Stasi, the most feared institution of the East German Communist government….
Let’s start with what should be one of the most dangerous lawyers in Washington DC shall we?
The media is missing the really, really big reason why the raid today is a potential blockbuster in American politics.👇 pic.twitter.com/3BdI9NA9Az
— Marc E. Elias (@marceelias) August 9, 2022
Now that we have established that, it is important to understand his role in all things against not on Trump but supporters and conservatives. One cannot overlook the fact that the FBI lied on several applications and warrant details at the FISA Court on all items of the #RussiaHoax. Lying has become a political disease inside the Beltway.
As a primer, not one person in media is noting how president Obama and vice-president Biden took their own selective documents and have sequestered them for the presidential library and warehoused at University of Delaware, respectively. Neither allows any public access.
After all the commentary from the consequences of the FBI Washington DC Field Office performing the raid at Mar A Lago allegedly over a National Archives causal referral to the Department of Justice, The Daily Mail appears to have the best detailed summary for context.
Based on the Presidential Records Act which was enacted after the Watergate scandal, considering the following details by The Daily Mail:
FBI agents who raided Donald Trump‘s Florida estate have been in discussions since June with his legal team about a trove of presidential documents on the property, it emerged on Monday night, as speculation continued to swirl about what exactly they were looking for.
The raid was carried out on Monday, and confirmed by Trump himself. The White House is believed to have learnt of the raid when the rest of the world did, and was not informed in advance.
In February it emerged that Trump had taken classified documents out of the White House when he left in January 2021, and some of those were handed over to the National Archives.
Monday’s raid is thought likely to be related to the remaining boxes of documents, although it remained unclear why the FBI decided to raid the estate.
Trump himself was in New York City at the time, and was pictured on Monday evening leaving Trump Tower in Manhattan.
CNN reported on Monday evening that investigators were at Mar-a-Lago on June 8, meeting Trump’s lawyers to discuss the documents.
Trump was not questioned, the network reported, but stopped by and greeted the investigators and his two attorneys.
The two attorneys then took the investigators to a basement room and showed them where the documents were stored.
Five days later, Trump’s attorneys received a letter asking them to enhance the security on the store room, and a padlock was then placed on the door.
It’s unclear why the FBI then decided to raid the property.
‘Something has happened and they are no longer confident that those records are safe,’ said Shawn Wu, a former federal prosecutor.
News of the raid came after photos were published showing shredded documents stuffed down a toilet.
Maggie Haberman, New York Times correspondent, first mentioned the reports of the destroyed documents in February, but on Monday she tweeted photos.
Trump himself denied destroying documents and flushing them down the toilet.
The raid comes as Donald Trump is considering another bid for the presidency and his actions after the 2020 election, where he tried to invalidate Joe Biden’s victory, are under investigation by lawmakers on Capitol Hill.
It began on Monday morning and took several hours.
It is highly unusual for a federal raid to take place at the residence of a former commander in chief.
‘These are dark times for our Nation, as my beautiful home, Mar-A-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, is currently under siege, raided, and occupied by a large group of FBI agents,’ said Trump on Monday night.
‘Nothing like this has ever happened to a President of the United States before.
‘After working and cooperating with the relevant Government agencies, this unannounced raid on my home was not necessary or appropriate.’
Trump, in his lengthy statement condemning the raid, called it ‘prosecutorial misconduct, the weaponization of the Justice System, and an attack by Radical Left Democrats who desperately don’t want me to run for President in 2024, especially based on recent polls, and who will likewise do anything to stop Republicans and Conservatives in the upcoming Midterm Elections.’
The Justice Department would not say whether Attorney General Merrick Garland had personally authorized the search, but it is considered highly unlikely a raid on a former president would take place without the AG giving it the stamp of approval.
The FBI gave US Secret Service agents at Mar-a-Lago advance notice and they cooperated letting them into the property, NBC News reported.
The Secret Service agents did not take part in the investigation or search.
This meant the FBI did not have to break into the property or break down any doors.
A search warrant does not suggest that criminal charges are near or even expected, but it would have to be court authorized.
In February, it first emerged that Trump took classified documents out of the White House and to his Mar-a-Lago resort – including some labeled ‘top secret.’
Congress opened up an investigation into Trump’s handling of White House records after he denied that he flushed official documents down the toilet and insisted he handed over boxes to the National Archives willingly.
‘Also, another fake story, that I flushed papers and documents down a White House toilet, is categorically untrue and simply made up by a reporter in order to get publicity for a mostly fictitious book,’ he wrote in a statement.
