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As we learned in the first two installments of SCW 38—the SMM SCW archive is here—the DOJ is saying it has an informant that provided the information necessary for its affidavit.  It’s also claiming—through a multitude of leaks to the media—they were not only searching for unlawfully held records, but information relating to our nuclear defense(?!).  Are we to believe documents relating to our nuclear defense, were under lock and key at the government’s specific request AT A COUNTRY CLUB since Joe Biden took office and the FBI only just now got around to picking them up?!  Odd, if the raid was such an emergency.  Attorney General Merrick Garland starred in a bizarre and brief press conference, during which he looked decidedly uncomfortable, and said he’d authorize the release of some of the raid documents.

He has done that, but he’s released only the warrant and return.  The information on them is more the sufficiently disturbing, but most disturbing is he has not released the affidavit, which is, as I’m sure you’ll recall, the most important document.  That’s so because it must contain the probable cause for the search, which means all the specific information about how the FBI came to believe crimes were committed, a specific person committed them, and the very specific evidence of those crimes can be found at very specific places.

Before we review the warrant and return, remember Trump has been cooperating with the National Archives and the Government in general, apparently without reservation.  In March, he turned 15 boxes of documents over to them.  In June, they came to Mar-A-Largo and reviewed the remaining documents and left them in his possession(?!). They asked that he better secure the storeroom where they were kept, and he did.  He told them if there was anything they needed, all they needed to do was ask.  They sent him a letter praising his cooperation.  We now know Merrick Garland took weeks to authorize the search warrant, and the FBI waited for several days before serving it.  Odd, if our nuclear security was at risk.  Doubly odd if they knew what was present and where it was because they actually viewed it and directed additional security.

The warrant lists three crimes.  This is necessary, because the Presidential Records Act is not a criminal statute.  Presidents routinely take home documents and end up arguing with the government over them.  Any potential disagreement over the PRA cannot constitute probable cause in a criminal case.

Scott Johnson of Powerline provides these summaries and comments on the three federal laws:

18 USC § 793: This is a provision of the Espionage Act that prohibits the appropriation of defense information ‘with intent or reason to believe that the information is to be used to the injury of the United States, or to the advantage of any foreign nation.’ The New York Times has won Pulitzer Prizes that celebrate its violation of this provision of the act. I wrote about it at length in the 2006 Weekly Standard article “Disclosure.” Trump’s alleged violation of this statute is a joke. I believe it discredits the operation — it is a red flag that the purpose is other than as stated. The allegation that Trump violated this provision of the law should not withstand the slightest scrutiny (let alone the requirement that it be supported by probable cause).

Note “intent” is an element of this crime.  No POTUS personally packs up his papers and other belongings when he leaves the White House.  Johnson is right, but largely because it’s going to be impossible to prove Trump intended to do any such thing, particularly when he returned documents upon request, allowed the government to examine the rest whenever they wanted, and provided additional security at their request.

18 USC § 2071: The statute prohibits the willful and unlawful removal or destruction of government records. Was Trump’s removal of the records unlawful?

Again, “willful”[ness] is an element.  The same prosecutorial problems apply.

18 USC § 1519: This is an obstruction of justice statute. It prohibits the destruction, alteration, of government records ‘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.’

Once again, “intent” is going to make it impossible for the government to prove this crime.  The citing of these three laws isn’t probable cause, it’s an excuse for a fishing expedition.  Before we see excerpts from the warrant and return, one other thing has been bothering me.  We constantly hear about our “highly educated elites,” which is precisely how they demand we refer to them.  D/S/Cs are good at destroying our constitutional republic, and at manipulating language.  Well, so am I—manipulating language I mean.  I’m working to preserve our republic, so I’m fighting them.  What they really are is lengthily schooled, self-imagined elites.  There’s a vast difference between schooling and education, and one becomes elite in any field through ability and accomplishment, not credentials, titles and never-ending media tongue bathing.

Prof. Jacobson at Legal Insurrection provides excerpts from the warrant and return.

