After news broke Monday evening that the FBI had raided former President Donald Trump’s Palm Beach Florida home at Mar-a-Lago, the right immediately expressed outrage and warned that by targeting a former president and political opponent, the Biden Administration had crossed the Rubicon.
The left, for its contribution, highlighted the federal statute that provides that a person who “unlawfully conceals” government records shall “be disqualified from holding any office under the United States,” suggesting that the raid’s apparent focus on supposed missing classified documents may render Trump ineligible to run in 2024.
Beyond the constitutional problem with that theory — the U.S. constitution establishes the minimal qualifications to serve as president and Congress cannot expand on those — that theory of the raid merely confirms conservatives’ outrage over the DOJ’s continued interference in American’s electoral preferences.
Another theme soon emerged, bandied by those feigning a more balanced tone, that the raid was clearly justified because “a judge had to sign a warrant.” In a similar vein, another segment of politicians and pundits played the news as disconcerting but withheld judgment pending further details from Attorney General Merrick Garland and FBI Director Christopher Wray, calling on both to promptly provide the American public an explanation of the circumstances that could justify the raid of a former president’s home.
As of publication, no explanation has been offered. But it doesn’t matter. No matter what Garland or Wray say, no matter what the FBI attested to in a search warrant application, no matter what cause a federal judge found, Americans won’t trust them and they shouldn’t.
Four fake FISA applications and the ensuing surveillance orders authorized by the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court are the first reason why.
When the public learned that the Department of Justice had obtained a warrant to surveil former Trump campaign advisor Carter Page, the government and the media cartel assured Americans that the FISA court would only authorize such wiretapping if probable cause supported the surveillance. They also assured us that since Page was no longer a member of Trump’s campaign, the FISA orders did not target Trump. And the FISA application process, we were told, was robust, with multiple layers of review. Worry not, the government soothed, all was on the up and up.
But none of it was true. The FISA application process, far from being robust, consisted of rubber-stamping by FBI and DOJ officials who were, at best, willfully blind to the defects in the applications. And the agents who wrote the applications or supposedly reviewed and checked the information provided, either lied, withheld material information, included information disputed by the purported sources, or some combination of the three. In total, the Office of Inspector general found 17 significant inaccuracies or omissions and missed another one.
Later the public learned that in the process of renewing the Page FISA application, attorney Kevin Clinesmith lied and altered an email to hide Page’s work with the CIA and to allow the surveillance to continue. Eventually, the DOJ admitted there was no probable cause to surveil Page.
Americans would also learn later that notwithstanding the claims that the wiretapping of Page did not reach Trump’s team, that the surveillance did indeed sweep up campaign communications and later conversations between Page and Trump advisors.
Equally damned was the FISA Court which approved the four warrants based on double and triple hearsay of unknown and unverified sources and based on media reporting: Even if every word in the applications were true, the lack of verifiable sources rendered the applications insufficient, as a matter of law, to establish probable cause. Yet, the FISA Court issued not one, but four surveillance orders, none of which were legally justified.
The DOJ, FBI, and the courts likewise proved themselves untrustworthy in the case against Michael Flynn, a Lieutenant General who served this country with bravery and honor for decades. The FBI opened an investigation into Flynn shortly after receiving false information from Stefan Halper that implausibly claimed Flynn left Cambridge with a young woman with Russian roots. Then, after FBI agents decided to close the investigation against Flynn as unfounded, the 7th Floor intervened, and a kill shot was taken against Trump’s incoming National Security Advisor.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s later extracted a plea from Flynn for purportedly lying about a conversation he had during the transition period, by threatening his son. Then, after an independent investigation of the Flynn case revealed there was no basis to charge Flynn, a federal court refused to dismiss the charges — again proving that the courts provide no check on a corrupted FBI.
This synopsis barely scratches the surface of the duplicity and lies advanced by the FBI and the DOJ to destroy a Lieutenant General and a CIA source, all to “get Trump.” And the courts tolerated the abuse.
So, no, Americans do not need to wait for Garland or Wray to explain the basis for the raid; and we do not need to defer to the court that issued the warrant. The same deep state willing to lie and connive to destroy a presidential campaign and the president will be willing to do so again to destroy a former president and potential future presidential candidate.
The lesson has been learned. The question now is what to do, besides dismantling FBI Headquarters.