White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was confronted about President Biden’s knowledge of the FBI’s raid on former President Donald Trump on Monday. This was her response:
“Specifically on a different topic,” the report said. “The FBI is serving a search warrant on the former president’s residence in Florida. Was the president or anyone at the White House aware of that search warrant or had, has anyone at the White House or the president been briefed in the aftermath of that search warrant being executed?”
“No, the president was not briefed did not, was not aware of it,” KJP claimed. “No, no one at the White House was given a ‘heads up.’ No, that did not happen.”
“Is the White House at all concerned given the domestic political climate, but also the signal that it sends to the rest of the world, that the Department of Justice carried out this sort of operation on a former president, that it could even be, create the appearance of politically motivated prosecution?”
“So first off, and you’ve heard us say this many times at this podium, you’ve heard the president say this the Justice Department conducts investigations independently and we leave any law enforcement matters to them,” KJP responded while reading heavily from her notes. “It would not be appropriate for us to comment on any ongoing investigations.”
“I can say that President Biden has been unequivocal since the campaign,” she went on. “He believes in the rule of law, in the independence of justice, the justice department… that those investigations should be free from political influence. And he has held that commitment as president.”
“I want to also remind you all of what he said on January 7th, 2021, when he then nominated Merrick Garland to be the Attorney General,” she went on. “And I quote, ‘We need to restore the honor, the integrity of the independence of the Department of Justice in this nation that has been so badly damaged. And so many former leaders of that department in both parties have so testified and that, and stated that I want to be clear to those who lead this department, who you will serve. You won’t work for me. You are not the president or the vice president’s lawyer. Your loyalty is not to me. It’s to the law, the constitution, the people of this nation to guarantee justice’ end quote. So I would refer you to the Department of Justice.”
“Just, lastly, does the White House, the president believe would be helpful, both domestically and signals abroad for the Department of Justice to be more open about the reasons for that search warrant, the underlying evidence?” the reporter pressed.
“Again, this is not something I’m going to comment on today or from here at all,” KJP said. “This goes to the Department of Justice and that’s where I refer you.”
The White House Press Secretary also declined to comment on whether President Joe Biden views Donald Trump as a political ‘rival.’
Doocy: "Do you consider Donald Trump to be a political rival of president Biden?"
KJP: "I'm not going to speak to that from here."
Doocy: "But you talk about Trump all the time."
KJP: "I don't talk about Trump all the time." pic.twitter.com/NM1AJgldWA
— Real Mac Report (@RealMacReport) August 9, 2022
Despite the White House’s denials, there appears to be a clear motivation behind the FBI’s unnecessary raid for alleged classified documents: Preventing Donald Trump from running again in 2024.
As pointed out by high-powered Democrat attorney Marc Elias, who is deeply involved in 2020 election lawsuits, there appears to be a political motive behind the raid to disqualify Donald Trump from running for presidential office in 2024.
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
The criminal law at play is 18 USC 2071. It states that those convicted of this offense will be “disqualified from holding any office under the United States.”
However, legal scholars believe the courts would likely conclude that Section 2071 does not prevent Trump from being elected president in 2024. In a similar case in 2015 involving then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton illegal possession and destruction of classified records, the general consensus was that the law’s disqualification clause does not apply. As Reason magazine concludes:
If Trump is convicted of violating this statute, can he be disqualified from the presidency? No. And my colleague Seth Barrett Tillman wrote about this precise issue in 2015. At the time, conservative commentators, including former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, argued that Hillary Clinton could be disqualified from the presidency due to the storage of classified materials on her private email server. Seth explained that Mukasey’s argument does not work.
Legal scholar Jonathan Turley points out that “it is not a given that criminal prosecution would result even if documents are found at the location. Such acts can result in prosecution but PRA violations are rarely subject to prosecution.”
Thus, as one CNN legal analyst put it, the “daring and dangerous” raid was wholly unnecessary and quite possibly the most egregious action ever carried out by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
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OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.