by the Biden administration and [Special Counsel] Jack Smith.”

Potentially game-changing documents have surfaced in the past week that may impact the case in wholly unexpected ways, reports Fox News. Some of these were discovered among hundreds of documents that were unsealed by Judge Cannon.

One of the unsealed documents turned out to be the Operation Order from the Department of Justice to FBI agents who were sent to raid Trump’s estate, authorizing the use of “deadly force” if necessary.

Agents were instructed to carry “weapons, ammo, handcuffs, and medium and large sized bolt cutters” and to dress in “polo shirts” so as to hide their identity and the law enforcement equipment they carried.

They were told to “be prepared to engage with” both the former president and his Secret Service detail if he had returned to Mar-a-Lago while they were still on the property.

The shocking order also called for arranging a medical expert to be on site and provided details about the nearest trauma center, in case anyone involved was “injured” during the raid.

 

Obama’s Secretive Program

The bombshell disclosures that surfaced last week also include the existence of a secretive program created by the Obama Administration — and used throughout the Trump and Biden Administrations — that indicates the government may have already possessed originals of the “classified documents” at the heart of the case against President Trump,” the Fox News article said.

This raises serious questions about the pretext for the raid which was ostensibly to secure a complete set of presidential records for the National Archives and Records Agency.

The Obama program, called Presidential Information Technology Committee (PITC), was obtained by America First Legal through litigation against the U.S. Department of Defense.

“In October 2014, Russian hackers breached the network of the Executive Office of the President,” AFL explained in a press release. “In response, then President Obama created, via executive action, PITC, which is staffed by members of the DOD and Homeland Security.”

PITC effectively establishes that the President of the United States controls all the information he receives through the PITC network.

The executive action was made public at the time. However, AFL said it obtained a never-before-seen memo confirming the DOD has for years been “operating and maintaining the information resources and information systems provided to the President, Vice President, and Executive Office of the President.”

 

DOD Compelled to Release Confidential Memo

America First Legal obtained the memo through a FOIA request to the Dept. of Defense, followed up by a lawsuit when the DOD failed to respond. A judge ordered the immediate release of the documents the AFL had requested regarding the PITC created by former President Obama.

The PITC memo, released this month, reveals that “the White House secretly created and apparently maintains an information technology community that enforced Obama’s executive order to ensure that presidents could store their records on DOD servers without losing control,” the AFL press release stated.

Section 2.04 of the PITC memo established that all “records created, stored, used, or transmitted by, on, or through the information resources and information systems provided to the President” are stored at DOD.

What this means is that the federal government, through several administrations, beginning with that of Barack Obama, has preserved and retained on its servers all records from the Executive Office of the President.

“Consistent with Obama’s order, it likely possesses a substantial amount, if not all, of President Trump’s classified documents,” AFL asserted in a statement.

National Archives’ insistence that Trump turn over the records appeared to be grounded in the agency’s task of preserving “a complete set of Presidential records,” as outlined in its Feb. 7, 2022 letter to Trump’s representatives.

But if the government already had access to the documents through the Obama-era program, the documents in question would ostensibly already be preserved, eliminating the need for a raid on Trump’s residence.

“Any Congressional committee with subpoena power can now determine whether the documents that Special Counsel Jack Smith claimed Trump unlawfully retained after his presidency are actually in Biden’s active possession through PITC,” an AFL representative asserted.

 

PITC Collapses Raid’s Justification

“This revelation cuts a knife through the entire indictment as it proves that many, if not all, of the documents President Trump is accused of unlawfully retaining were and are currently still retained by the Executive Branch and stored on DOD servers,” AFL said in a statement.

“Further, because of the PITC memo’s aggressive posture that all records the President receives are subject to his control, President Trump had a clear basis for believing he had the authority to possess copies of records stored at the DOD,” the AFL statement said.

It would, therefore, be impossible for Trump to have retained records “without authorization” as the Jack Smith indictment suggests.

In addition, the secret document uncovered by AFL torpedoes all grounds for armed agents to raid President Trump’s personal residence. The Special Counsel should have first determined what relevant records existed on the DOD systems.

“The failure to do so, as the Biden administration clearly knew and enforced PITC,” argued AFL, “smacks of politicization and dangerous government overreach.”

“What America First Legal has uncovered after months of investigative work paints an unfortunate picture of the rule of law in Washington,” America First Legal Vice President Dan Epstein said.

