OPINION: This article contains commentary which may reflect the author's opinion
The raid on the home of former President Donald Trump and the subsequent documents seized are at the heart of a stalemate between the Biden FBI and Trump.
FBI officials say agents recovered around 100 items marked as ‘classified’ during the raid, though Trump has repeatedly said he previously declassified everything in his possession before leaving office per his authority as president.
In late August, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who served as one of Trump’s top lawyers and is himself a former federal prosecutor, responded to the Justice Department’s unsealing of the affidavit used to authorize the FBI’s raid.
In an interview with Newsmax TV’s Rita Cosby, Giuliani said that although the heavily redacted affidavit showed little to the public, he believes it revealed everything about how the raid and subsequent seizure of documents and items were illegal.
“This is a completely illegal warrant, for numerous reasons, that the least of which is it really isn’t a search warrant,” Giuliani told “Saturday Report,” going on to point out that the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution was designed to protect Americans from overly broad, invasive searches.
“This is a general search warrant. Search warrants are supposed to be for a specific thing,” he said.
Giuliani himself was raided by the FBI in late April 2021, with agents “seizing computers and cellphones in a major escalation of the Justice Department’s investigation into the business dealings” of the former NYC mayor, The Associated Press reported at the time.
“The affidavit they had for my search warrant — although discovered nothing illegal; thank God, everything got sent back to me — but at least it was narrow to electronics,” Giuliani said. “This, I mean, they took his passport. Everything here should be suppressed. In other words, I actually believe this could never be used in a criminal case.
“This is about as illegal search as you’re going to get,” he continued, adding that the Justice Department took its time to seek the raid though officials claimed that the situation at the former president’s estate was urgent.
“A warrant is supposed to be exigent circumstances — emergency — 11 days for an emergency?” Giuliani told Cosby. “And then the FBI took three days off to execute it, and this is important?
“Don’t we do things that are important, fast? Right? Don’t we do things that are unimportant, slow?” he asked.
Trump has requested a special master to review the documents alongside the FBI review, and finally, one has been agreed upon between the parties and appointed.
Fox News notes:
Former chief federal judge Raymond Dearie was appointed by Cannon, a Trump appointee, who declined a request by the Department of Justice to lift the temporary prohibition of the department’s usage of around 100 classified records which were taken from Mar-a-Lago during the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s search on Aug. 8.
The former veteran chief federal judge will review and separate documents that are covered by claims of privilege.
The Justice Department’s investigation, which is being delayed by the special master process, is reviewing documents recovered by the FBI during its search of Trump’s Florida property.
Dearie was first nominated to the federal bench in 1986 by then-President Ronald Reagan.
A former top U.S. spy chief has said he believes the FBI came up short during its Aug. 8 raid.
John Ratcliffe, a former U.S. congressman from Texas whom Trump tapped to serve as director of national intelligence, told Fox News last week that the bureau “didn’t find what they were looking” for, based on his observations.
“I was a former federal prosecutor, United States attorney. Let me tell you what this is about. Good prosecutors with good cases play it straight. They don’t need to play games,” Ratcliffe said, in reference to Justice Department officials. “They don’t need to shop for judges, they don’t need to leak intelligence that may or may not exist.”
The appointment of a special master would be usual in a case such as this.
The Justice Department’s arguments against having a federal court appoint a special master to review allegedly classified documents “tells you that the government didn’t find what they were looking for,” Ratcliffe continued.
“There weren’t nuclear secrets” at Trump’s estate, he noted further, “and they’re trying to justify what they’ve done. They’re not playing it straight before the American people. I think that that’s going to play out.”
Now the special master appointed by a federal judge to examine documents seized by the FBI during a raid on former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate last month has formally begun the process, Conservative Brief reports.
Judge Dearie, appointed by U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon earlier this month, has directed attorneys for the former president as well as the Justice Department to come to New York City for a “preliminary conference,” Fox News reported Friday.
Lawyers for the two parties are being asked to submit “proposed agenda items” to discuss by Sept. 19, the outlet added.