As if the FBI’s raid on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home wasn’t controversial enough, the Department of Justice might have known that there were no classified documents at the home of the former president since last June. One of Trump’s attorneys verified that no classified documents remained on-site, but someone at the Justice Department appears to have disregarded it as federal agents swarmed the residence last Monday (via NYT):
At least one lawyer for former President Donald J. Trump signed a written statement in June asserting that all material marked as classified and held in boxes in a storage area at Mr. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence and club had been returned to the government, four people with knowledge of the document said.
The written declaration was made after a visit on June 3 to Mar-a-Lago by Jay I. Bratt, the top counterintelligence official in the Justice Department’s national security division.
The existence of the signed declaration, which has not previously been reported, is a possible indication that Mr. Trump or his team were not fully forthcoming with federal investigators about the material. And it could help explain why a potential violation of a criminal statute related to obstruction was cited by the department as one basis for seeking the warrant used to carry out the daylong search of the former president’s home on Monday, an extraordinary step that generated political shock waves.
??NEW, thread: from our Justice Dept producer Bill Mears:— Jacqui Heinrich (@JacquiHeinrich) August 13, 2022
A lawyer for Donald Trump had certified two months ago that no classified material remained at former president Donald Trump’s Florida, two sources with knowledge of the investigation tell Fox News.
The June letter signed by the unnamed Trump lawyer would be at odds with the unsealed property list contained in the search warrant. One of the possible violations of federal law cited as justification for the search warrant was an obstruction statute.— Jacqui Heinrich (@JacquiHeinrich) August 13, 2022
Later this week, the search warrant pointed to allegations of obstruction of justice and violations of the Espionage Act, which, to quote the late Justice Antonin Scalia, is pure applesauce. The best part was the deluge of leaks once Attorney General Merrick Garland held a presser to defend this political witch hunt and called the employees and agents at the FBI faithful public servants and patriots. The best nugget here was the allegation that the FBI thought nuclear secrets were tucked away at the residence.
No level of spin can produce a credible reason behind this ransacking. Especially since the basis for this raid appears to be grounded on suspicions by government officials that not all the materials requested from Mar-a-Lago were returned last January. It does seem that a cocktail napkin led to this federally approved plundering. Yes, a cocktail napkin was an item on the National Archives list, which points to what Mike Davis, a former law clerk for Justice Neil Gorsuch, noted about how the government over-classifies everything.
It’s also clear that no one read the critical memo issued on January 19, 2021, wherein all documents related to the Crossfire Hurricane investigation were declassified by Trump in the waning days of his presidency.
Damning political documents that make the Obama administration look bad are declassified—and then, the feds knock down the door at Mar-a-Lago. And now, we have memos showing that certain documents were either declassified or that none were present at Trump’s home. It looks like this circus just added another tent.
On the other side, liberal media members are saying that this Trump lawyer memo declaring no classified records at Mar-a-Lago could be the basis for the obstruction charge.
“The existence of the signed declaration, which has not previously been reported, is a possible indication that Mr. Trump or his team were not fully forthcoming with federal investigators about the material. And it could help explain why…” https://t.co/3EzX0DgKIu— Jonathan Martin (@jmartNYT) August 13, 2022
NEW: At least one lawyer for Trump signed a written statement for the Justice Department asserting all docs with classified markings in the boxes had been returned after a June 3 meeting, which could explain why "obstruction" statute was listed on warrant https://t.co/JKTTvk2a5H— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) August 13, 2022