On August 10, U.S. Senator, and Trump sycophant, Mike Lee published an opinion piece on, where else, Fox News, entitled, Trump raid leaves me with 8 important questions as a Senate Judiciary Committee member. I am here to help. For the record, note that Lee twice clerked for Justice Samuel Alito, who famously wrote the majority opinion imposing his religious views on the country while overturning Roe v Wade.
After reminding us he was a federal prosecutor, Lee poses his eight questions.
- Did Attorney General Merrick Garland personally sign off on this action?
Answer: A modest effort by Lee would have told him the answer. It’s clear now that Garland did sign off, reflecting awareness on the part of DOJ that its investigation at Mar-a-Lago was singularly important.
- Why break into the safe at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home rather than seize it, take it into custody, and seek a warrant to open it?
Answer: It’s unclear why Lee cares about this, but most likely it’s just part of the “Trump as victim” narrative that Republican sycophants constantly promote to show their loyalty to Trump, as opposed, you know, to loyalty to the country they swore to protect and defend. The warrant governing the entire search almost certainly permitted the FBI to “break into the safe” if that is in fact what they did. You would have thought that Trump, faced with the “raid,” would have just opened the safe. Maybe he did. Lee wasn’t there. Or Trump refused to open it, so he could add to his victimization ploy.
- Why execute a search warrant rather than seek the items through an informal process such as a subpoena?
Answer: Lee is either deliberately ignorant or just plain stupid. Trump would never have complied with a subpoena and Lee knows that. Pursuing a subpoena would just have delayed everything, alerted Trump to the target of the investigation, and likely resulted in destruction of or further secreting of the evidence. Trump refused to answer Special Counsel Mueller’s questions, has claimed that everything he did is forever protected by some form of privilege and in general declared himself immune from, and superior to, the law. If Lee has not learned any of this, his “opinion” is worth exactly nothing. He just going along to get along with the Republican narrative that the man who led the attempt to overthrow the government on January 6 did nothing wrong.
- If this is genuinely about presidential records, why would the former President — who was in charge of declassifying documents — be subject to prosecution for retaining custody of the same documents? It’s important to note that classification authority belongs to the president of the United States — NOT to bureaucrats at the National Archives.
Answer: Senator Lee knows a lot less about the classification of federal government documents than he would have you believe. For a short course introduction, see https://twitter.com/MarkHertling/status/1557911337468133377 If you want to look further into General Hertling’s military chops, look at this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Hertling
- If this is the product of the growing political weaponization of federal law enforcement agencies, shouldn’t all Americans be outraged by the Democrats’ plan to hire an additional 87,000 federal agents?
Answer: Clever but no cigar. By characterizing this as a hypothetical, Lee leaves himself room to say, “I never said there was growing weaponization, etc.” But, of course, a claim of weaponization is exactly the message he intended to deliver.
Why he thinks the increased staffing for the Internal Revenue Service (that’s the 87,000 new employees) is relevant here will remain a mystery to all rational people. But if anyone wants to know, read this: https://wapo.st/3SOxMHZ And if weaponization is the allegation, perhaps Sen. Lee should do a little reading about the Trump administration, especially the last year or so. Might start with Betrayal, The Final Act of the Trump Show, by Jonathan Karl. Or these:
The Fourth Reich — It’s Them or Us https://bit.ly/3QIoCLy
Donald Trump — A Gangster in the White House https://bit.ly/3Po4kpB
Trump’s Documents – Trump’s Crimes https://bit.ly/3zMWik4
- How is this aggressive action defensible in light of the FBI’s and DOJ’s treatment of Hillary Clinton, who was never subjected to such an invasive intrusion of privacy, even though she mishandled classified material and destroyed evidence?
Answer: Sen. Lee should see a doctor about his memory loss. I will not waste time with this old, very old, line of Republican deflection, except to note that Secretary Clinton did not attempt to stage a coup to prevent the lawful and peaceful transfer of power. Oh, and DOJ’s (FBI’s Comey, remember him?) treatment of Hillary Clinton was likely to ultimate cause of her loss to Trump in the 2016 election.
- Why should we assume that the federal bureaucracy isn’t targeting Republicans when the FBI and DOJhave taken no action regarding flagrant violations of the law by pro-abortion extremists threatening Supreme Court justices at their homes?
Answer: Prosecutorial decisions about political protests are more than a little different than investigation of known crimes involving national security. And, just for the record, AG Barr’s records of using DOJ for Trump’s personal and political benefits is undeniable. We can match the good senator deflection for deflection, but it’s pointless. Trump removed documents from the White House that he knew had the highest security classification. Why? Republicans like Lee don’t care about the national security of their country. They are only interested in being seen by Trump as 100% loyal to him, just in case, you know, he becomes president again.
8. Did FBI Director Christopher Wray intentionally wait to carry out the raid until after his oversight hearing with the Senate Judiciary Committee last week? I asked him whether he was concerned with warrantless “backdoor searches” under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. He seemed unperturbed.
Answer: What if he did? Lee is a US Senator and can ask the FBI questions until he is blue (or is it red?) in the face.
Lee’s rant ends with his false hope that the FBI has been appropriately careful in handling the decision to raid Trump’s “home:”
If there’s something we don’t know, something that will clarify the reasons for the raid, then the FBI needs to articulate that justification soon as possible. If there isn’t, we’ve got problems at the FBI.
In this statement, Lee reveals his ignorance of how DOJ/FBI works OR, more likely, is just playing to the victimization/fears of the Trump base that somehow the federal government is out to get them. Senator Lee and most other people are not entitled to know every detail of criminal investigations, regardless of the target. Lee seems to forget, as he has forgotten his oath of office, that Trump is subject to the law the same as everyone else. The investigation of Trump is based on well-founded concerns of criminal behavior in a vast range precisely because, not instead of, his having been president. The reason is simple enough: if the president can commit crimes and not be called to account, the Constitution is meaningless and, as Benjamin Franklin feared, the republic is lost.