National Archives officials earlier this year recovered 15 boxes of White House materials from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence – in apparent contravention of the federal records acts – and reports emerged in February that the former president would often rip official documents and send others to be incinerated at the Pentagon.
Trump insisted that the transfer of boxes to the National Archives and Records Administration was done ‘openly and willingly’.
In response to the seizure of materials, the House Oversight and Reform Committee opened a probe into Trump’s improperly removing or destroying White House documents.
‘Removing or concealing government records is a criminal offense punishable by up to three years in prison,’ the congressional letter to NARA Archivist David Ferriero notes.
Trump also dismissed the probe, claiming: ‘The media’s characterization of my relationship with NARA is Fake News. It was exactly the opposite! It was a great honor to work with NARA to help formally preserve the Trump Legacy.’
In her forthcoming book Confidence Man, New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman claims that White House staff found wads of printed paper clogging a toilet and believed Trump was the culprit, according to an Axios report.
‘As I was reporting out this book, I learned that staff in White House residence would periodically find the toilet clogged,’ she said.
‘The engineer would have to come and fix it.
‘And what the engineer would find would be wads of clumped up wet, printed paper – meaning it was not toilet paper.
‘It was either notes or some other piece of paper that they believe he had thrown down the toilet.’
She did not speculate further on what was on the papers – claiming it could even just be post-it notes to himself.
During his presidency, Trump often raised eyebrows when he would lament on water pressure in Washington, D.C. claiming his administration was looking into relaxing water-saving regulations for toilets, sinks and showers.
‘People are flushing toilets 10 times, 15 times as opposed to once. They end up using more water,” Trump said while talking with business owners in December 2019.
‘The EPA is looking at that very strongly at my suggestion.’
Trump would repeat at rallies that people end up using more water by flushing multiple times or showering for longer than usual.
The former president pointed in his statement to the hypocrisy of the investigation into his handling of documents and keeping of mementos, questioning why his rival Hillary Clinton wasn’t forced to hand over her 32,000 emails.
‘I have been told I was under no obligation to give this material based on various legal rulings that have been made over the years,’ Trump said.
‘Crooked Hillary Clinton, as an example, deleted and acid washed 32,000 emails and never gave that to the government,’ he added.
‘Then, they took large amounts of furniture out of the White House. And Bill Clinton kept numerous audio recordings that the archives wanted, but were unsuccessful at getting after going to court.
‘We won’t even mention what is going on with the White House in the current, or various past administrations.
‘In the United States there has unfortunately become two legal standards, one for Republicans and one for Democrats. It should not be that way!’
The National Archives and Records Administration has asked the Justice Department to look into the former president’s removal of White House records as he left office – opening up a new area of potential legal exposure for Trump.
Charging a former president with violating the Presidential Records Act if any misconduct were ever established would be new territory, and Trump has already survived two impeachments while fighting off probes of his business in Manhattan and contending facing an election probe in Georgia.
The House January 6th Committee’s probe, which recently received a trove of Trump White House records, has also brought to light Trump’s penchant for tearing up documents while in office.
Archival officials have been required to tape together documents in an effort to preserve materials that under law are the property of the U.S. government, not the president who creates or receives them.
The House Oversight panel, chaired by New York Rep. Carolyn Maloney, is asking NARA to provide clarification on what it found in the 15 boxes it seized from Trump in Mar-a-Lago.
‘Please provide a detailed description of the contents of the recovered boxes,’ one of the points insists in the letter to Ferriero.
Another asks: ‘Is NARA aware of presidential records that President Trump destroyed or attempted to destroy without the approval of NARA?’
‘If so, please provide a detailed description of such records, the actions taken by President Trump to destroy or attempt to destroy them, and any actions NARA has taken to recover or preserve these documents.’
The government watchdog group Citizens for Responsible Ethics in Washington and the National Security Archive called for the DOJ to investigate, saying Trump ‘likely violated criminal laws barring the destruction of government records.
‘Donald Trump’s repeated and apparently willful destruction of his presidential records threatens to deny the American people a full historical record of his presidency and an opportunity to hold him and his administration fully accountable for their actions while in power,’ said CREW President Noah Bookbinder.
‘There is no excuse for hiding important information from the public. The Department of Justice must act to investigate and to hold Trump accountable for his reckless behavior ‘
Among the items items the National Archives retrieved from Mar-a-Lago is the infamous hurricane map that the president allegedly scrawled on with a Sharpie pen to expand its possible path.
