A newly published letter reveals insight as to who knew what in the case of the FBI raid on the Trump family home in Florida.
Acting Archivist Debra Steidel Wall sent a letter to Trump attorney Evan Corcoran — published late Monday by JustTheNews.
On that date, JustTheNews reported, Corcoran wrote to National Archives general counsel Gary Stern requesting the handover be further held up “until we have had the opportunity to review the documents and to consult with President Donald J. Trump so that he may personally make any decision to assert a claim of constitutionally based privilege.”
In the May 10 letter, Wall rejected that claim, writing that Supreme Court precedent “strongly suggests that a former President may not successfully assert executive privilege ‘against the very Executive Branch in whose name the privilege is invoked.’”
Wall added that the Justice Department “has advised me that there is no precedent for an assertion of executive privilege by a former President against an incumbent President to prevent the latter from obtaining … Presidential records belonging to the Federal Government where ‘such records contain information that is needed for the conduct of current business of the incumbent President’s office and that is not otherwise available.’”
“I have therefore decided not to honor the former President’s ‘protective’ claim of privilege,” Wall wrote, after making clear that her letter bore Biden’s imprimatur: “The Counsel to the President has informed me that, in light of the particular circumstances presented here, President Biden defers to my determination, in consultation with the Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel, regarding whether or not I should uphold the former President’s purported ‘protective assertion of executive privilege.’”
The assistant attorney general in question, Christopher Schroeder, was confirmed to the post in October of last year and also worked for the DOJ in the Clinton and Obama administrations.
“For the same reasons, I have concluded that there is no reason to grant your request for a further delay before the FBI and others in the Intelligence Community begin their reviews,” Wall told Corcoran. “Accordingly, [the Archives] will provide the FBI access to the records in question, as requested by the incumbent President, beginning as early as Thursday, May 12, 2022.”
“’Access to the materials is not only necessary for purposes of our ongoing criminal investigation, but the Executive Branch must also conduct an assessment of the potential damage resulting from the apparent manner in which these materials were stored and transported and take any necessary remedial steps,’” Wall quoted the DOJ’s National Security Division as saying. “’Accordingly, we are seeking immediate access to these materials so as to facilitate the necessary assessments that need to be conducted within the Executive Branch.’”
The National Archives and White House did not immediately respond to The Post’s inquiry seeking clarification as to whether Biden signed off on the initial April 11 note from the White House counsel’s office.
The day after Wall’s letter, May 11, a grand jury issued a subpoena for the documents in question.
On June 3, DOJ and FBI officials arrived at Mar-a-Lago seizing 27 boxes of materials, including 11 sets of classified documents that were labeled top secret, secret, or confidential, according to an inventory list later made public by Reinhart.
Former President Trump has repeatedly stated that the documents were declassified, and therefore no longer classified before he left the Oval Office.
The White House has insisted Biden was unaware of the Mar-a-Lago raid until it happened although the search warrant was approved by AG Merrick Garland.
“He learned about it, really, like all of us did. I’m sure maybe someone on his team flagged it for him, but he was not aware,” press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Aug. 9.
“What I can tell you definitively and for sure: He was not aware of this. He was — we were — nobody in the White House was. We were not given a heads-up, and we did not know about — about what happened yesterday,” she added.
Republican lawmakers expressed outrage Wednesday, claiming Wall’s letter proves that the White House was lying when it said Biden was unaware of the raid, The New York Post reports.
” 1. White House staff has repeatedly claimed there was “no prior knowledge” of the raid. Clearly, that was a lie,” Rep. Brian Mast (R-Fla.) tweeted. “2. Joe Biden has not said a word about it in two weeks. What else is he trying to hide from the American people?”
” We KNEW Biden had to be lying when he said he didn’t know about the Trump raid,” Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) posted. “Now the truth is coming out.”
The May 10 missive by Wall to Corcoran states:
The White House counsel’s office, “affirming a request from the Department of Justice supported by an FBI letterhead memorandum,” asked the National Archives on April 11 to “provide the FBI access to the 15 boxes for its review within seven days.”
This confirms that the White House did know about the matter.