Home United States USA — Criminal The FBI search of Mar-a-Lago instantly became entangled with politics

The FBI search of Mar-a-Lago instantly became entangled with politics


The news was a reminder of the unprecedented stakes should the Department of Justice seek to indict Donald Trump.
It wasn’t until the fourth sentence of Donald Trump’s lengthy statement revealing an FBI search of his Florida estate Mar-a-Lago that the former president suggested that politics were at play. From that sentence on, however, politics was inextricably entwined with the law enforcement action — precisely as Trump would likely have hoped.
Trump’s effort to paint the search as political covered multiple dimensions at once.
“It is prosecutorial misconduct, the weaponization of the Justice System, and an attack by Radical Left Democrats,” Trump wrote, “who desperately don’t want me to run for President in 2024, especially based on recent polls, and who will likewise do anything to stop Republicans and Conservatives in the upcoming Midterm Elections.”
That’s three things: The FBI’s search is an attack by Democrats (1) because they fear Trump in 2024 because of polling (2) and they want to damage Republicans in the midterms (3). And that’s just the first politics-focused sentence of several in the statement he published on his social-messaging platform.
It’s important to note that there is no reason to think the FBI’s action was triggered by politics. On the contrary, the default assumption should more reasonably be that the decision to search Mar-a-Lago received unusual consideration given the significance of searching the property of a former president and demi-presidential candidate.
The reported that “agents were conducting a court-authorized search as they probe the potential mishandling of classified documents that were shipped to Mar-a-Lago,” according to someone familiar with the investigation. “Court-authorized” means a federal judge signed off on a warrant. So not only did the FBI — and probably Attorney General Merrick Garland — have to decide to move forward with the politically volatile search. They had to convince a judge that it was justified. In other words, a third party reviewed and approved the request to seize potential evidence — evidence that investigators were confident existed.

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