After an unprecedented search of former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence, some are calling for a dismantling or defunding of the FBI and DOJ.
Trump Mar-a-Lago FBI search and seizure
On Monday August 8, 2022, Donald Trump's Palm Beach Home came under siege of the FBI. The search reportedly focused on locating and retrieving classified material. According to reports the FBI took 11 sets of classified material.
"The government could have had whatever they wanted, if we had it," Trump said. "Everything was fine, better than most previous Presidents, and then, out of nowhere and with no warning, Mar-a-Lago was raided, at 6:30 in the morning, by VERY large numbers of agents, and even 'safecrackers.'" Donald Trump/Truth Social
The unsealed search warrant revealed Trump may be under investigation for potential obstruction of justice and Espionage Act violations.
Presidents have absolute authority to declassify documents and Trump claims he declassified all of the documents found at Mar-a-Lago.
In a statement given to Just the News on Friday, Trump said the classified materials the FBI seized from his Mar-a-Lago estate were declassified under a "standing order" while he was president that allowed him to take sensitive materials to the White House residence at night to keep working.
What is the Presidential Records Act?
The President Records Act established presidential records are the property of the U.S. government that must be preserved and that these records are not the president's private property.
The Presidential Records Act does not contain criminal penalties. According to Politifact, while a president must "take all such steps as may be necessary" to preserve certain documentary materials, the act does not include a criminal penalty for removing or destroying these records.
Politization of the FBI and Department of Justice
"There is a lack of trust on the right, right now, with the FBI. And I think the way they went about this, the fact that they went about this, and especially if the FBI did this only looking for documents, it is really going to create even deeper divisions in the country," -Mick Mulvaney Former Trump White House acting chief of staff
Almost immediately after the search some in the GOP were comparing the Mar-a-Lago raid to the handling of the Hillary Clinton email scandal.
When Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State, she used a private email server for official public communications rather than using official State Department email accounts maintained on federal servers.
Clinton's server was found to hold over 100 emails containing classified information, including 65 emails deemed "Secret" and 22 deemed "Top Secret". An additional 2,093 emails not marked classified were retroactively designated confidential by the State Department. (Source)
On July 5, 2016, then-FBI Director James Comey announced the bureau's recommendation that the United States Department of Justice file no criminal charges relating to the Hillary Clinton email controversy. Comey called Secretary Clinton's behavior "extremely careless” but concluded that "no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case.
Some are pointing to the difference in which Hillary Clinton’s email controversy was handled and the raid on Mar-a- Lago as evidence of a deep state that treats Democrats and Republicans differently.
Comparisons to the ongoing investigation into Hunter Biden's laptop and the lack of interventions thus far are also GOP talking points against the fairness and impartiality of the FBI/DOJ.
Defund the FBI
This incident has caused a political firestorm and as expected reactions to it fall along party lines.
What the heck are you talking about? No one is above the law. Not even your idol Trump. You know how presidents avoid having the FBI raid their homes? DON’T steal classified documents, intimidate witnesses or try to overturn an election. Twitter User
You break the law, stuff is going to happen. It doesn’t mean corruption, it means no one is above the law. The DOJ and FBI would not have done this unless they were 100% sure they would get what they were looking for. Twitter User
Federal Bureau of Investigations
The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s mission is to protect the American people and uphold the Constitution of the United States and is the nation's lead federal law enforcement agency for investigating and preventing acts of domestic and international terrorism.
The FBI’s investigative authority is the broadest of all federal law enforcement agencies. The FBI has divided its investigations into a number of programs, such as domestic and international terrorism, foreign counterintelligence, cybercrime, public corruption, civil rights, organized crime/drugs, white-collar crime, violent crimes and major offenders.
History of FBI controversies
Since its inception the FBI has seen many controversies including allegedly keeping files on U.S. citizens, domestic surveillance, and covert operations on political groups such as the COINTELPRO program.