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Many are saying the FBI is corrupt, but only the highest echelons, not the line agents.  All we have to do is get rid of them, and things will work themselves out.  That’s one way to look at it.  The reality of law enforcement is while the brass formulate policy and issue orders, it is always the line people who implement them, who do the work, and if they’re not willing to say, “no, that’s illegal,” or “no, that’s immoral,” what’s the difference?  History’s most vicious dictators have never had any trouble finding “line agents” to do their dirty work, nor do they today.  Corruption may begin at the top or bottom, but eventually, without honorable people at all levels willing to risk jobs and pensions, people who truly will uphold the Constitution, it becomes institutional.  I believe most of the line people are honorable, but a corrupt agency compromises them, unless they’re actively unwilling to allow that to happen.  When two agents—they virtually always do things in pairs—come to your door how do you know they’re two of the honorable people?  How do you know they’re mostly honorable, except for the orders they’re been given regarding you?  Or are they, like too many others, willingly corrupt, and more than happy to do whatever is necessary to screw you, Constitution and rule of law be damned?

You can’t.  It’s a tragedy for our Republic, and it’s their fault–all of them.

Before we continue, please remember, gentle readers, I’m relying almost entirely on media accounts.  Some are more credible then others, but I’m not seeing any of the documents and reports that tell, if not the whole story, important parts.  And as always, when I find out I’ve been wrong, I’ll make quick and complete corrections.  We begin with this from Victor Davis Hanson:

The FBI is dissolving before our eyes into a rogue security service akin to those in Eastern Europe during the Cold War.

Take the FBI’s deliberately asymmetrical application of the law. This week the bureau surprise-raided the home of former President Donald Trump — an historical first.

A massive phalanx of FBI agents swooped into the Trump residence while he was not home, to confiscate his personal property, safe, and records. All of this was over an archival dispute of presidential papers common to many former presidents. Agents swarmed the entire house, including the wardrobe closet of the former first lady.

Note we are less than 90 days out from a midterm election, and this was not just a raid, but a political act.

Hot Air reports a DOJ source claimed Attorney General Merrick Garland was not involved in the Trump raid, which they categorized as a “spectacular backfire.” No one with any common sense believed Garland uninvolved.  The backfire has yet to be firmly established, even if Normal American’s outrage is abundantly clear.  However, Garland has now admitted his involvement:

‘I personally approved the decision to seek a search warrant in this matter,’ Garland said in his short statement at the Justice Department in reaction to criticism of Monday’s FBI raid of the former president.

‘Faithful adherence to the rule of law is the bedrock principle of the Justice Department and our democracy,’ he said. ‘Upholding the rule of law means applying the law evenly without fear or favor.’

If you believe that, have I mentioned I’m a Nigerian prince in exile, and if you’ll give me your bank account numbers, I’ll deposit millions for safekeeping?  Oh, and up until now, the DOJ and their apologists have been saying the raid that wasn’t a raid was just a normal, routine bit of daily law enforcement activity, nothing special; nothing to see here, move along, move along.  Normal, routine bits of daily law enforcement activity don’t require the knowledge or orders of the Attorney General of the United States.

Garland added the Department of Justice had filed the motion to unseal parts of the warrant, citing ‘substantial public interest’ in the details.

He also defended the search warrant claiming the Justice Department tried to resolve issues they had with Trump through ‘less intrusive means.’

Have I mentioned I’m a Nigerian prince…?  Notice Garland said “parts of the warrant.”  That’s not actual transparency; it’s subterfuge.

One advantage I have over many commenters is my first career in law enforcement.  I wrote and served many warrants, and I understand police procedure, what should happen and why, and what’s really happening when those things don’t happen.  Though I’m not intimate with current FBI procedure, I’m very familiar with what the Constitution demands of every law enforcement officer.  Being an FBI agent doesn’t exempt one from the Constitution, though clearly many believe it does.

