Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Trump Demand 'Special Master,' Blue Wave Faltering

Jerry Dunleavy at WaEx reports on Trump v. United States: Former president files lawsuit to block DOJ reviewing raid evidence, demands 'special master' to review. Seems a reasonable request.

Former President Donald Trump has filed a lawsuit demanding the appointment of a special master to review any evidence independently that the FBI seized from him as he pushes back against the unprecedented raid of Mar-a-Lago.

Trump filed the motion on Monday seeking an order from a judge to appoint a special master and stop the Justice Department from further review of the information they had seized from his Florida resort home until the special master is appointed. Trump also asked the judge to require the DOJ to provide a more detailed receipt for the property it had seized from him and to order federal investigators to return all items to him that had been taken but were outside the search warrant’s scope.

Ben Whedon at JTN, Trump files motion challenging FBI search warrant, demands 'special master' review documents, "Trump has previously asserted that all of the documents were declassified by a standing order he imposed." John Sexton at Haut Hair, Trump's legal team files lawsuit to have special master review seized documents. Sundance at CTH, President Trump Asks Court to Appoint Special Master to Review Seized Documents. The Peacock whines, Trump sues to block DOJ from reviewing materials FBI seized at Mar-a-Lago until watchdog appointed

Matt Margolis at PJ Media,  REVEALED: Biden White House Directly Involved in Conspiracy to Entrap Trump in Criminal FBI Probe. 'Bonchie' at Red State also reports Memos Show Joe Biden Tried to Entrap Donald Trump Over 'Classified' Documents

With the “crime” pinpointed, the National Archives and the DOJ still needed a legal hook, and apparently, they got it by directly coordinating with the Biden administration. That’s been revealed via memos reviewed by Just The News.
The memos show then-White House Deputy Counsel Jonathan Su was engaged in conversations with the FBI, DOJ and National Archives as early as April, shortly after 15 boxes of classified and other materials were voluntarily returned to the federal historical agency from Trump’s Florida home.

By May, Su conveyed to the Archives that President Joe Biden would not object to waiving his predecessor’s claims to executive claims, a decision that opened the door for DOJ to get a grand jury to issue a subpoena compelling Trump to turn over any remaining materials he possessed from his presidency.

The machinations are summarized in several memos and emails exchanged between the various agencies in spring 2022, months before the FBI took the added unprecedented step of raiding Trump’s Florida compound with a court-issued search warrant. . . .
My colleague Matt Margolis over at PJ Media describes what happened here as entrapment, and I concur in principle. That’s exactly what this looks like. Trump had done what many presidents before him had done, which is to claim executive privilege over documents originating from his administration. The idea that a later president, specifically a political rival, could then waive that, allowing a criminal investigation to snap into place is insane, but that’s what happened here.

Sundance again with a Report, Congressional Gang of Eight Wants to See FBI Affidavit and Trump’s Evidence Against Them Contained in Confiscated Documents from Mar-a-Lago Raid "If Donald Trump has evidence of the corruption in the Trump-Russia collusion fabrication and targeting effort, there would be evidence of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) participating in joint-effort with the DOJ and FBI." Insty, ALL THE INSTITUTIONS HAVE BEEN CORRUPTED: WSJ: The Trump Warrant Had No Legal Basis: A former president’s rights under the Presidential Records Act trump the statutes the FBI cited to justify the Mar-a-Lago raid.

The warrant authorized the FBI to seize “all physical documents and records constituting evidence, contraband, fruits of crime, or other items illegally possessed in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§793, 2071, or 1519” (emphasis added). These three criminal statutes all address the possession and handling of materials that contain national-security information, public records or material relevant to an investigation or other matters properly before a federal agency or the courts.
The materials to be seized included “any government and/or Presidential Records created between January 20, 2017, and January 20, 2021”—i.e., during Mr. Trump’s term of office. Virtually all the materials at Mar-a-Lago are likely to fall within this category. Federal law gives Mr. Trump a right of access to them. His possession of them is entirely consistent with that right, and therefore lawful, regardless of the statutes the FBI cites in its warrant.

Those statutes are general in their text and application. But Mr. Trump’s documents are covered by a specific statute, the Presidential Records Act of 1978. It has long been the Supreme Court position, as stated in Morton v. Mancari (1974), that “where there is no clear intention otherwise, a specific statute will not be controlled or nullified by a general one, regardless of the priority of enactment.” The former president’s rights under the PRA trump any application of the laws the FBI warrant cites. . . .

