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On August 8, 2022, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) executed a search warrant at the Florida home of former President Donald J. Trump. This unprecedented action put the nation into an uproar, with supporters of the former President claiming government overreach and political witch hunt while those on the left cheering the action on gleefully.
When you remove the politics from the issue and just look at the events that led up to the raid, you see it is simply the best interests of the national security of the United States that is the heart of the matter.
Violations of the Presidential Records Act
Back in February of 2022, it came to the attention of the National Archives that Trump had not given all material to the Archives that was required under the Presidential Record Act. In essence, Trump was in violation of the law when he took materials with him when he left the White House at the end of his term.
After negotiations with Trump's representatives, fifteen boxes of documents were turned over to the National Archives and a search would continue for additional Presidential records.
All of this came a week after the National Archives confirmed that some of the documents it had turned over to the January 6 Committee investigating the attack on the United States Capitol had been damaged and taped back together. The reporting claimed that the former President often destroyed documents during his time in office, in direct violation of the Presidential Records Act.
After receiving the boxes and scrutinizing the contents, the National Archives confirmed that Trump had removed classified documents from the White House and that they had sent a letter to the Justice Department to open further investigations into the matter.
Upon hearing the news, the National Archives were also in touch with Congress who wanted to investigate the matter as noted in communications between the two entities below:
The letter from the archivists in response to the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, which is investigating, also details how certain social media records were not captured and preserved by the Trump administration. And it also says that the agency learned that White House staff frequently conducted official business using unofficial messaging accounts and personal phones.
This issue stems from an administration that violated a federal law in multiple ways: using unsecured accounts, removing records, and destroying official documents.
Department of Justice Follow-Up
What hasn't been overly reported during the uproar over the searching of a former President's residence is that in early June, the Department of Justice met with Trump lawyers at Mar-a-Lago to further investigate. Trump reportedly made a quick appearance during the meeting.
The Department of Justice investigators were asking for additional documents that they believed needed to be turned over and were shown a basement room where Trump kept documents.
Fox News reported that investigators were not pleased with the security of these additional documents and that they were not receiving the cooperation they needed from Trump's team regarding the additional documents they were seeking.
This is likely when the process began for the search warrant, relating to missing documents and documents potentially pertaining to national security being stored unsafely.
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Subpoena or Search Warrant?
Much of the uproar from the right is about a search warrant vs. a subpoena. Many think that a subpoena would have been the proper protocol here—asking for the documents and allowing Trump's team time to fulfill the request.
The case against that is if these documents present a national security risk, it's imperative to secure them as soon as possible. Secondly, Donald Trump has a recorded history of destroying documents, as noted in the new book by New York Times White House Correspondent Maggie Haberman, even going so far as to flush them down the toilet (as noted below).
Those instances of document destruction are already in violation of federal law, so the trust level with Trump voluntarily providing documents that possibly contain classified material, let alone his previous obstruction of investigations in the Mueller case and his impeachment trials, meant that a subpoena would not be adhered to in good faith.
A search warrant was the correct call, with national security a factor, as well as Trump's history of fighting subpoenas.
The Many Reasons Why Trump Having Records is Dangerous
Trump has a history of siding with other nations over his own country. It was proven in a bipartisan Senate Report in 2020 that his campaign had colluded with Russia during the 2016 elections when his Campaign Chair (Paul Manafort) and Deputy Campaign Chair (Rick Gates) were both sent to prison for conspiracy for supplying known members of the Kremlin with internal campaign polling data.
In Helsinki in June of 2018, Trump publicly sided with Russia over the entirety of the United States intelligence services pertaining to the Russia interference in the 2016 election. Trump accepted Putin's word that Russia was not involved over the word of his own country.
Back in 2017, during a meeting with Russians in the Oval Office, Trump revealed sensitive intelligence information that endangered personnel of an ally of the United States.
Trump has shown himself to be very self-serving. His stance toward Saudi Arabia and many United States policies seemed to be favorable to that nation. As a former businessman, there is always the potential that Trump could view trading on United States secrets as a possible lucrative business venture.
On top of all of that, there is the issue that many believe Trump incited an attack against his own country on January 6, 2021. Some, such as Glenn Kirschner, think Trump's actions surrounding the 2020 election rise to the level of treason.
Lastly, Trump has been shown to be a spiteful man bent on revenge, so it's not a far reach to think he would spurn the country that he believed betrayed him by not giving him a second term by helping those he befriended during his term. Unfortunately for the United States, those countries include Russia, North Korea and Turkey, where only the latter is an ally.
A Lawless, Untrustworthy Person
What this search comes down to is a former President who is one of the most dishonest people the country has ever seen. He has already been shown by the National Archives to have zero respect for the Presidential Records Act, as well as having taken classified material with him to Mar-a-Lago.
His ties to ruthless dictators that are not allies of the United States, as well as his propensity to do what is in his own best interests, which includes inciting a domestic terror attack on his own Capitol based on fabrications, makes him a dangerous national security threat.
That the FBI views this as a person who should not be in possession of classified documents, let alone documents not secured to the standards of the country, helps make sense of the search warrant served on Mar-a-Lago.
This unprecedented action is just another by-product of an abomination of a Presidential term that saw Constitutional norms broken repeatedly. This one is actually in the nation's best interests though.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2022 JOC