The FBI’s search warrant has now been made available to the public. It shows that Donald Trump was under investigation for potential obstruction of justice and violations of the Espionage Act.
The search warrant lists three crimes, which are summarized in import by the legal analyst TechnoFog:
- 18 USC § 793 – also called the Espionage Act. This statute “prohibits communicating, transmitting, or delivering to any person not entitled to receive it ‘any document, writing, … or note relating to the national defense,’ or attempting to do so.”1
- 18 USC § 2071. This law prohibits the removal of “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. . .”
- 18 USC § 1519. This statute prohibits the destruction of “any record, document, or tangible object with the intent to impede, obstruct, or influence the investigation or proper administration of any matter within the jurisdiction of any department or agency of the United States.” As you can imagine, the press is giddy with allegations the former President violated the Espionage Act.
The FBI’s search warrant can be viewed in full below. But we will proceed thereafter upon examination to Attachment B.
Attachment B shows the investigative scope to be both classified and unclassified documents, evidence of transmission of “national defense information or classified material,” and evidence relating to the alternation/destruction of “Presidential Records, or of any documents with classification markings.”
Attachment B, subsection c, clearly states: “Any government and/or Presidential Records created between January 20, 2017, and January 20, 2021.”
This is a ‘chilling’ passage because it confirms without a doubt that the FBI was undertaking a fishing expedition. As Federalist CEO and Co-Founder Sean Davis noted:
Under "Attachment B" of the FBI raid document, Garland demanded the seizure of literally any record Trump ever saw, read, or created over the entire 4-year term of his presidency: "Any government and/or Presidential Records created between January 20, 2017, and January 20, 2021."
— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) August 12, 2022
“Under ‘Attachment B’ of the FBI raid document, Garland demanded the seizure of literally any record Trump ever saw, read, or created over the entire 4-year term of his presidency,” Davis notes. “Any government and/or Presidential Records created between January 20, 2017, and January 20, 2021.”
Whether the FBI raid was a mop-up job because the feds was terrified that Trump might reveal damning information about their unlawful operations, such as Crossfire Hurricane, remains to be seen. It is difficult to know at this stage who is setting a trap for whom.
But on Friday, former Trump national security official Kash Patel revealed in a Fox News interview some very interesting information involving the Government Services Administration or GSA.
“Yeah, so the normal process, and I was the deputy, you know, there’s multiple occasions, but I think I was serving as Deputy Director of National Intelligence,” Patel replied. “If we needed to declassify through the normal chain of command for lower level employees, we’d have to go through a rigorous process to do that procedurally. But the president of the United States, is and has always been, the ultimate unilateral classification authority to classify and declassify. If he says something is declassified, that’s it. Then it’s declassified.”
“He issued a strong statement in October of 2020 to classify all Russiagate and all Hillary Clinton documents. And that’s up on, you know, publicly available,” he added. “And then at the end of his administration, in December and January, he felt so much more information needed to be classified. He declassified whole sets of documents that should have come out. Now, the GSA has since come out, the Government Services Administration, said they mistakenly packed some boxes and moved them to Mar Lago.”
“That’s not on the president, that’s on the National Archives to sort that material out.,” he added. “They cannot prosecute him for intentionally, even if it was classified, which it’s highly unlikely that the issue, these sweeping orders, like we went through with the Hillary Clinton saga, they’ll never, they’ll never meet the burden of intent ,because president didn’t pack it up and take it himself. ”
“The GSA has said they did it and they made a mistake,” he added. “And that should have been really the end of it. It should have been a cordial subpoena, where at most where they said, ‘okay, we just need this and we’ll get the rest back to you.’ I mean, President Obama and President Clinton still have classified materials in their possession in their home, but they have not released to this day per the National Archive.”
Kash Patel here states unequivocally that Donald Trump has ultimate declassification authority. It appears that this statement is on firm legal footing, as the Article 3 Project’s Mike Davis points out.
Again, the classification statutes/regulations *do not apply* to the President of the United States.
He has the inherent constitutional power, as commander-in-chief, to classify and declassify anything he wants, in any manner he wants.
The Supreme Court reaffirmed this in 1987. https://t.co/bANCEhBTT1
— 🇺🇸 Mike Davis 🇺🇸 (@mrddmia) August 12, 2022
“Again, the classification statutes/regulations *do not apply* to the President of the United States,” Davis wrote. “He has the inherent constitutional power, as commander-in-chief, to classify and declassify anything he wants, in any manner he wants. The Supreme Court reaffirmed this in 1987.”
The relevant case is Department of Navy vs. Egan. It states as follows:
The President, after all, is the “Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States.” U.S.Const., Art. II, § 2. His authority to classify and control access to information bearing on national security and to determine whether an individual is sufficiently trustworthy to occupy a position in the Executive Branch that will give that person access to such information flows primarily from this constitutional investment of power in the President, and exists quite apart from any explicit congressional grant. See Cafeteria Workers v. McElroy, 367 U. S. 886, 367 U. S. 890 (1961). This Court has recognized the Government’s “compelling interest” in withholding national security information from unauthorized persons in the course of executive business. Snepp v. United States, 444 U. S. 507, 444 U. S. 509, n. 3 (1980). See also United States v. Robel, 389 U. S. 258, 389 U. S. 267 (1967); United States v. Reynolds, 345 U. S. 1, 345 U. S. 10 (1953); Totten v. United States, 92 U. S. 105, 92 U. S. 106 (1876). The authority to protect such information falls on the President as head of the Executive Branch and as Commander in Chief.
As such, the Department of Justice’s raid on the former president’s home, ‘personally approved’ by an Attorney General with a political axe to grind against a Donald Trump for being denied a Supreme Court seat, may prove to be without legal justification.
The FBI raid on a former U.S. president will prove to be a turning point in American history, if once again there is no justice for those involved in this case.
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OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.