The warrant process is simple:

1) The investigating officer develops probable cause and then dictates, or types, the “warrant application,” also known as the affidavit.  In that document, they provide their position and background, and explain in detail which specific crimes have been committed, and exactly how they developed the probable cause to know what the things—evidence of crimes—they want to seize are, and how they came to know where they are.  They must specify those things, and exactly where they may be found, and that information must be current.  They can’t say “criminal 1 saw the stolen TV in criminal 2’s bedroom at 115 Crook Street two months ago.”  The information must be up to date, which means hours or a day or two at most.  All affidavits must follow a specific format adopted by the jurisdiction in which the search must take place.  The officer signs and dates the affidavit, swearing everything in it is true, and not only that, it is complete.  Failing to tell the judge everything is as much perjury as directly lying.  The FBI is demonstrably proficient in all these types of perjury.

2) The officer, in person, takes the affidavit to a judge, who reads it, and if dissatisfied with the probable cause or any other part, refuses to authorize a warrant.  That’s the way it’s supposed to work.  Officers then have the opportunity to try to find the information the judge finds lacking and correct it.

3) The warrant itself merely repeats the probable cause, and the specific things to be seized and address information.  It tells the officer the hours when the warrant must be served—most states only allow daylight hours unless otherwise authorized—and a time limit for service of the warrant, usually only 24 hours.

4) Officers must present a copy of the warrant to those on who they are serving it and allow them to read and keep it.  If no one is home when the warrant is served, they leave a copy there.  If their lawyer is there, they get the warrant copy.  They must do this to demonstrate their lawful authority for the search. The Fourth Amendment prohibits searches absent very specific requirements (see SCW 38). Failing to provide a warrant copy reduces them to armed thugs operating under the threat of deadly force.  Warrants are not state secrets.

5) Officers may search only for the specific items listed on the warrant, and only at the address specified.  If they see things in plain view, while lawfully searching, they recognize as evidence of a crime—and they better not be lying about that–they may seize them under the plain view doctrine, but if they want to break into—let’s say–a safe not listed on the warrant to see what’s in it, they have to get an entirely new warrant, and the PC requirement/process begins again.

6) Officers may seize only those items specified on the warrant.  Warrants are not fishing expeditions.  The Fourth Amendment was written in large part to make those—then common in the colonies—illegal.  A warrant written so loosely as to allow the search and seizure of anything is unlawful.  Officers may also only search where the specified items might reasonably be found. Officers searching for truck tires can’t look in kitchen drawers.  However, a unlawfully written warrant looking for small things, like documents, might be construed to allow searching anywhere a tiny piece of paper might be found.

7) Prior to leaving, the officers must verify the items they seized are allowed by the warrant, and must leave a receipt for the people from who they seized the property.  If they’re looking for several specific papers among a stack of hundreds, they don’t get to seize everything in sight.  In a case where hundreds of documents might be involved, it’s the responsibility of the police to bring along the people and equipment necessary to produce that receipt.

8) Officers must file the return, a document listing in detail every item seized under the warrant, or explaining if and why nothing was found, with the issuing judge.  This too is normally required within 24 hours of service of the warrant, although if a very large number of things were seized, judges may authorize more time for this inventory, though this is always kept as tight as possible—if normal procedures and the law are being followed.

9) All of these documents are to be provided the defense as soon as they are available.  If they are not, it’s a direct indicator of fraud on the part of the officers, perhaps even the judge.  In my cases, whenever possible, I made copies and took those documents directly to defense attorneys and answered their questions, saving them time and money.  Why?  Because I followed the law, and I wanted them to know I followed the law and had their clients cold.

These procedures may differ a bit from state to state due to changes in the law, but they represent the normal process of search warrants.