Another keepsake that a source told the Post had been removed was a mini replica of Air Force One that Trump proudly displayed in the Oval Office, after involving himself in details of a redesign all the way down to a paint job.
A former aide said Trump displayed at Mar-a-Lago a ‘mini replica of one of the black border-wall slats’ that Trump helped design for his border wall.
The trove of information Trump failed to hand over when he left the White House in January, 2021 includes his ‘love letters’ with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un.
It also included original versions of the letter former President Obama left for Trump in the top drawer of the Resolute Desk, where he told his successor: ‘We are just temporary occupants of this office.
‘That makes us guardians of those democratic institutions and traditions – like rule of law, separation of powers, equal protection and civil liberties.’
Federal record-keeping laws establish jail time and possible forfeiture of office for those convicted of serious crimes.
Congress enacted the Presidential Record Act after Watergate, and after Congress stepped in and ‘seizing Richard Nixon’s papers as if they were in a crime scene,’ said Dr Timothy Naftali, former head of the Nixon Library.
The New York University professor told DailyMail.com that record-keeping laws are not just designed to help historians and researchers, but to constrain behavior.
‘And it’s the knowledge, I would think, that people with power have that in the future we will know what they did, which has a I think useful and healthy constraining effect on them. That there will ultimately be accountability,’ he said.
‘They also understand that the actions that they might take for an authoritarian president could hurt them in the future that is healthy for constitutional republic.’
The retrieval follows reports the National Archives had to tape Trump documents back together after he ripped them office, routinely destroyed documents and had files put in ‘burn bags’ and sent to the Pentagon to be incinerated.
The president also often had White House staffer put documents in ‘burn bags’ to be destroyed via incineration at the Pentagon rather than preserved, a senior Trump White House official told the Washington Post.
So-called burn bags look similar to a paper grocery bag and are widely available throughout the White House complex, as well as at organizations who deal with top-secret information like the CIA and NSA.
Burn bags are a superior alternative to shredding.
The New York Times reported that the trove of information includes the infamous map, which was printed on a poster to show the storm track of Hurricane Dorian in 2019 during a live televised briefing.
Trump had tweeted earlier that ‘in addition to Florida — South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama, will most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated.’
The black lines hastily added to the map appeared to justify Trump’s statement, even though Alabama’s national weather office had contradicted Trump’s claim by writing: ‘Alabama will NOT see any impacts from #Dorian.’ Trump said afterwards that under projections, Alabama was going to be hit ‘very hard.’
‘The Presidential Records Act mandates that all Presidential records must be properly preserved by each Administration so that a complete set of Presidential records is transferred to the National Archives at the end of the Administration,’ Archivist David S. Ferriero said in the statement.
He said the agency ‘pursues the return of records whenever we learn that records have been improperly removed or have not been appropriately transferred to official accounts.’
He called the records act ‘critical to our democracy,’ and defended its purpose, without rebuking Trump directly.
Ferriero further stressed the importance of adherence to the PRA by all Presidents.
‘Whether through the creation of adequate and proper documentation, sound records management practices, the preservation of records, or the timely transfer of them to the National Archives at the end of an Administration, there should be no question as to need for both diligence and vigilance. Records matter,’ he concluded.
House Oversight Committee Chair Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) said she plans to ‘fully investigate’ the matter to make sure the records are with the Archives, ‘rather than stashed away in Trump’s golf resorts.’
The Washington Post, which broke the story of the transfer, reported that Trump’s records stash also included unidentified ‘gifts.’
The post-Watergate records statute resulted in a section of the U.S. Code on concealment or mutilation of documents.
It states that: ‘Whoever willfully and unlawfully conceals, removes, mutilates, obliterates, or destroys, or attempts to do so, or, with intent to do so takes and carries away any record, proceeding, map, book, paper, document, or other thing, filed or deposited with any clerk or officer of any court of the United States, or in any public office, or with any judicial or public officer of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.’
It continues: ‘Whoever, having the custody of any such record, proceeding, map, book, document, paper, or other thing, willfully and unlawfully conceals, removes, mutilates, obliterates, falsifies, or destroys the same, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both; and shall forfeit his office and be disqualified from holding any office under the United States. As used in this subsection, the term ‘office’ does not include the office held by any person as a retired officer of the Armed Forces of the United States.’
The 15 boxes of information included letters from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that had been improperly removed by the ex commander-in-chief.
Under the Presidential Records Act, memos, notes, letters, emails, faxes and other written correspondence related to the president’s official duties must be handed to the National Archives for preservation.