Source: The American Conservative
It has been a week since the FBI, with the personal approval of Attorney General Merrick Garland, raided former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club in Florida in search of allegedly mishandled presidential documents. Now, rising stars in the Republican party running on the former president’s America First message are trying to figure out how to hold the Biden administration and deep state accountable for the latest attempt to take down the Republican party’s leading man if Republicans find themselves the majority in the House come January.
Since last Monday’s raid on Mar-a-Lago, the warrant and property receipt have been released to the public. The warrant outlines that the “Property to be seized” included “All physical documents and records constituting evidence, contraband, fruits of crime or other items illegally possessed in violation” of federal law, such as:
Any physical documents with classification markings, along with any containers/boxes (including any other contents) in which such documents are locations, as well as any other containers/boxes that are collectively stored or found together with the aforementioned documents and containers/boxes:
Information, including communications in any form, regarding the retrieval, storage, or transmission of national defense information or classified material…
Any government and/or Presidential Records created between January 20, 2017…
Any evidence of the knowing alteration, destruction, or concealment of and government and/or Presidential Records, or of any documents with classification markings.
The receipt of property shows that the FBI seized a “Grant of Clemency” for Roger Stone, documents pertaining to the president of France, “various classified/TS/SCI documents,” “miscellaneous” secret documents, as well as several photo albums.
Based on the warrant, it appears that federal law enforcement is investigating the former president for the removal or destruction of records, obstruction of justice, and potential violations of the Espionage Act. Each alleged violation can carry a prison sentence or large fine. Some reports even suggest that the top secret materials FBI agents were looking for had to do with nuclear weapons.
The warrant and property receipt were released in response to the Department of Justice’s request. On Thursday, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced the department was trying to get the documents unsealed as he delivered brief remarks to members of the media:
Just now, the Justice Department has filed a motion in the Southern District of Florida to unseal a search warrant and property receipt relating to a court approved search that the FBI conducted earlier this week. That search was a premises located in Florida belonging to the former presiden,. The department did not make any public statements on the day of the search. The former president publicly confirmed the search that evening, as is his right. Copies of both the warrant and the FBI property receipt were provided on the day of the search to the former president’s counsel, who was on site during the search.… The Department filed the motion to make public the warrant and receipt in light of the former president’s public confirmation with a search the surrounding circumstances and the substantial public interest in this matter.
After announcing that the DOJ would move to unseal the warrant and property receipt, Garland, who has weaponized the Department of Justice and federal law enforcement agencies not only against President Joe Biden’s chief political opponent but against parents concerned about public school curricula, said, “Faithful adherence to the rule of law is the bedrock principle of the Justice Department and of our democracy.”
“Upholding the rule of law means applying the law evenly without fear or favor. Under my watch, that is precisely what the Justice Department is doing,” Garland claimed. Later, the attorney general confirmed that he personally approved the raid on Trump’s Florida club.
In response to those who question federal law enforcement’s motives in both the investigation and the decision to raid the Mar-a-Lago property despite previous cooperation between federal law enforcement and Trump and his legal team over the possession of certain documents, Garland declared, “I will not stand by silently when their integrity is unfairly attacked.”
“The men and women of the FBI and the Justice Department are dedicated, patriotic public servants,” Garland continued. “Every day they protect the American people from violent crime, terrorism, and other threats to their safety while safeguarding our civil rights. They do so at great personal sacrifice and risk to themselves. I am honored to work alongside them.”
Garland claimed because of the nature of the ongoing investigation, he was not entitled to say more at the time. But his brief remarks did little to assuage Republican concerns that this is just another attempt to use the deep state to take Trump down. Furthermore, confirmation that Garland personally approved the decision to raid Mar-a-Lago raised questions of just how high up in the Biden administration this decision went.
For now, the question remains unanswered. But Republican Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene wasted no time filing articles of impeachment against the attorney general for his confessed involvement in the raid.
“What they’ve been doing to President Trump is political persecution. Merrick Garland has abused his position of power as attorney general to politically persecute Joe Biden’s enemies,” Greene said Friday in a brief press conference. Their end goal? “To prevent President Trump from ever holding office,” Greene stated plainly.
The articles of impeachment Greene filed against Garland say the attorney general’s “personal approval to seek a search warrant for the raid on the home of the 45th President of the United States, Donald J. Trump, constitutes a blatant attempt to persecute a political opponent.”