In the Trump case, the warrant was authorized by a local Florida Magistrate, among the lowest level of judges available.  Not a federal judge, not even a higher ranking state judge.  Federal officers normally use federal judges for their warrants, unless there are reasons not to use such judges.  This is the magistrate, one Bruce Reinhart:

Why him?  The Daily Mail tells us Reinhart donated at least $2000 to Barack Obama.  He’s a man with a history of anti-Trump social media rants, like this one:

He was a former federal prosecutor in Florida, working on the Epstein case.  One day he abruptly quit.  The next day he was representing Jeffrey Epstein’s staff members, including his pilots and scheduler, the woman who, with Gislane Maxwell, keep his little black books.  Some media sources are reporting reinsert was on D/S/Cs lists of potential Supreme Court nominees.  By all means gentle readers, take the link and read the whole Daily Mail article.  Did the FBI, who has all of the Epstein evidence, including his client lists, under lock and key, know Reinhart would be willing to authorize whatever they asked?  Is Reinhart on one of those client lists?  Is he otherwise compromised?  I’ve no idea, but he surely should have recused himself.  Interesting, is it not gentle readers, how Jefferey Epstein and those compromised by him keep cropping up?

The Daily Mail, doing the reporting American media will not, provides Eric Trump’s account of the raid:

There were some 30 or 40 FBI agents present, most in raid wear, many carrying automatic weapons.  There were also numerous other officers present, federal and local.  Trump’s attorney, Christina Bobb was present, but was forced to stand at the end of the driveway.  The FBI refused to give her a copy of the warrant, and only held up some papers they claimed to be the warrant from at least 10 feet away, too far away to read.  They demanded the staff turn off all security cameras “for officer safety,” but the staff refused.  We have no idea where those recordings are now, hopefully, multiple copies are in multiple safe places.  No Trump lawyer was allowed to accompany the officers.

The New York Post provides additional details:  

The agents searched every inch of the Trump property, even searching Melania Trump’s wardrobe and rifling through her drawers.  Perhaps she had illicitly kept top secret underwear, shoes or dresses?  This is particularly disgusting:

The demeanor of the three DOJ lawyers who accompanied the FBI was described by one eyewitness as ‘arrogant,’ and they repeatedly told Trump representatives: ‘We have full access to everything. We can go everywhere.’

That would depend on the authorizations of the warrant, which is still “under seal.”  No copy was left for Trump lawyers.

Final Thoughts:  I’ll be writing more on this case next week.  The reported behavior of the agents conducting the search would be familiar to any local or state law enforcement officer who ever had significant contact with the FBI.  They are taught, from the beginning, they’re the princes of law enforcement.  They are better educated, better trained, smarter, cooler, much more in the know, a higher level of being than mere state or local cops, and far too many of them radiate that attitude in their dealings with them.  They demand cooperation and information sharing, but that sharing only goes one way—their way.  Not all behave that way, but so many do few if any state or local officers are glad to see them coming.  The same is generally true of federal prosecutors.

As you can see, gentle readers, there is already much about which to be concerned, and I’ve not yet begun to address the political ramifications in any detail.  AG Garland is going to petition to release “parts” of the warrant?  He knows damned well that’s mostly irrelevant. What really matters is the affidavit, and to a lesser degree, the return.  Why wouldn’t he want them released?  Judge Reinhart put them “under seal” from the beginning, which is far from normal, but to be expected in a political persecution, or if releasing it would embarrass the judge, the police, politicians, or expose any of them to prosecution.  Garland would only hide them because he knows they’re constitutionally inadequate.  There is inadequate or no probable cause, or they don’t list the items to be seized with specificity.

The most likely reason those documents are being withheld, and will never be released in their original, unaltered form: this is an illegal fishing expedition.  Do we know this beyond doubt?  Not yet, but what we do know makes me very suspicious.  For example, turning off security cameras would not, in any way, make the FBI agents safe, but it would surely hide illegal actions.

Did Joe Biden order, or know about, the raid?  Who knows?  He’s only a meat puppet, and even if he ordered it or was told, he’s unlikely to have remembered it ten seconds laters.  His handlers?  That’s a very different question.

Were I Donald Trump, I would hire the best and have the entire place swept for cameras and listening devices.  Yes, they would do that.

Before I posted this article, copies of at least the warrant and return have been released.  As soon as I’ve had the chance to review them, I’ll add additional information.