A former President of the United States — the most democratically accountable officer under our Constitution — was subject to a politicized referral concocted by the Biden White House that led to an armed FBI raid of his home — where his wife and youngest child live — and is now subject to prosecution.”

“These explosive findings demand immediate action,” the AFL spokesman said.

 

Green Light to Use Deadly Force

As mentioned above, among the documents unsealed by Judge Cannon is a DOJ Operations Order that gave the green light to law enforcement to use “deadly force” if necessary, during the raid to seize allegedly classified information and US Government records.

The revelations drew outrage from Conservatives and Trump supporters who decried the storming of Trump’s home and the exhaustive raid on the entire 58-room complex, including the bedrooms of his wife and son.

“Americans of all political leanings should be outraged, and frankly shaken to the bone, by the latest details concerning the FBI’s raid of Mar-a-Lago,” Heritage Foundation President Kevin Roberts said.  “President Biden’s Attorney General gave the FBI the green light to use deadly force in storming the home of a former and potential future president without advance notice and without regard to who might have been in the residence.

The FBI issued a statement saying the above contingencies were “boilerplate” and in accordance with Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). “No one ordered additional steps to be taken and there was no departure from the norm in this matter,” the FBI said in a statement.

Former Secret Service Agent Dan Bongino challenged this assertion in a post quoted by the Daily Wire.

“The fact that the raid took place on the home of a former president made it anything but standard,” the former agent wrote. “It potentially pitted two federal agencies with equal and competing authorities against each other: the FBI/DOJ who were charged with executing the search warrant and the Secret Service, charged with protecting the former president.”

“This is absolutely a big deal, Bongino asserted. “It was not a standard op. The raid was an unprecedented action with significant potential for confusion and [violent] conflict between competing federal agencies, each of which has equal authority to interrupt the other’s activities. Anyone telling you otherwise is either dumb, or playing dumb.”

 

‘A Siege by Land, Sea and Air’

According to a motion filed in February by the former president’s lawyers and made public just last week, the search was “unconstitutional” and “illegal,” and there was no reason for agents to bring weapons to Mar-a-Lago.

“There were no threats and no risk to agents’ safety… at premises already guarded by the Secret Service,” the lawyers asserted.

The FBI affidavit filed in justification of the raid “was tainted by misrepresentations” defense attorneys said.

“How upsetting is that, especially to all the great men and women in the Secret Service who were in Mar-a-Lago,” former Florida attorney general Pam Bondie said in an appearance on Fox News. “I’ve been part of executing multiple search warrants, and nothing about this was standard. It was a siege of Mar-a-Lago by land, by sea, by air.”

“We’ve heard now that they even had medics and EMS there, in case there could have been a shootout, Bondie said. “Nothing about this was standard. What you do is you coordinate with other federal agencies before you execute a search warrant like that.”

The former state attorney general’s criticism was mirrored in comments by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who read through the unsealed document referencing the Operation Order on his podcast last week. When he came to the statement that Secret Service agents at Mar-a-Lago might potentially “provide resistance or interfere with the FBI timeline or access,” he paused in apparent disbelief.

“So, the government is anticipating Secret Service may actively resist the FBI, and they’re prepared to engage with an order that explicitly authorizes deadly force?” the Senator repeated. “Like, what on earth–?”

 

Presidential Prerogative

The raid could be deemed unlawful if, as seems more likely than not, the Supreme Court decides the president of the United States is entitled to immunity for his official actions,” a Washington Times op-ed pointed out.

“As chief executive, Mr. Trump exercised the ultimate authority to bring home any paper he wanted — regardless of what the bureaucrats at the National Archives or Department of Justice might think.”

The former president had exclusive authority under the Presidential Records Act to declare certain executive branch records personal, and he could keep copies of anything he wanted, the article elaborated. “The agents had neither the authority nor the ability to distinguish an original from a copy. They had no legal basis for questioning Mr. Trump’s designation of a record as personal.”

The author noted the contrast between the way the raid on Mara-a-Lago was executed, and how the search for classified documents in President Biden’s residence was carried out. Going further back in time to classified material retained by former president Bill Clinton, the differences in how the search for presidential documents was conducted is indeed striking.

“When Bill Clinton stuffed classified material into his sock drawer as president, no SWAT team was dispatched to retrieve it. When Mr. Biden’s secret stash was found in a box in his garage, the issue was resolved quietly,” the Washington Times op-ed noted.