From the warrant:

All physical documents and records constituting evidence, contraband, fruits of crime, or other items illegally possessed in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 793, 2071 , or 1519, including the following:

  1. Any physical documents with classification markings, along with any containers/boxes (including any other contents) in which such documents are located, as well as any other containers/boxes that are collectively stored or found together with the aforementioned documents and containers/boxes;b. Information, including communications in any form, regarding the retrieval, storage, or transmission of national defense information or classified material;c. Any government and/or Presidential Records created between January 20, 2017, and January 20, 2021; ord. Any evidence of the knowing alteration, destruction, or concealment of any government and/or Presidential Records, or of any documents with classification markings.

This, gentle readers is a general warrant.  General warrants are illegal, unconstitutional, the very reason the Fourth Amendment was written.  Search warrants must be very narrowly tailored and must particularly describe what is to be seized and where it will be found.  This warrant gave the FBI permission to search for any and everything, anywhere they wanted, which is surely why they searched Melania Trump’s closets and underwear drawers.  Do you, by the way, see any mention of a safe in the warrant?  If they really did have an informant or other witness, that information must have been included in the warrant.  If they did not, they would have been required to get a second warrant for the safe alone.  As far as we know, that didn’t happen, but of course, this assumes they were actually following the Constitution.  If it did happen and they’re concealing that affidavit, warrant and return, well, who would be surprised?

One never knows which nuclear secrets might be stashed in a safe—it was empty—or in Melania’s undies drawer.  Can’t be too careful when dealing with Trumps, you know.  I wonder if they took any feminine trophies? This abomination gives permission to seize any piece of paper created during Trump’s term in office.  Can it be possible the affidavit specifically and particularly explains how each and every one of those unspecified documents, cocktail napkins, post-it notes, dresses, undies and shoes are somehow evidence of a crime?  No.  It’s not possible.  General warrant.

You’ll recall from the first articles in this series gentle readers a return must itemize, specifically and completely, every single thing taken during the search.  One would also expect the FBI to document precisely where everything taken was found, perhaps even photographing it in place before collecting it, and noting any other relevant information.  Here’s the complete inventory (the emboldened items have no reference to classification):

1 – Executive Grant of Clemency re: Roger Jason Stone, Jr.
lA – Info re: President of France
2 – Leatherbound box of documents
2A – Various classified/TS/SCI documents
3 – Potential Presidential Record
5 – Binder of photos
6 – Binder of photos
7 – Handwritten note
8 – Box labeled A-1
9 – Box labeled A-12
10 – Box Labeled A-15
10A – Miscellaneous Secret Documents
11 – Box Labeled A-16
11A – Miscellanous Top Secret Documents
12 – Box labeled A-17
13 – Box labeled A-18
13A – Miscellaneous Top Secret Documents
14 – Box labeled A-27
14-A – Miscellaneous Confidential Documents

4 – Documents
29 – Box labeled A-14
30 – Box Labeled A-26
31 – Box Labeled A-43
32 – Box Labeled A-13
33 – Box Labeled A-33

That’s it?  That’s the extent of the work of the most vaunted, professional law enforcement agency in the world, or at least that’s what they’d have us believe?  Had I presented such a non-specific return during my police days, I’d have been in for a major reaming, not only from my supervisors, but from the judge who authorized the warrant.  We were told the FBI didn’t spend any time itemizing what they seized.  The return would seem to confirm it.  They seized binders of photos?!  Photos of what?  Porn-like images of nuclear warheads?  “Miscellaneous Secret Documents?”  “Miscellaneous Top Secret Documents?”  “Miscellaneous Confidential Documents?”  Yeah?  Like what, specifically?  They also seized what must be a copy of the executive grant of clemency for Roger Stone?!  I was about to ask how that had anything to do with the purported justification for the search, but it was a general warrant.  They could have, and probably did, seize used Kleenex.  If you wish to see copies of the warrant and return, go here.

We will assume, for the moment, the documents released by the DOJ are actual copies, not doctored frauds.

