Week of August 15, 2022

FBI Raids Trump Home


(This is an ongoing event and there may be some new events that haven’t been covered in this analysis)

America is undeniably divided.  And the FBI raid on former President Trump’s home in Florida only put an axe to the divided society.  Many consider the FBI raid on Trump’s home at Mar-A-Lago akin to the actions of third world dictatorships that regularly use police or soldiers to attack political opponents.  This is the first time this has occurred in the US.

While the nature of many public comments was expected based on the political beliefs of the person, there were reactions by some Democrats who were worried about this unprecedented raid.  Former Democratic presidential candidate in 2020 Tulsi Gabbard said, “This is something that every American should be concerned about.”

Another 2020 democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang called it political and said, “I’m no-Trump fan…This raid strengthens the case for millions of Americans who will see this as unjust persecution.”

Former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who frequently had disagreements with Trump, demanded the Department of Justice explain its raid.

“It must be more than a search for inconsequential archives, or it will be viewed as a political tactic and undermine any future credible investigation,” Cuomo stated.

Although Attorney General Garland stated in his speech on Thursday, that the Department of Justice under him applied the law equally, he didn’t take questions after his prepared statement.  He merely admitted that he had signed the request for the warrant.  He also defended Department of Justice and FBI members as patriots who worked hard under difficult circumstances.

There are many questions that he didn’t answer.  There are questions of a conflict of interest as Trump campaigned in 2016 on withdrawing Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court, leaving Garland’s actions on the raid seem political revenge.  There are questions on the federal magistrate’s political activities.  Nor did he answer why his department hasn’t prosecuted or raided Obama’s home over missing documents.  This doesn’t address other Obama Administration officials like former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former Attorney General Lynch, EPA officials or the IRS, who have not turned in files.

Although there are many rumors, the facts are scarce.  On Monday, the FBI sent in 30 agents to recover documents from Mar-A-Lago.  The search warrant was signed by a federal magistrate and concerned the failure to turn over presidential documents under the Presidential Records Act.

The Presidential Records Act (44 U.S.C. Chapter 22) has no enforcement mechanism and carries no penalties.  That, in and of itself, makes the use of an FBI raid questionable.  Many see this as what is called in legal circles as a “fishing expedition,” where prosecutors use a flimsy search warrant to give police a chance to find something that might be construed as illegal.  This is unconstitutional and is considered as illegal “search and seizure.”  There has been some speculation that the raid was to find something that could tie Trump into the January 6, 2021, invasion of the Capitol.

Others have hoped that the presidential documents can be used to prevent Trump from running for president in 2024 under U.S.C. 2071, which states that anyone guilty of hiding removing, or mutilating official documents can be kept from holding office.  However, the courts have clearly held that the only qualifications for president are in the Constitution and no other restrictions can be made unless it is added to the Constitution in an amendment.

However, this is more about presidential documents.  There is a growing perception amongst Americans that there are differing levels of law depending on who you are.  While Obama, Clinton and others are let off the hook, average citizens must meet stricter standards.  If you are perceived as an “enemy” the legal system goes even farther to destroy you.

This has been noticed by most Americans and the credibility of agencies like the FBI have suffered, even though they have ignored the problem.  In fact, the FBI seemed surprised by the largely negative response to the raid.

A look at the polls shows that the FBI is plunging in its approval.  A Gallup poll showed that most of the American people have a negative opinion of the FBI.  Only 44% had a positive opinion of the FBI in 2021 – down 13 percentage points from 2019.  It ranks at the bottom with other federal agencies like the IRS, CDC, and Homeland Security.

An example of the bias in the FBI was seen last week in Senate hearings with FBI Director Wray.  FBI whistle blowers had given senators documents showing that the FBI considered showing some patriotic flags like the Betsey Ross Flag (the first American flag) as potential signs of a domestic terrorist.  Ironically Senator Cruz (R, TX) showed that the Betsy Ross Flag was flown as part of the Biden and Obama inaugurations.

Quoting parts of the US Constitution or the Declaration of Independence were also considered suspicious.

While the FBI has had problems in the past few years, Trump has improved in the polls.  If the election were held today, Trump would soundly beat Biden.

This may be the real reason for the raid.

In the days since the raid, Trump has raised record amounts of money.  A Trafalgar Group poll done after the raid showed that the raid energized both Republicans and independents to vote in the 2022 mid-term election.

Ironically, the raid on Trump’s home may guarantee the nomination and election for Trump.  The growing lack of faith in government and the scandals that have plagued the FBI worry Americans, not just Trump supporters.  They are worried by the growing corruption in government and want someone who can do something about it.  It seems Trump is the one – especially since the government is so opposed to him.


The Future

Will this raid on Trump have any negative impact on Trump or the GOP?  Probably not.  Trump has survived two impeachments, attacks based on the January 6, 2021, invasion of the US Capitol, Russian collusion charges, and falsified evidence by FBI agents.  If anything, the GOP is coalescing around Trump.

Although Trump hasn’t announced he is running, his comments since the raid indicate that he is determined to run again.

This leaves the Democrats in a dilemma.  Biden is clearly senile and unable to effectively handle a campaign.  In addition, polls show Biden losing to Trump in a rematch.

VP Kamala Harris has even less support than Biden.  Secretary of Transportation Buttgieg, who ran for president in 2020, is a possible presidential choice, but he has done poorly in Washington.  The rest of the Cabinet doesn’t offer any obvious presidential candidates.

Gavin Newsome, Governor of California has made moves that indicate he may run.  But the multitude of problems in California may destroy his chances.

In desperation, the Democrats are even mentioning Hillary Clinton.

Some Democrats have argued that letting Trump have his one term, while grooming a winning Democratic presidential candidate for 2028 may be the best choice.

The only other hope is to create another Trump scandal, one that can make Trump lose.

In that case, the Republicans may very well pick Florida Governor DeSantis, who would rally the Republican base.

There is also the threat of civil unrest.  An apparent Trump supporter tried to attack an FBI office in Cincinnati.  There is also talk of civil war on the internet.

But not all the talk is being made by the political fringe.  Victor David Hanson, a classist and military historian who writes occasionally for the New York Times outlined the FBI corruption in recent years.  He noted, “The FBI’s highest officials now routinely mislead Congress.  They have erased or altered court and subpoenaed evidence.  They illegally leak confidential material to the media.  And, they have lied under oath to federal investigators.”

“The FBI is dissolving before our eyes into a rogue security service akin to those in Eastern Europe during the Cold War.”

Hanson concluded by saying that the FBI has “become dangerous to Americans and an extensional threat to democracy.”