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The Trump Mar-A-Lago Raid: America Needs Some Answers

Donald Trump
Former President of the United States Donald Trump speaking with attendees at the "Rally to Protect Our Elections" hosted by Turning Point Action at Arizona Federal Theatre in Phoenix, Arizona.

Either the walls are closing in or the long knives are out. Your reaction to the FBI raid on former President Donald Trump’s Florida home at Mar-a-Lago — quickly followed by the House Ways and Means being awarded access to his tax returns — all depend on your views of the Orange Man.

Accordingly, you either believe Trump is being persecuted. Or you think he has avoided the consequences for myriad offenses ranging from his business dealings to Jan. 6 and is finally getting his just deserts

What you cannot dispute is that this is unprecedented. Such a raid on a former president — announced by Trump himself with little official comment from the federal government — is uncharted territory for the United States.

The FBI and Department of Justice have said basically nothing a full day later. The White House has said little more, denying President Joe Biden was briefed ahead of time. “What I can tell you definitively and for sure, he was not aware of this. Nobody at the White House was. Nobody was given a heads up, and we did not know about what happened yesterday,” Biden press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre maintained, though she would not say whether the president had spoken to Attorney General Merrick Garland on Tuesday.

It looks bad. Trump is not only a former president. He is actively considering another run for the office, a rematch against the man currently running the executive branch of the federal government, to whom these agents are accountable. What little we know about the search suggests it is separate from the Jan. 6 investigation. The FBI has arguably mishandled every election-adjacent inquiry it has conducted since Hillary Clinton’s email scandal, including the origins of the Trump-Russia investigation.

Few conservatives this side of Liz Cheney trust this process. Many think this treatment of Trump is political theater. Some are openly espousing that any finds be used to disqualify Trump from future elected office. 

“We’re 100 days away from midterm elections. President Trump is likely going to run again in 2024,” Sen. Lindsey Graham tweeted. “No one is above the law. The law must be above politics.” The Republicans of the House Judiciary Committee posted, “If they can do it to a former President, imagine what they can do to you.”

Indeed, the news comes amid plans to hire an additional 87,000 IRS agents through the Democrats’ new spending bill.

But the federal government under Biden has not done anything to alleviate any public concerns about the propriety of this Trump investigation. The White House even declined to characterize the former president as a political rival, despite Biden’s stated preference for running against Trump again in 2024 and their increasingly frequent mentions of their 2020 Republican opponent.

“In the next election, I’d be very fortunate if I had that same man running against me,” Biden said in an interview earlier this year.

Yet many other Democrats describe Trump as an existential threat to American democracy, undeserving of any benefit of the doubt. The party lost to him in a stunning upset in 2016. They came within 43,000 votes in three battleground states of losing to Trump a second time, in a diminished political condition during the pandemic. The polls suggest Democrats could lose to Trump again with Biden as the 2024 nominee.

The people offended by “lock her up” and Hunter Biden talk — both individuals who ultimately were under investigation by authorities without Trump ties — may have their own motives  for wanting to see the Orange Man in an orange jumpsuit at this time.

None of this is to deny that the investigation could be entirely appropriate. But the sensitivity and the climate of political polarization require complete transparency. That has not been forthcoming, though it should be noted that Trump could release the search warrant himself and has not.

The FBI, the Department of Justice, and most other national institutions do not have the credibility they once did and may not be able to convince large swathes of the country even if there is solid evidence against Trump. But their silence now is definitely counterproductive.

Treating a former president in this manner over a records dispute, even if Trump turns out to be in the wrong, could have terrible unintended consequences down the road.

Hopefully those who claim to want to protect the country from a repeat of Jan. 6 or other Trump excesses have thought all this through.

A 19FortyFive Contributing Editor, James Antle III is the Washington Examiner’s politics editor. He was previously managing editor of the Daily Caller, associate editor of the American Spectator, and senior writer for the American Conservative. He is the author of Devouring Freedom: Can Big Government Ever Be Stopped?

Written By

W. James Antle III is the Washington Examiner's politics editor. He was previously managing editor of the Daily Caller, associate editor of the American Spectator, and senior writer for the American Conservative. He is the author of Devouring Freedom: Can Big Government Ever Be Stopped?

