Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Behind the "Trump Raid" Headlines [UPDATED]

I interrupt my blog silence due only to the looming crisis sparked by the Department of Justice's August 5 decision to obtain a search warrant for Mar-a-Lago, the Florida home of ex-President Donald J. Trump. After some hours of research on the Internet, I have found what I believe is the most likely explanation for this unprecedented move -- by a current administration against a person who is not only its immediate predecessor, but who is also its most likely opponent in the next presidential election. The explanation requires the reader to piece together certain details from a number of isolated stories. Let's begin:

1. We know that days before his term ended, President Donald Trump had decided to declassify and release all of the documents his security assistants had uncovered and assembled that documented the infamous "Russia election interference hoax" which had hounded Trump's campaign and first term in office.

2. We know also that there was a last-minute plea from the FBI objecting to the declassification of the documents, and that Trump acceded to the FBI's demand to make last-minute redactions to some of them:

“I have determined to accept the redactions proposed for continued classification by the FBI in that January 17 submission,” Trump said in his memo. “I hereby declassify the remaining materials in the binder. This is my final determination under the declassification review and I have directed the Attorney General to implement the redactions proposed in the FBI’s January 17 submission and return to the White House an appropriately redacted copy.”

3. But we know further that the FBI and the DOJ had long planned to delay redacting the documents until after Trump left office on January 20, so that they would not be released beforehand.

4. Moreover, we learned later that Trump's own White House counsel's office had not completed marking down the documents Trump had ordered declassified before January 20, so that when Trump took the helicopter just after noon on that day, the documents were still with his counsel's office, and still had the "Classified" markings on them.

5. Nevertheless, by February 2022, at least fifteen boxes of documents from the White House had made it to Mar-a-Lago, and after some reasonably calm discussions, Trump agreed to let the National Archives and Record Administration take them for its permanent records, according to this story at the time.

6. Even though the boxes contained what were described as mostly "mementos, gifts, letters from world leaders and other correspondence," officials at the National Archives complained later that they also contained documents marked "classified national security information", and so they referred what they regarded as the unlawful possession of classified materials to the DOJ for further investigation.

7. According to this timeline, "senior DOJ officials" met at Mar-a-Lago with Trump's attorneys in May and in June 2022 to discuss Trump's alleged possession of, and possible further withholding of, classified materials "unlawfully" removed from the White House.  Trump stopped by at one point to say hello, and the officials were allowed to look through boxes containing the documents, but apparently no further documents were returned to the National Archives as a result of the discussions.

8. After negotiations apparently broke down, the DOJ / FBI applied for a search warrant on August 5, as stated above. Even though this matter involved a former President and possible future candidate, the DOJ did not make its application to a sitting federal judge in Florida, but went to a lowly U.S. Magistrate on duty (such officials are not appointed by the President with the consent of the Senate under Article III of the Constitution, but are creatures of Congress under Article I, appointed by the Article III judges who are above them). And that Magistrate, in this instance, happened to be a former attorney for two accomplices of Jeffrey Epstein, as well as an Obama donor, who had received his appointment in 2018.

Can we now put all of this together, and perhaps draw some tentative hypotheses?

It looks to this blogger as though the documents which started all these troubles were some of those which Trump had ordered declassified before his term ended (when he had full authority to declassify any document he wished), but which his counsel's office had not yet gotten around to marking as "declassified", as described in #4 above. (Or they may even have been redacted documents from the FBI/DOJ which likewise had never been marked as declassified, as described in ##2 and 3 above.)

Nevertheless, to the National Archives officials, who were unaware of any of this backstory, it looked as though Trump was trying to make off with classified documents that still had that marking on them, so they made a referral of possible criminal activity to the DOJ.

The DOJ, who should have known better (since they had deliberately delayed in redacting the documents Trump wanted declassified), saw only an opportunity to press new and potentially damaging criminal charges against the former President. They met in May and again in June with Trump's attorneys in order to try to resolve the matter (#7 above), but neither Trump nor his attorneys were prepared to concede he had done anything wrong -- which they would have been doing had they agreed to release any documents he had already ordered declassified while in office, and which he consequently lawfully possessed.

Someone in the DOJ must be convinced, however, that they have the makings of a new criminal case against Donald Trump, and so they sought and obtained authorization from FBI Director Wray and Attorney General Garland to make the raid this week. This decision was made notwithstanding that the FBI never sought to raid or recover indisputably classified materials from Hunter Biden's infamous laptop, or from Hillary Clinton's basement server -- let alone prosecute those miscreants.  Trump, however, is fair game (along with his wife!) in their twisted reckoning.  And so we have the latest manufactured crisis to try to bring down Donald Trump.

It's a theory, at least, that fits a lot of known facts. Time will hopefully tell us whether it is real.

[UPDATE 08/10/2022: Another blogger has snapped into place the final piece of the puzzle.  By asking simply the question: "Which particular documents did Trump declassify so that they could be released?", The Last Refuge bloggers have brought into the light the sinister motives behind the DOJ/FBI's raid. The documents that Trump wanted to release, of course, were those that the Justice Department fought to keep classified: namely, the documents that show how particular members of the DOJ and FBI had targeted Trump from the outset of his campaign and continuing throughout the four years of his presidency, without success. Apparently someone has tipped them off that Trump kept some of those documents as "insurance" for later release in the eventuality that the DOJ continued to stonewall his efforts. (As it has done, using the flimsy excuse of the "ongoing" Durham investigation.) So some of those on high, and who might be most affected by any release of the incriminating documents, gave the pass to conduct a raid on Mar-a-Lago.

There is very likely a showdown coming between such forces as Trump may be able to marshal and the arrogant minions of the Deep State. Stay tuned for updates.]

[UPDATE #2  08/10/2022: This "exclusive" report from Newsweek (a favorite of DC leakers) confirms that there was a source inside the Trump circle at Mar-a-Lago who apparently knew all about the newly installed safe in Trump's office (which is why the raid team brought along a professional safecracker). But the safe proved to be empty of anything that could hurt Trump, so now the recriminations commence. Things are beginning to fall apart; the wagons are circling. Or, as far better expressed by William Butler Yeats, many years ago:

Turning and turning in the widening gyre 

The falcon cannot hear the falconer; 

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; 

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, 

The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere 

The ceremony of innocence is drowned; 

The best lack all conviction, while the worst 

Are full of passionate intensity.

 Therefore: stay calm and dispassionate as this unfolds, for unfold it surely will. But never give in or give up. Have the courage of conviction that all the hard evidence to date furnishes.]

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