We also know they took three of Donald Trump’s passports, two of which were expired.  The DOJ first sputtered “we did not take his passports!”  Then they admitted they did, and finally admitted they had returned them.  I know this is a general warrant, but passports?  How could they, particularly two expired passports, fulfill the elements of the three listed crimes?  They couldn’t.

John Hinderaker at Powerline provides this from Trump:

Number one, it was all declassified. Number two, they didn’t need to ‘seize’ anything. They could have had it anytime they wanted without playing politics and breaking into Mar-a-Lago. It was in secured storage, with an additional lock put on as per their request. They could have had it anytime they wanted—and that includes LONG ago. ALL THEY HAD TO DO WAS ASK. The bigger problem is, what are they going to do with the 33 million pages of documents, many of which are classified, that President Obama took to Chicago?

There is no evidence to suggest Trump was unwilling to cooperate with the government.  In fact, everything we know indicates Trump is telling the truth and the government is lying.  One other way we know who is telling the truth is Trump is demanding the affidavit, unredacted and complete, be immediately made public.  The DOJ, not so much.  They’re absolutely resisting its release in any form, as The Washington Examiner reports:

 ‘Disclosure at this juncture of the affidavit supporting probable cause would, by contrast, cause significant and irreparable damage to this ongoing criminal investigation,’ the DOJ argued, saying the affidavit contains ‘highly sensitive’ information about witnesses, specific investigative techniques, and information ‘required by law’ to be kept under seal.

Uh-huh.  Defense lawyers virtually never want affidavits released, because if done lawfully, they lay out exactly what their clients have done.  They are no good, terrible, awful for their clients, who are usually guilty as sin.  The government, on the other hand, would love to release affidavits for precisely that reason.  Who’s telling the truth now, gentle readers?

One additional bit of what might seem unrelated information.  Go here for a video of journalist Sheryl Attkisson.  Attkisson, as you may recall, has been under illegal government surveillance for years because her accurte reporting has made the government very uncomfortable.  In this video, she recounts FBI threats to plant child porn on her husband’s computer.

Final Thoughts:  I’m keeping this one relatively brief.  As always, I’m relying on media sources, and will correct and/or or update as necessary.  Remember, please, I’m applying my police experience.  I know what should be done, and what is almost certainly happening when it isn’t.  I know what shouldn’t be done, and what is almost certainly happening when it is.  This raid, and everything resulting from it, smells.  Everything I know about it indicates the FBI acted illegally and are scrambling to cover it up.

Every law enforcement agency has multiple layers of formal and informal supervision, multiple checks and balances, to prevent even the appearance of impropriety.  The FBI, which bills itself as the epitome of law enforcement ethics, virtue and competence, would have us believe its checks and balances are armor plated, thus is it impossible for them to ever violate procedure, and certainly never the law.  As Richard Nixon said: “that would be wrong.”  These checks and balances are absolutely necessary because public bad will is cumulative.  To the public, “the police” are monolithic, not individuals.  What one does affects all–the police, not Officer Smith, did X–and every misdeed is not only remembered, but compiled, until the mountain of misdeeds is all the public can remember or see.

Thus do we now discover suspicion about its actions and motives, and criticism of the FBI by demanding transparency about its actions is actually provoking violence against its agents.  That should come as no surprise, however.  It’s a common D/S/C tactic.  To them, even “silence is violence.”  Say nothing, you’re violent, say anything, you’re violent.  It’s like climate change, there is nothing one can  do or refrain from doing that isn’t violence.  It also seems criticism of AG Garland is anti-Semitism:

Garland is Jewish?  Maybe his parents changed their name from “Garlandberg” to “Garland?”

Why doesn’t the DOJ want us to see the affidavit, the probable cause for everything they have done?  Because “highly sensitive’ information about witnesses, specific investigative techniques…”.  That’s why.  What does that probably mean, keeping in mind they didn’t allow Trump’s lawyers to accompany them when they searched, and wanted the security cameras turned off?

Perhaps there really isn’t any probable cause, or the PC is faulty or terribly weak?  If so, not only would that reflect badly on the FBI, but even more badly on Judge Bruce Reinhart, who absolutely should never authorize a warrant without unquestionably solid PC.  Ironic, is it not, it will be Reinhart who will be pronouncing on whether the affidavit should be released?