Nothing in the PRA suggests that the former president’s physical custody of his records can be considered unlawful under the statutes on which the Mar-a-Lago warrant is based. Yet the statute’s text makes clear that Congress considered how certain criminal-law provisions would interact with the PRA: It provides that the archivist is not to make materials available to the former president’s designated representative “if that individual has been convicted of a crime relating to the review, retention, removal, or destruction of records of the Archives.”

Ah yes, the Sandy Berger rule. 

Nothing is said about the former president himself, but applying these general criminal statutes to him based on his mere possession of records would vitiate the entire carefully balanced PRA statutory scheme. Thus if the Justice Department’s sole complaint is that Mr. Trump had in his possession presidential records he took with him from the White House, he should be in the clear, even if some of those records are classified.

In making a former president’s records available to him, the PRA doesn’t distinguish between materials that are and aren’t classified. That was a deliberate choice by Congress.

Matt Margolis, Judge Who Approved Mar-a-Lago Raid Makes HUGE Admission. “The Government argues that even requiring it to redact portions of the Affidavit that could not reveal agent identities or investigative sources and methods imposes an undue burden on its resources and sets a precedent that could be disruptive and burdensome in future cases,” Reinhart wrote. “I do not need to reach the question of whether, in some other case, these concerns could justify denying public access; they very well might.” Herr Professor Jacobsen at LI, New Order In Mar-a-Lago Raid Case: Feds Proved “Compelling Interest” In Keeping Warrant Affidavit Sealed, But Court Still Requires Proposed Redactions "What to read into this? It seems the Magistrate may be going wobbly. By holding out the possibility that he may change his mind, the Magistrate has incentivized the feds to engage in almost complete redaction to render the released document meaningless. Don’t expect much at the end of this process." John Bolton at WaEx, Addressing the Mar-a-Lago affidavit challenge "With that in mind, on the affidavit itself, there is an alternative to all-out trench warfare over "redaction" versus "no redaction." Namely, to paraphrase where possible what the actual affidavit says."

An interesting site new to me, with a couple of interesting posts, The Optimistic Conservative, with Here’s motive on the Mar-a-Lago raid; or, Dog-paddling outside the OODA loop and Two pings on the FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago: Classification kerfuffle and Trump’s RICO suit, "Knowing much that isn’t so, and other adventures." Essentially proposes that the Mar-a-Lago raid was an attempt to get the Russiagate material that Trump had declassified out of his hands before a civil suit he had filed against certain actors in the government was to go to court.

This section, we really will keep brief. I want to address just three points. One of them is pretty big, but has gotten little if any attention. It’s at the end,

The first and easiest is that Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart – of Jeffrey Epstein defense fame – signed off on the Mar-a-Lago warrant for the U.S. District of Southern Florida a mere 44 days after recusing himself from the Trump RICO case against Hillary Clinton et al. The list of recusals on the Trump RICO suit is impressive. The first magistrate judge to be assigned recused the day after the case was filed in March 2022. Reinhart himself was put on the case as magistrate judge in April because his predecessor recused. Since Reinhart, three more magistrate judges have recused (here, here, and here). The current magistrate judge, Patrick M. Hunt, has hung in there for about five weeks now.

But the RICO suit has a very interesting factor of its own to enliven this recusal history. The day before Reinhart recused (that is, 21 June 2022), Trump’s counsel filed an amended complaint. The original complaint was entered in March 2022; the amended complaint is a humdinger, more than doubling the number of facts asserted in evidence.

I haven’t had time to go through all the added facts (many of which, like the originals, come from John Durham’s court filings). The amended complaint also added some defendants. It was after this filing that the exit parade of magistrate judges began.

That brings us to the second point. Also ensuing on the filing of the amended Trump complaint was a request from the U.S. Department of Justice (“United States”) to substitute itself as defendant for five of the original defendants: Comey, McCabe, Strzok, (Lisa) Page, and Clinesmith. The request was filed 14 July 2022.

Said U.S. Attorney Juan Antonio Gonzalez: “Because plaintiff’s tort claims [against the five defendants] are based upon conduct within the scope of these former FBI employees’ employment with the government, the United States is the sole and exclusive defendant for those claims. … The Court should substitute the United States as defendant for James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, and Kevin Clinesmith.”

Then, inevitably: “Upon substitution, the Court should dismiss the United States [as a defendant] for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.”

Interestingly, the judge has accepted the substitution, but has not (as yet?) accepted the dismissal of the US as a defendant. For all that I follow this stuff, this seems like the first I have heard of this RICO suit.

