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4 Unanswered Questions on the FBI’s Unprecedented Mar-a-Lago Raid

4 preguntas sin responder sobre la redada del FBI en Mar-a-Lago

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IT HAS BEEN more than a week since the FBI raided former President Donald Trump’s private Mar-a-Lago residence, and there are still several questions floating around as to why the agency took this unprecedented action against the nation’s leading opposition politician.

While there are not too many official details to clear up doubts about the raid, there seems to be a consensus on one point: if federal agents were to raid the homes of former presidents — including one of the leading figures in a major political party — they must be sure that they are seizing hard evidence of potential crimes.

However, while Americans anxiously await answers and official versions that will clear their doubts, some small revelations in the press only increase the GOP concerns that the raid against Trump —far from being a law enforcement action— is part of a political play and power grab by the nation’s law enforcement bodies. This, as many predict, would undoubtedly create unprecedented political unrest in an already-divided country. That said, it is necessary to rethink the questions that still have not been answered a week later.

Three Days to Carry the Search. Why?

It took AG Merrick Garland three days to make his first public statements on the Mar-a-Lago raid. The only notable thing about that statement was the revelation that he himself had approved the raid because he didn’t even take questions from the press, nor did he give any further details about the raid.

Similarly, it took the FBI three days to give effect to the search warrant, which, Breitbart revealed, was signed by a federal judge —Bruce Reinhart— on Friday, August 5, 2022, at 12:12 p.m.

In the absence of official versions, the national press began to speculate on the documents allegedly kept by Trump in his Floridian residence or what they contained. Several analysts, without knowing what precisely the FBI seized, gave their alarmist theories that the documents kept by Trump could jeopardize the country’s security if they fell into the hands of the enemies of the United States. Other outlets, like The Washington Post, received anonymous leaks that the documents kept by the former president could contain secrets related to nuclear weapons.

Then came the search warrant, and although it contains some important details about what kind of documents the FBI seized, doubts about their contents remain in the air.

However, this read in the Politico report: “The documents, unsealed after the Justice Department sought their public disclosure amid relentless attacks by Trump and his GOP allies, underscore the extraordinary national security threat that federal investigators believed the missing documents presented. The concern grew so acute that Attorney General Merrick Garland approved the unprecedented search of Trump’s estate last week.”

Attorney General Merrick Garland speaks about the FBI raid at Mar-a-Lago (EFE).

At the time, the liberal press, although without clear evidence, insinuated that this unprecedented raid was because the agencies were investigating a major national security threat. Moreover, according to media outlets such as CNN and The New York Times, since February the DOJ has been investigating “Trump’s handling of White House records and whether he violated the Presidential Records Act and other laws related to classified information.”

But if the threat to the U.S. was so significant, and this had been under investigation for six months, why did it take the FBI 72 hours to go ahead with its search after the warrant was issued? Did the agents want to enjoy the weekend off?

Why Was the Search Warrant so Broad?

Based on the logical premise that the FBI and DOJ are looking for specific documents that may jeopardize national security, a few details generate a lot of noise within the search warrant.

The search warrant first reveals that the FBI took classified documents. What were those documents? If you read the warrant carefully, it stipulates that Trump had a handwritten note under his possession; documents marked “TS/SCI” —a high level of government classification— and an item labeled “Info re: President of France.”

There is more. Seized were an “executive grant of clemency re: Roger Jason Stone, Jr.” boxes labeled A-1, A-12, and A-15 and, as alleged by former President Trump, even three of his passports were taken, which were later returned, according to Fox News.

4 preguntas sin responder sobre la redada del FBI en Mar-a-Lago

“DOJ plus FBI equals corrupt.” Protesters come out in support of former President Trump after the FBI raid at Mar-a-Lago (EFE).

As Daily Wire host Ben Shapiro commented, “When people say this looks like political targeting, it does. It looks like an action in search of a crime…. You’re supposed to identify the crime first. The search warrant does not specify what the crime was.”

Shapiro also said the investigative approach by the DOJ against Trump doesn’t look “to pretend that this is a very specific, targeted, laser-like approach to finding specific documents that are a national security threat, that is not what this looks like in any way, shape or form. It is far broader than that.”

Indeed, if the security and justice agencies don’t say specifically what they’re looking for and just take documents of all kinds looking for, hopefully, something they can use to take Donald Trump out of the game, the political-social consequences for the country could be dire—especially considering the background of the Russian plot and the little confidence Americans have in the institutions of justice.

Why Is the DOJ Keeping the Affidavits Sealed?

This point is fundamental. The Department of Justice asked to keep secret the affidavit that basically justified the request for the search of the former president’s house. The request was made by prosecutor Juan Antonio Gonzalez on August 15, in a thirteen-page document, where it is argued that the disclosure of the document may have consequences for the investigation and for the agents involved in the actions taken by the security and justice agencies against Trump.

However, almost no one, not even the mainstream media, agrees with the Justice Department’s request. “Monday’s court filing was made in response to requests from multiple media outlets, including The Washington Post, seeking the affidavit’s public release,” read a WaPo report.

Late on Monday, August 15, Trump himself requested the unredacted release of the affidavit “in the interest of TRANSPARENCY.”

“I call for the immediate release of the completely Unredacted Affidavit pertaining to this horrible and shocking BREAK-IN,” the former president wrote on Truth Social.

Stay tuned, because next Thursday, Judge Bruce Reinhart is expected to rule on the Justice Department’s request to keep the affidavit under seal or not.

Authorities stand outside Mar-a-Lago, the residence of former President Donald Trump, amid reports of the execution of a search warrant by the FBI as part of a document investigation, in Palm Beach, Florida, Aug. 09, 2022. (EFE)

Were the Documents Seized Classified?

On August 13, former national security official Kash Patel spoke with Fox News’s Martha MacCallum and said that Trump’s documents at Mar-a-Lago could have been declassified. In fact, according to various national media outlets, the dispute between Trump’s legal team and DOJ officials is over whether or not these seized documents were declassified before the former Republican president left the White House, at a time when Trump himself declassified hundreds of documents.

Patel also said that the DOJ’s manner of retrieving the documents was unnecessary, as the former president had shown a willingness to return them. He said that, in particular, the Public Service Administration and the DOJ could have worked together to search for those files.

If Patel is correct, and the former president declassified these documents, the search would be completely out of order and in evidence. However, if the DOJ is not transparent, it will be impossible to know, and the questions Americans continue to ask will remain unanswered.

Emmanuel Alejandro Rondón is a journalist at El American specializing in the areas of American politics and media analysis // Emmanuel Alejandro Rondón es periodista de El American especializado en las áreas de política americana y análisis de medios de comunicación.

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