Do they really have “witnesses,” or as they’ve been leaking, an informant or informants that gave them information, or are they lying about that?  Or would knowing the identities of “witnesses” expose just how unlikely they are to have any actual information, or that they are anti-Trump partisans who are willing to say anything?  Could these witnesses, like the Jan. 6th Committee’s Cassidy Hutchinson, have provided not first hand knowledge, but second, third, and more handed hearsay?  Some have suggested it was the Secret Service that informed on Trump.  If so, what President is ever again going to trust the Secret Service?

What are these “specific investigative techniques?”  There is no secret about how the police go about their jobs.  They are constrained by the 4th Amendment, a variety of laws, and their own policies and procedures.  Unless, of course, they’re not obeying any of that silly, restrictive stuff.  Could these “techniques” be illegal surveillance or other illegal methods of information gathering?  As we’ve learned during the FBI’s Inspector Javert-like, six-year pursuit of Trump, they’re skilled in such things.  Have they already placed audio and video bugs in Mar-A-Lago and elsewhere, or did they place them—more?—during their nine-hour raid?

The author of this meme on Judge Bruce Reinhart has been Twitter banned, of course.

Remember gentle readers, the government has been constantly leaking information about an affidavit that dare not see the light of day to their favorite media outlets, and they’ve been constantly lying: AG Garland did not authorize the warrant!  Oh, I guess he did.  We did not take Trump’s passports!  Oh, I guess we did.  Pet judge Reinhart will decide on releasing the affidavit on Thursday, 08-18-22.  It’s highly unlikely he’ll release it.

What we can be sure of at this point is the warrant is unconstitutional, so any and everything seized should be inadmissible in court.  We also know this search wasn’t remotely about its stated aims.  This was a fishing expedition to find something, anything, to use against Trump in some kind of prosecution.  Even if they can’t convict him, may be they can sufficiently dirty him to prevent his reelection as president.  Perhaps they don’t intend to charge Trump, but hoped to find anything they could used as opposition research for 2024.  I’m sure Hillary is tanned, rested and ready,

Another possibility that can’t be discounted is the government may know about specific documents Trump has that would expose protected members of the Deep State to ridicule or prosecution.  Or they may simply suspect or fear he might have such documents.  One reason they don’t want Trump to have a second term is he is likely to do damage to them and their power and perks.

Oh, and what about Sheryl Attkisson’s allegations?  During my police career, and even my teaching career, I was happy to have people observing, so long as they didn’t interfere with what I was doing.  I was willing to be observed because I knew not only was I doing nothing remotely wrong, I was proud of what I did, and knew it would reflect well on me and the organizations I served.  I didn’t contribute to cumulative bad will.  I trust Trump has made multiple copies of the security video and has it hidden in many safe places.  The FBI wanted the cameras turned off for “officer security.”  That’s nonsense, but if they were doing illegal things, they wanted “officer security” indeed.

Remember the return.  It’s so vague, so unconstitutionally general, the FBI could easily “find” any sort of incriminating document in the boxes they seized whenever convenient.  It’s unlikely Trump’s people ever made a complete inventory of every piece of paper, but if they did, good for them.  The FBI, alone and unobserved for nine hours, could have planted anything they wanted, and now that they have a trove of unidentified documents, who knows what will turn up?

But that’s outrageous!  The FBI would never do anything like that!  Yeah?  Do a bit of research about what they did in the Michigan Whitmer “kidnapping” case.  I’d like to be able to say the FBI wouldn’t do things like that, but we know better, don’t we gentle readers?  There is a two-tiered justice system in this country, and there’s a special tier of Hell for Donald Trump, where government doesn’t even pretend to follow the Constitution, and where any and every tactic is fair game.  After all, he’s the most serious threat to “our democracy” our democracy has ever seen.

Checks and balances?  Not where anyone suffering from terminal Trump Derangement Syndrome is concerned.  Checks and balances?  They don’ need no stinking checks and balances!