After the FBI swooped in on Mar-A-Lago, the home of a former President, on August 8, 2022, in a “land, sea and air” early-morning invasion with helicopters and up to 30 armed agents, we Americans sat glued to our TVs listening to reporters recount the events of the day from outside on the street, our jaws on the floor. We couldn’t believe what had taken place.
The raid had been choreographed like an action movie set in some far-off banana republic. Nothing like this had happened before –- or was likely even contemplated –- in our country. Even President Richard Nixon, who resigned from office in disgrace, never faced anything like this.
If you travel to Panama City (Panama, not Florida) and tour the nearby rainforest, one place you’ll drive fairly close to is the unassuming compound where former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega was incarcerated after being tried by courts in the U.S. and France. Upon his return to Panama, he would be kept under close guard for the rest of his life, with the goal of making sure he never, ever tried to come to power again.
It occurs to me that this is what the truly Trump-deranged among us would like to do to President Trump.
But Noriega was a dictator –- a real, ruthless dictator. He suspended constitutional rights, closed newspapers and radio stations, drove political enemies into exile, fixed elections, laundered drug money, had adversaries killed and more. When troops swarmed into Panama to neutralize the threat to freedom posed by him, it made sense to do that.
But in using force against our own former President, our DOJ was trying to make him appear to be a bad man, a presumed-guilty man, someone who was perhaps secretly plotting to take power and/or harm our nation. “Wow, what did President Trump DO,” people wondered, “to justify something like THIS? It must have been really bad!” And in the days and weeks that followed, there were leaks by investigators about important classified documents, even dangerous nuclear secrets, being squirreled away at Mar-A-Lago (possibly to be sold to Russia!), even a picture of so-called classified documents lying on the floor.
But theses claims were not substantiated. The picture was staged by agents. And at this point, it seems to have been much ado about nothing, or, at most, much ado about a paperwork dispute. But, timed as it was in the months before the midterm elections, it was bound to have an effect on the political viability of those who supported Trump.
Now that the election is safely over, the real story of the raid is coming out, thanks in part to the WASHINGTON POST. After reviewing the documents, they report, federal authorities see “no nefarious effort by Trump to leverage, sell or use the government secrets. Instead, the former President seemed motivated by a more basic desire not to give up what he believed was his property...Trump repeatedly said the materials were his, not the government’s, often in profane terms,” their sources said.
Exactly --- a paperwork dispute.
I have an idea for WAPO if they’d really like to earn a Pulitzer for their reporting on Trump. Take a hard look at the FBI and DOJ in the style of real investigative journalists. They break the stories, not you --- if your sources do give you “bombshells” that hurt your political side, you typically wait till after elections are over to report them in mainstream media. Otherwise, you just transcribe for the strategic leakers at the DOJ.
Trump tweeted this on Truth Social: “Nuclear weapons issue is a Hoax, just like Russia, Russia, Russia was a Hoax, two impeachments were a Hoax, the Mueller investigation was a Hoax, and much more. Same sleazy people were involved. Why wouldn’t the FBI allow the inspection of areas at Mar-A-Lago with our lawyers, or others, present. Made them wait outside in the heat, wouldn’t let them get even close --- said ‘ABSOLUTELY NOT.’ Planting information anyone? Reminds me of a Christopher Steele Dossier!”
Kyle Becker notes other revelations that are happening now that the election is over. For example, the FBI is confirmed to have had numerous agents embedded within extremist groups in advance of the January 6 protest. So they knew there were plans to create unrest --- if they didn’t encourage these plans outright --- yet, curiously, no extra security was provided for the rally, even though President Trump had offered 20,000 National Guard troops.
When Trump says the “same sleazy people” were involved, perhaps he’s referring in part to the just-retired FBI agent heading the DC field office who supervised the Gretchen Whitmer attempted-kidnapping case, the January 6 investigation and the Mar-A-Lago raid.
On Thursday, when FBI Director Chris Wray testified before a Senate committee, he found himself in the hot seat. Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley told him it was “indefensible” that back in August he left a statutorily-required hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee to “catch a flight” (nonsense; he was flying on a private government plane) to vacation with his family in the Adirondacks.
Here’s the story at DAILY CALLER, but we noticed that none of the reports even mention this: Wray’s hearing happened to be on Thursday, August 4, just a few days away from the raid he was planning for the morning of August 8. No wonder he was eager to get out of that chair and off to the Adirondacks!
House Republicans did have their press conference Thursday, with Kentucky Rep. James Comer and Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan announcing their committees were launching an investigation into President Biden’s foreign business ties to son Hunter, as revealed on Hunter’s abandoned laptop --- which was hidden by the FBI during Trump's impeachment and later dismissed as "Russian disinformation" --- and also approximately 150 flagged financial transactions. Citing whistleblowers, they said the President had been “chairman of the board” of the Biden family empire based on selling access to him when he was Vice President. They claim to have found evidence of money laundering and conspiracy to defraud the United States.
“Was Joe Biden directly involved with Hunter Biden’s business deals and is he compromised? That’s our investigation,” Comer said, adding that they want to find out why he lied to the American people. Specifically, he said, “We find evidence that Joe Biden and Hunter Biden were involved in a scheme to try to get China to buy liquified natural gas. People are in outrage over China buying farmland in the Dakotas. What about China trying to buy into our American energy industry?”
Here’s another black mark for the FBI: In a hearing with Wray last December, he was asked about the FBI’s use of Pegasus, the hacking tool that extracts information from cellphones. Wray admitted that they’d bought a license for Pegasus, but not to USE it! No, no. This would be only for research and development, to find out how the bad guys would use it.
“But dozens of internal FBI documents and court records tell a different story,” THE NEW YORK TIMES reports. FBI officials “made a push in 2020-2021 to deploy Pegasus in their own criminal investigations." It’s “unclear,” they say, whether the FBI planned to use it to spy on Americans. But the NYT revealed in January that the FBI tested a similar tool, called Phantom, which is capable of hacking phones with U.S. numbers.
When a flurry of negative stories came out in 2021 about Pegasus, the FBI decided not to use it. Still, documents show they were interested in using such spyware in the future.
Other than the way they speak approvingly of Wray for getting under Trump’s skin, the NYT has actually reported something here that I would recommend reading.