In light of the news breaking Monday that a “special master” will be appointed to assess the significance of documents taken from Trump’s home, here’s a letter from a reader stating there’s a “missing piece” to the Mar-A-Lago raid and asking us to give prosecutors the benefit of the doubt. “Just maybe,” he says, some of those documents were very important and could even get people killed if they fell into the wrong hands. From Patrick Canan:
“There's a missing piece here. The issue is not whether the POTUS has the legal right to declassify. The issue is that there is a process to that declassification so that U.S. surveillance technology and foreign operatives are not inadvertently put at risk.
“Over the years you have cited many instances of legal, but counter-productive actions by Presidents.
“None of us is in a position to know, yet, whether President Trump's unannounced declassification and informal storage of Top Secret documents was dangerous. Perhaps those envelopes contained frivolous classifications by over-zealous agents but, just maybe, some are really important. Maybe their informal storage will result in the death of our informants. In any case, the papers are official records of the 45th POTUS, but are not his property. They are owned by the United States as a whole and belong in the National Archives.
Consider using your access to encourage President Trump to explain to the nation why he declassified and removed these documents. That could help to clear the air.”
If only the DOJ (along with the Senate Intel Committee, the House J6 committee and the White House) hadn’t squandered every opportunity to persuade us to take this administration’s “investigations” of Trump seriously, we might grant them some benefit of the doubt now. A “get-Trump” mentality pervades the upper echelon of the DOJ/FBI (and no doubt some strategically placed rank-and-file), with one excuse after another used to target Trump with lawfare, going back years. And now they’ve upped the ante.
Under these circumstances, pardon us if we don’t faint at the thought of these documents resulting “in the death of our informants.” Hillary Clinton kept highly classified documents and even top-secret Special Access Programs from the State Department on her easily hackable home server, where they were arguably much more accessible, worldwide, than whatever hard copies Trump had under lock and key at his guarded home. Unlike a President, which thankfully she never was, Hillary also lacked authority to declassify the documents in her possession. She lied repeatedly about what they were. Then-FBI Director James Comey seemed minimally concerned; he called this “negligent” but lacking criminal intent, and simply dropped it, along with any charges of obstruction of justice for destroying over 30,000 subpoenaed documents.
If you were the outgoing President, and knew your political opposition had tried to FRAME YOU as the agent of a foreign menace, as they did in “Crossfire Hurricane,” you might want to declassify and take copies of anything exculpatory. And the DOJ might move heaven and earth to get it back --- not necessarily over matters of national security. We don’t know for sure yet, but that's very likely the real “missing piece.”
Former White House adviser Kash Patel has addressed the issue of declassification and says he was present when that process was going on, while Trump was still President. Also, there appears to be a great deal of disagreement within the legal community about what the declassification process necessarily entails, as no President has ever been attacked like this over his own process. Do you think in your wildest dreams that President Obama’s home would have been raided over questions about his declassification “process”?
If memory serves, at least one of Trump’s attorneys has said that if the National Archives (which is run by an extremely anti-Trump bureaucrat) had wanted the documents from Mar-A-Lago, they could have just come over and taken them; there was no need for this “shock and awe” invasion over land, sea and air by scores of armed FBI agents. Also, as far as we know, no one is arguing that all the documents taken from Mar-A-Lago “belong” to President Trump, but many clearly do, and the President has the authority to determine which are personal. He also gets to take his sweet time with that, as President Obama certainly has done.
The Biden FBI/DOJ has so ruined its reputation that it sparks headlines such as this from THE BABYLON BEE, which blurs the line between reality and satire: “After Using FBI to Suppress Son’s Crimes and Raid Political Rival’s Home, Biden Warns Democracy in Danger.” Here's one that's more clearly satirical: “FBI Says the Documents in Trump’s Possession Were So Classified They Were Printed with Invisible Ink on Invisible Paper.”
It would be nice to be able to assume altruistic motives on their part while we look for a “missing piece,” but that is just not possible. With political operatives such as Lisa Monaco and Avril Haines running the show, we place no confidence whatsoever in the fairness of their legal strategies. And considering that these prosecutors, having weaponized the legal system, are circling Trump like sharks, hungry to charge him with something very serious like obstruction, Trump will speak up when he and his attorneys decide it’s most advantageous. On the other hand, considering that the DOJ also wants to convict Trump in the court of public opinion, and is selectively leaking whatever it wants the story to be –- just as happened during the Trump-Russia Hoax –- we tend to agree that sooner would be better, at least given what we know.
Thanks for writing, Patrick. If you missed this Margot Cleveland column from a few days back, you might appreciate it.