Republican Florida State Rep. Anthony Sabatini, a candidate for Congress in Florida’s seventh district this election cycle, is one of the America First candidates hoping to bring not just new energy to the Republican party but new, aggressive strategies to fight back against the left.
Described by CNN as an “Ultra MAGA Republican” in a recent interview about the Mar-a-Lago raid, Sabatini told The American Conservative over the phone that Republicans, “need to completely and totally dismantle and defund these federal law enforcement entities that have lost their way. We need to pledge to shut them down. So I will never be voting for any budget that provides funding for them.”
“Defund first, hold the hearings afterward,” Sabatini continued. “McCarthy said we need to hold hearings first. No, we need to defund first then hold the hearings afterward. And that’s what I believe. Very simple.”
“At the state level,” Sabatini added, “what we need is to sever all ties with these federal law enforcement entities…. Cancel all relationships, communications, task forces with local and state law enforcement and just push them out into the dark—just like the left did when they were doing sanctuary cities, states, and counties. They cut all ties with ICE, stopped agreeing to communicate with them or work with them. The right needs to take a lesson from their playbook.”
When asked what he says to those who believe the Republican party should wait on its heels and allow the investigation to run its course before taking action against these agencies, Sabatini told TAC, “they’re cowards and they need to be eliminated from the Republican Party systematically.”
“That type of thinking and that approach is why we’re in this position in the first place. The truth is we should have done drastic reform after they spied on Donald Trump five years ago, but we’ve had cowards in the Republican party, and so that’s why this issue continues to percolate. It’s only going to get worse from here until we replace the cowards in the Republican Party with real America First Republicans,” Sabatini went on to say.
As to what Sabatini makes of the various claims that Trump could have violated the Espionage Act or other federal statutes pertaining to the maintenance of presidential records, the congressional hopeful said, “There’s thousands and thousands of so-called federal crimes. They’re going to do anything and everything they can to make people think that Donald Trump did something wrong. It’s obvious he’s done nothing wrong. This is a petty claim that they’re making and he should be left alone, but they’re obsessed with him because he’s the chief domestic political opponent to Joe Biden.”
North Carolina Rep. Dan Bishop told TAC via email that alleged Presidential Records Act violations “in no way could that justify raiding the residence of a former POTUS.”
I find Andy McCarthy’s theory persuasive, which is that DOJ is using this matter as pretext to try and secure evidence supporting an accusation that Trump contesting the election process was a criminal act. And even that scenario is a recognition of an astonishing abuse of federal criminal law enforcement powers. Even the least egregious possible scenario here is still damning.
“It’s clear that an indictment is the objective of some inside the administration, and it’s a clear and present threat to our constitutional republic and the consent of the governed,” Bishop claimed. “We must have a majority to obtain Congressional oversight powers, and we must exercise it in unprecedented ways equal to the unprecedented abuses. This is not business as usual, and we cannot act like it is business as usual. It’s not yet clear exactly which people are directly implicated in this matter, and we need to find out. I want a Church Committee-style investigation and an all-out effort to identify those who are implicated here, starting with the highest levels of the FBI and the DOJ.”
Prominent conservative legal minds echoed these Republican candidates’ message. “I think both Merrick Garland and Christopher Wray should be impeached, and removed from office,” Cleta Mitchell, head of the Conservative Partnership Institute’s Election Integrity Network, told TAC via email. “They are clearly partisans who have trampled on the US Constitution and its guarantees against unreasonable search and seizure (Fourth Amendment) and in the case of the confiscation of Rep. Scott Perry’s cell phone, they have trampled on the separation of powers.”
Mitchell’s email continued:
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The DOJ and the FBI have become the muscle for the Democratic Party and they will turn their considerable government powers against anyone who has a different ideology or political viewpoint. Conversely, if you are powerful and a Democrat or leftist, you can rest easy knowing that you are above the law, as in the cases of Hillary Clinton and Hunter Biden.
Dr. John Eastman, another lawyer involved in Trump’s attempts to protest how the 2020 election was carried out, who now heads the Claremont Institute’s Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence, also weighed in as to what the Republican party should do if they take back the majority in the House. “When back in power, they [Republicans] should vigorously prosecute every individual who actually did the things that Trump and his advisors are being falsely accused of doing,” Eastman said.
“Hillary set up a separate network to avoid scrutiny of a pay to play scheme, and trafficked in classified material on that insecure network, for example. Top DOJ and FBI officials made false statements to the FISA Courts and others,” Eastman added.