Via the Wombat's In The Mailbox: 08.22.22, Ari Kaufman at the Lid says Garland Better Deliver The Goods Or He And FBI Are Forever Tarnished. At Fox, GOP gov. says Biden, Garland should have anticipated Americans’ response to raid: ‘morons’, "New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu blasted Biden and Garland for their 'lack of transparency.'" Breitbart notes Sources say GSA Packed Boxes of Documents Trump Brought to Mar-a-Lago, Not Trump Political Staffers, probably in accordance with practices from previous administrations. How inconvenient to the narrative. 

Via the Wombat's In The Mailbox: 08.22.22, Da Tech Guy: The FBI Poll, Consequences, and Some Semantics, "Question: What do you get when the FBI starting acting like the Biden Administration’s personal Gestapo? Answer: A majority of the people deciding that’s what you are."

MSNBC responds with a puff piece on Merrick Garland Trump's FBI tirade should not be Merrick Garland's problem. Conrad Black at Am Mind thinks the  FBI Goes Rogue. Ian Haworth says The FBI Is The Worst, and provides a long list of examples. Nick Giordano at Da Fed claims it's Not Just The FBI: Institutions Across The Board Have Forfeited America’s Trust and John Tobin worries that Mike Pence Is Wrong. DOJ And FBI Rot Spreads Way Deeper Than Garland. Bob Spencer, Tone-Deaf Pence: ‘Attacks on the FBI Must Stop'. No one and nothing is above criticism. Rich Lowry at NYT (cited at Haut Hair) writes A defense of GOP paranoia, to an audience that won't listen, I'm sure.

The Russia investigation was a national fiasco that brought discredit on the F.B.I. and everyone who participated in it. The probe prominently featured a transparently ridiculous dossier generated by the Clinton campaign, eventually spinning into a special-counsel investigation that became, to some significant extent, about itself and whether Mr. Trump was guilty of obstruction. People who should have known better got caught up in the feeding frenzy and speculated that “the walls were closing in” on Mr. Trump, or that he might have been a Russian asset going back decades.

It all came to naught with almost no one expressing any regret about the unnecessary, yearslong psychodrama. It would be better if more people acknowledged — life being complicated — that even someone you hate and fear can be treated unfairly.

Brad Slager at Red State, Have You Wondered What Has Become of That Gretchen Whitmer Kidnap Plot? The FBI Would Rather You Forget - Here’s Why. Natalia Mittelstadt at JTN, FBI Detroit chief during bungled Whitmer 'plot' sting now runs DC office that raided Mar-a-Lago. "Steven D'Antuono ran the Detroit field office when, trial testimony alleges, it instigated, encouraged and facilitated what the government charges was a plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer." Jazz Shaw at Haut Hair notes Retrial in Whitmer kidnapping hoax heading to the jury. "All of the men involved were definitely active online and they opposed the government lockdowns and vaccine mandates. But posting rhetoric on Facebook is speech. The real conspiracy was actually constructed by FBI agents and some of their paid informants. They recruited the men for a plan that clearly didn’t even seem to exist before they came along and looked for dissidents who might go along with it."

At WaEx, Jared Kushner thinks Trump 'drives his enemies so crazy, they always over-pursue him'. To be fair, they were crazy before he came on the scene, he just provoked them to go public. "His fiercest critics really accuse him of breaking norms," he continued. "But what we're seeing here and what we've seen constantly over time is that they do that exact thing. They break all the norms in order to try to get Trump." At City Journal, Trump Derangement Won’t End with Trump "Whoever replaces Trump in the GOP will be just as bad—you can count on it."

I&I on Biden’s Basement: Just 30% Of Dems Want Him As Their Nominee In 2024, While 53% Of Republicans Want Trump — TIPP Poll. From NYPo, concern that Biden takes two-week break as vacation time outstrips Trump, Obama, Bush. It's not like he's really running things anyway. Steve McCann at Am Think thinks about Joe Biden and the Ides of August. At PM, 97 percent of execs say US in recession despite Biden's definition change, "Only three percent believe the US could conceivably avoid a recession within the next 18 months." Capt. Ed at Haut Hair notes "Wrong direction" on steroids: Gallup hits new all-time high in "suffering" index. At Am Power, Gallup: Poor Life Ratings Reach Record High "We're in a Carteresque malaise." Ace, NBC "News" Poll: 74% of Americans Say We're on the Wrong Track; All-Time High Say America's Best Days Are Behind It, "This is the longest period during which over 70% of the public has said we're on the wrong track -- nearly a year." When a liberal loses California, Poll: 61% of California Voters Oppose Biden Running Again. RNC Research@RNCResearch, "NBC’s Chuck Todd: “Americans are angry, they’re disappointed, and they are worried about the future of this country.”