The Constitution plainly states that a warrant must describe in specific detail the place to be searched, the article noted, and the search warrant asked for authorization to search only storage rooms.

“Yet the search warrant itself allowed the FBI agents to grab every box and piece of paper in the sprawling estate — even though the entire dispute centers on a handful of document boxes,” the article stressed. “That should have limited the scope of the raid, yet Mr. Biden’s agents were given free rein to rummage through the 58-room complex, including the room belonging to Mr. Trump’s teenage son, and that of his wife.”

“They scooped up things that were obviously personal, including Mr. Trump’s passport, medical documents, tax documents and accounting information that had nothing to do with national security,” the article detailed.

“That alone casts serious doubt on the motivation of those behind in the assault. No thought was given to the lasting damage to the country by doing what has never been done to a former president in our 235-year history.”

Prosecutors Petition Judge to Prevent Trump from Condemning Raid

U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon spent nearly five hours last week listening to motions from the prosecution defending the legality of the raid, and from the defense pushing back against those arguments and asking that the case be dismissed. [The defense motion was denied.]

Prosecutors said the search warrant was obtained after their investigations yielded surveillance footage showing alleged efforts by a member of Trump’s team to conceal some of the classified documents at the heart of the case.

The prosecutors said they “had planned to coordinate with Trump’s attorney, Secret Service agents and Mar-a-Lago staff before and during the execution of the warrant,” but offered no explanation for why they failed to implement these plans.

During the hearing, prosecutors also petitioned the judge to bar Trump from making “inflammatory” public allegations that the raid was aimed at “taking him out.”

Trump had posted his outraged response to the newly disclosed Operation Order authorizing the use of “deadly force” during the raid. The agents invading his home were “authorized to shoot me” and were “locked and loaded ready to take me out and put my family in danger,” Trump had posted.

Prosecutors denied the allegations and claimed that these comments could incite Trump supporters to violently target law enforcement. Defense lawyers objected to the DOJ’s motion to silence the former president, slamming it as a pretext aimed at burying the facts.

Judge Aileen Cannon has not yet issued a decision on the prosecutors’ motion, nor has she set a new date for the “classified documents” trial, after cancelling the May 20 date.

In a written order issued last Tuesday, Cannon said there are “too many outstanding pre-trial motions” and “classified information” issues that need to be resolved before the case can be presented to a jury, and therefore, a trial date cannot yet be finalized.

It is unlikely at this point that the classified documents trial will start before the November election, a fact that has sparked frustration among those who anticipated the trial would eliminate Trump as an presidential candidate.

The delay has galvanized Biden supporters and the mainstream media to attack Judge Cannon in a series of hit pieces in the New York Times, MSNBC, HuffPost, Washington Post and others. The articles and op-eds castigated the judge for a host of “bad decisions” allegedly aimed at “favoring Donald Trump,” with some critics even demanding she be removed from the case.

****

White House Won’t Release Recordings of Pres. Biden Being Grilled Over Possession of Classified Docs

Trump’s classified documents case has also opened the doors to investigations regarding classified documents in the possession of President Biden, a Fox News article observed.

Special Counsel Robert Hur announced in February that he would not recommend criminal charges against Biden for possessing classified materials (after his vice presidency), explaining that the president is “a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.”

“Based on our direct interactions with and observations of him, it would be difficult to convince a jury that they should convict him of a serious felony that requires a mental state of willfulness,” Hur wrote in his report.

The findings triggered outrage and disbelief that Biden was effectively deemed too cognitively compromised to be charged with a crime but could still serve as president.

Trump slammed the disparity in treatment as a reflection of a “corrupt, two-tiered system of justice in our country.”

Compounding the sense of double standards, the White House refused to release the 5-hour video recordings of Robert Hur grilling Biden, in response to a subpoena earlier this month by the House Oversight Committee. Officials asserted “executive privilege” in rejecting the subpoena.

“The House Oversight Committee requires these recordings as part of our investigation of President Biden’s mishandling of classified documents,” Republican House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer, R-Ky. told Fox News Digital.

“Clearly President Biden and his advisers fear releasing the audio recordings of his interview because it will again reaffirm to the American people that President Biden’s mental state is in decline,” noted Comer.

He derided the use of “executive privilege” over the recordings, noting the White House has already waived privilege by releasing a transcript of the interview.

He said the House Oversight Committee will move forward with its resolution recommending to the House that “Attorney General Garland be held in contempt of Congress for defying a lawful subpoena.”

 

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