19 Comments

19 Comments

  1. Duh

    August 9, 2022 at 8:25 pm

    A far right politics editor thinks America needs answers? It’s quite simple: Trump stole documents from the government, refused to give them all back and now faces the consequences. Is that really so hard to understand?

  2. Thomas

    August 9, 2022 at 9:31 pm

    Blatant weaponization of Politics. I look at things objectively. The former first lady, secretary of state was not subjected to this type of scrutiny in regards to the private server used for emails with classified material. Justice has to be applied equally and blindly. There are also questions involving the current President and his son and their dealings. I do not see raids in regards to the current President or son. I am sorry, this is behavior in line with the STASI , Gestapo or KGB. There is no place here for this type of power play.

  3. Steven

    August 9, 2022 at 9:33 pm

    **Copied, snowflakes (deal with it).

    (((Frankfurt School 12-Point Plan to Destroy the West

    1) Mass immigration to destroy ethnic identity

    2) Teach sex and sodomy to school children

    3) Empty the Churches (not the mosques or synagogues)

    4) Encourage crime by unjust legal system favoring criminals

    5) Undermine the authority of parents & teachers by “child rights”

    6) Encourage addiction to drugs & alcohol

    7) Attack fathers as “oppressors” to destroy the family

    8) Create “racism” offenses only for Europeans (“whites”)

    9) Encourage dependency on state welfare benefits

    10) Control and dumbing down of the media and education

    11) Continual change to create confusion

    12) We accept science on climate change and deny science on biological genders

  4. Steven

    August 9, 2022 at 9:53 pm

    Evidence against Trump FOR WHAT???????

  5. Putin loves Trump

    August 9, 2022 at 10:09 pm

    Trump has the search warrant, specifying the crimes being investigated, and the inventory of the items seized.

    He has chosen not to share those items publicly although he is free to do so.

    Yet he is sniveling and fund raising while his lunatic fringe cult make threats of civil war. Apparently, they haven’t learned anything from the insurrection sentences. Among many other things, the man is a thief.

  6. GhostTomahawk

    August 9, 2022 at 10:38 pm

    If it looks and smells like poop it is. Sorry regardless of your stance on Trump, the method the FBI used and over a records dispute… please this is a hatchet job. I hope Trump beats it and wins another term. Then watch mass resignations and investigations non stop

  7. pagar

    August 10, 2022 at 1:08 am

    Is biden the gazpacho chief of amerrica inc.

    Biden is working with deep state to protect james and hunter and their connections with foreign nations.

    Biden the american gestapo chief, soon to be the globalist boss.Figures correctly why the goons went down to Mar-a-lago. Just gettin’ started.

  8. Arash P

    August 10, 2022 at 3:45 am

    Trump is this Trump is that. What happened to “no one is above the law” mantra?

    Trump is a mafia boss who has gotten away with all sorts of criminality in his life. He is the prime example of the existence of two tier justice system in America. One for the elite and one for the peasants.

  9. CRS, DrPH

    August 10, 2022 at 4:42 am

    I caution patience. I am a civilian subject-matter expert to the FBI (bioterrorism) and they do not move rashly. The fact that a judge signed off on this retrieval (NOT a raid) speaks volumes. My concern is that Former Pres. Trump may have provided access to state secrets for cash. He had a habit of entertaining our enemies in the Oval Office and disclosing highly classified information, so nothing would surprise me. I really don’t believe politics had anything to do with this. Time will tell.

  10. Dave

    August 10, 2022 at 6:30 am

    Yep. When we as a country don’t understand and demand the honoring of the founding principles and law, which included equal justice under the law, we are approaching the conditions within Russia. I don’t believe the communist of the 1940s?-70s? ever went away, they changed and are now wolves in sheep’s clothing. We must be alert to what they look like, smell like, sound like, and act like. Else we will fall from within. Power corrupts and whether by intended association with those in the past or by common behavior, we are seeing the actions of those who seek power.

    Any dispute over records could have been handled through subpoenas, or through negotiation, as has been done for all other administrations. Negotiations were underway with boxes of documents already passed from Trump to the NAaRA, so why pull an unprecedented stunt like this? Very foolish, or the wolves are just becoming more fearless and blatant with their agenda.

  11. ChickieFillette

    August 10, 2022 at 9:04 am

    Trump is an existential threat to Democrats turning America into Venezuela.