CNN analyzes, Pence's 2024 hopes loom over potential testimony to Jan. 6 committee. What hopes? Paul Bedard at WaEx, thinks the Iowa caucus poll dog-whistles for others to get in. Maybe, but it's just Iowa.

He has Biden leading Democrats with just 42% and Trump at 38%, a sign Shaftan said that party regulars are eager for another choice.

“With two de facto incumbents scoring way under 50% with their own party faithful and, worse, 56% in both parties not mentioning either as first-, second-, or third-place choices, it’s highly unlikely either will win the Iowa caucus or eventually be their party’s nominee in 2024 should either choose to run,” said Shaftan.

Twitchy thinks it's Gotta STING: ‘Trump 93%’ trends as Lefties kick Liz Cheney to the curb in a HUGE WAY now that’s she’s no longer useful to them.   'Bonchie' relates how Liz Cheney Fully Jumps the Shark With Announcement About Mid-Terms. At Da Mail, Liz Cheney announces PAC with sole focus of preventing MAGA candidates from reaching office. That will get her back in good graces with the base. Not. AllahPundit at Haut Hair pleased as punch, Cheney: I'm coming for all the election deniers, except the ones that are Democrats, like her butt buddy Raskin. At Da Blaze, Liz Cheney vows to support opponents of election-denying Republicans – even if it means helping to elect Democrats. As Sundance puts it, Liz Cheney Creates PAC for Sole Purpose of Removing Republicans from Office and Supporting Democrats. Via the Wombat's In The Mailbox: 08.22.22, the Victory Girls is onto Liz Cheney’s Scorched Earth PAC Against MAGA Republicans. At Da Fed, Dave Harsanyi, calls The ‘Election Denier’ Smear Is The Dumbest Rhetorical Device In Modern Politics, a high bar, indeed.

At RCP, Chuck Todd: "Is It Time To Actually Believe That The Democrats Can Keep The House?" At Am Think, Vince Coyner thinks The GOP Is Doing Its Best To Lose The November Election. Bloomberg, Democrats Sense New Optimism for Blunting GOP’s Midterm Gains.

Breitbart reports an NBC Poll: Republicans Gain Ground on the Generic Congressional Ballot. 'Bonchie' at Red State claims The Democrat 'Comeback' Is Crashing and Burning. Capt. Ed, Midterm Dems to flopping "Scranton Joe": Don't stand so close to me

Buck Throckmorton at Ace's is amused by Using Billboards to Expose the Woke Agenda. Jim Geraghty at NR (cited by Haut Hair), want to know Who's not helping the 2022 GOP Senate candidates? Mitch McConnell. Mollie Hemingway at Da Fed begs Come On, Mitch McConnell, Republicans Need You To Step Up And Lead, probably in vain. AllahPundit sees an Arizona MAGA Senate candidate take a Second look at Mitch McConnell? From Twitchy, Matt Whitlock DROPS CNN for whining about ‘conservative dark money’ while literally QUOTING a leftist dark-money Soros operative. At the Miami Herald, See how party affiliation has changed in Florida since the 2018 primary elections Redder and redder. 

At the Wa Free Bee, ‘Abuse of Your Mayoral Authority’: Fetterman Allegedly Ordered Cop To Dig Up Dirt on Political Rival and Progressive South Texas Candidate Admits to Misleading Voters About Radical Views, "Michelle Vallejo says she's still a progressive, she just doesn't want voters to know." At Da Caller, Top Jerry Nadler Staffer Has Been ‘Violating’ Federal Law For Years, Complaint Alleges and NY Dem Accused Of Committing Campaign Finance Violations Prior To Special Election

Paul Gottfried at Am Great asks Why Vote for Leftist Republicans? "A woke Republicanism could not even meet a minimal standard of a “conservatism of expediency.”" As a Maryland Republican, I disagree; Hogan was clearly better than the Democrat alternatives, if only on the margins. 

Margot Cleveland at Da Fed reports Georgia DA Runs Headlong Into First Amendment In Anti-Trump Crusade Against Lindsey Graham. "The weaponization of a grand jury by state-level Democrats presents no less of a breach of the Rubicon than the Trump Mar-a-Lago raid."

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