  12. Yrral

    August 10, 2022 at 9:05 am

    Lots of you Trump supporters cannot handle the Truth, Trump is serial criminal , willing to turn a blind eye to Trump criminal behavior,Trump under investigation in other criminal investigation,lots of lawyers are just enabling Trump behavior,how many lawyers have legal proceedings against them, because of their association with Trump crimes,why do Trump release the search warrant content,he lost a tax case yesterday,he in NY having to answer to other criminal allegations,maybe lots of you Trump supporters should stopY enabling his criminal behavior

  13. OIF Combat Vet

    August 10, 2022 at 11:01 am

    I see a lot of Trump derangement syndrome still exists, and otherwise intelligent people are still stuck on stupid. Love or hate Trump, the permanent security state is completely out of control. We are watching the repetition of history from the front row now…If the deep state wins, China will be a cruel master.

  14. Omega 13

    August 10, 2022 at 11:14 am

    America’s Kristallnacht.

    Sends a message to we serfs: “If we can go after a former president, just think what we can do to you.” They just don’t care anymore.

    Constitution, Schmonstitution…

    You leftist idiots would be screaming to the sky if this happened to Obama, or especially Clinton. If this behavior is acceptable, are you okay with it happening to Biden during the next Republican presidency?

  15. Pokey

    August 10, 2022 at 4:43 pm

    First, the article errs that President Trump was served a full, detailed warrant. His lawyer appeared in a Q&A on Epoch TV and said she arrived about 90 minutes after the FBI raided President Trump’s home and they didn’t want to even show her the warrant.

    Worse, she said there’s a local judge who allowed the DC Feds, who ran this operation to withhold the probably cause. As Professor Jonathan Turley has pointed out, a FBI raid isn’t warranted if there is a dispute about any documents between a US President and the National Archives. It should be handled through the legal channels to evaluate and consider anything along those lines. This is not a political game; this if full out fascism by the Fascist Left.

    The judge is we now learn a former DOJ employee who left an Epstein investigation and get this, one day after quitting he went to go work for Jeffrey Epstein! The only reason he would be hired is because he had inside info on that federal investigation which he was roundly criticized for breaking DOJ ethic rules.

    This magistrate in Florida is now revealed to be so anti-Trump, he himself admitted it in another unrelated Trump vs Hillary lawsuit regarding the Russia Collusion Hoax.

    That was not even two months ago. But this judge is fine with giving a warrant for the FBI to raid President Trump’s home over alleged documents the National Archives wants?

    The breaking news report:
    https://justthenews.com/accountability/political-ethics/judge-who-authorized-mar-o-lago-search-previously-recused-self?utm_source=breaking&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter

  16. Lance

    August 10, 2022 at 6:18 pm

    The Left have been so programmed by the media to hate Trump they are blind to the bait and switch going on from freedom to slavery and sticking their own heads in a noose.

  17. Walker

    August 10, 2022 at 9:16 pm

    Wow, look at the Trumpies! Full on batshit crazy! So locked into conspiracy theories. How about we start with the logical assumption that if a warrant was issued by a judge there was likely a good reason. At least until we can confirm that is or isn’t true. Sounds crazy? That is the logical place to start as we would do so if it was anyone but Trump. So if it sounds crazy to you, it actually means you are the one who is crazy. Now how many of you are ready for self evaluation? No? Still insanely sure this is all political? Yep, just what I thought. This is why you have fallen for the crazy to begin with.

  18. John Hinman

    August 11, 2022 at 4:27 am

    We are still waiting for answers on the first attempt at fabricating a crime involving President Trump and the 2nd attempt and the 3rd, the 4th, 5th.
    The corrupt so called Democrat party, A Corrupt, Insane Posse Masquerading as a Political Party is no longer trying to hide their intentions and that they are no longer a part of Americas FREE Republic. The left is most certainly in bed with China seeking to transform our nation into their version of a liberal Communist party where the left won’t have to worry about elections and how they are going to steal them again

  19. Yrral

    August 12, 2022 at 4:33 am

    Republicans delusional,until FBI come knocking at your door,maybe you take the allegations seriously,FBI have still not arrested thousands of Jan 6, conspirators,the next knock may not be your granny,but an FBI, Trump was warned by the FBI decades of ago about Yhis criminal behavior Google Trump 1981 Memo

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