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Report: FBI Was Against Mar-a-Lago Raid, Argued With DOJ Prosecutors

Report: FBI Was Against Mar-a-Lago Raid, Argued With DOJ Prosecutors

WaPo: “clashes in a tense tug of war between two arms of the Justice Department over how aggressively to pursue a criminal investigation of a former president….”

I’m so old, I remember when leaks to The Washington Post and other NeverTrump media about the Mar-a-Lago raid (but don’t call it a “raid”) were all negative to Donald Trump – nuclear secrets blah blah blah, no choice but to send 20+ FBI agents because of the risk of the documents falling into foreign hands, etc.

Oh, how times have changed. Now that it turns out Joe Biden had classified documents dating back to his Senate days in multiple locations, and FBI searches were arranged without a show of force, and even Mike Pence got caught Sandy-Bergering stuff, well, now maybe that raid was a tad unnecessary. That’s the gist of a leak to WaPo, Showdown before the raid: FBI agents and prosecutors argued over Trump. Notice, WaPo used the R word (raid):

Months of disputes between Justice Department prosecutors and FBI agents over how best to try to recover classified documents from Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club and residence led to a tense showdown near the end of July last year, according to four people familiar with the discussions.

Prosecutors argued that new evidence suggested Trump was knowingly concealing secret documents at his Palm Beach, Fla., home and urged the FBI to conduct a surprise raid at the property. But two senior FBI officials who would be in charge of leading the search resisted the plan as too combative and proposed instead to seek Trump’s permission to search his property, according to the four people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe a sensitive investigation.

Prosecutors ultimately prevailed in that dispute, one of several previously unreported clashes in a tense tug of war between two arms of the Justice Department over how aggressively to pursue a criminal investigation of a former president….

On one side, federal prosecutors in the department’s national security division advocated aggressive ways to secure some of the country’s most closely guarded secrets, which they feared Trump was intentionally hiding at Mar-a-Lago; on the other, FBI agents in the Washington field office urged more caution with such a high-profile matter, recommending they take a cooperative rather than confrontational approach….

Prosecutors countered that the FBI failing to treat Trump as it had other government employees who were not truthful about classified records could threaten the nation’s security. As evidence surfaced suggesting that Trump or his team was holding back sensitive records, the prosecutors pushed for quick action to recover them, according to the people familiar with the discussions.

Jonathan Turley notes:

A number of us expressed surprise later that presidential records were such a focus of a criminal indictment. Presidential record disputes are ordinarily administrative or civil matters. It turns out that the FBI itself shared that unease.

While it took long negotiations, the Trump team had previously turned over boxes of material to the National Archives. In January of that year, they returned 15 boxes of government records, including 184 classified documents consisting of 700 pages. The Trump team had also agreed to give the FBI access to the storage room and complied with directions on adding security to the room.

When classified documents were found by both Biden and Pence after the Trump raid, they were also not subject to search warrants but allowed to have counsel look for additional classified material. In all three cases, the FBI seemed to approach the controversies as collection rather than criminal efforts.

However, Bratt and the other main Justice officials were unwilling to seek a consensual raid and maintained that the Trump team might move to hide or destroy evidence. Such actions would, of course, constitute serious federal crimes.

The fact is that highly classified documents were found at Mar-a-Lago and past representations made by counsel were later challenged by the FBI as false. The Justice Department told the court that it believes that there was an effort to obstruct their investigation.

What is striking about the report is the preference, yet again, for the Justice Department to take the DEFCON 1 option over other alternatives in a matter involving Trump.

Now there are special counsel involved, and the media has kinda sorta moved on from what at the time was declared the crime of the century.


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PrincetonAl | March 2, 2023 at 7:52 pm

“Please don’t reform or reduce our funding, it was all that evil DoJ, not us. AG Garland made us do it.”

Yeah, not buying the spin.

The leadership and and corrupt roots of both organization need to be ripped out entirely.

    I seem to recall that when first confronted over the Mar-a-Lago raid, Garland said the decision was made by the FBI. Wray then bounced the blame right back at the DOJ who then admitted it was their decision. But it wasn’t really the FBI at Wray’s level that protested the DOJ order but the agents assigned to protect Mar-a-Lago and the former POTUS and made the FBI agents balk.

    There always seems to be confusion at the top with these guys. I believe Wray and Garland are not the decision makers any more than is Biden. It’s the Obama plants in the DOJ and Susan Rice in the WH. Biden, Wray and Garland may not even have been in the loop because they sure seem as befuddled as Karine Jean-Pierre when asked to clarify. This truly is a hollow shell of an administration.


Funny how not a single peep of a single one of the so-called ‘good men and women’ from the FBI being against the raid came up until they were going to be forced to answer pointed questions from a Republican Congress.

And it came out by them leaking to the Washington Post? The patron saint of liberal propaganda rags?

The FBI is utterly beyond repair and it needs to be completely disbanded.

Yet, the jack-booted scumbags did it anyway. “Integrity”.

henrybowman | March 2, 2023 at 9:14 pm

Smells like this week’s agenda at the FBI is to plump for an amnesty from the citizenry, what with this thing, and the Wuhan thing, and likely one more thing to hit the street in tomorrow’s news. Good try, but I’m not inclined.
Does it feel like they’re trying to get out ahead of Tucker? Uh huh.

Subotai Bahadur | March 2, 2023 at 9:16 pm

What are the odds of the FBI telling the truth to the American people about anything? After the history of the last decade plus, they are not good.

Subotai Bahadur

This entire stunt raid was a lawless, vindictive and indefensible vendetta initiated by a Dumb-o-crat fanatic and Trump-hater at the National Archives, with the goal of further vilifying President Trump and embroiling him in controversy. The idea that the raid was justified in any way, shape or form is absurd.

I am not a lawyer, but doesn’t it taint the case when prosecutors become investigators? Don’t prosecutors that control the investigation lose some sort of immunity from bad faith investigations and bad faith actions when they are driving the investigation??

I also remember the FBI punishing agents who criticized the raid. This smells like revisionist history.

    henrybowman in reply to maxmillion. | March 3, 2023 at 7:20 am

    “We pointed the guns at people… but we really didn’t want to.”
    If everybody in the federal government credibly subject to a Nuremberg charge were to be put in one room, DC would need a bigger stadium.

Trump 2024

Of course there were

The fact is that highly classified documents were found at Mar-a-Lago

He was the President, he’s allowed to have classified info amd he’s the one that can declassify

This was all vindictive.. period

Because all things Trump

If we were to be perfectly consistent, how many other presidents have overdue library books, and how many public employees (e.g. VP) were never authorized to check out books.

From the WaPo(oh) article: “Prosecutors countered that the FBI failing to treat Trump as it had other government employees who were not truthful about classified records could threaten the nation’s security.”

You mean like Hillary Clinton, who gathered classified communications in an insecure system that was accessible to who knows how many foreign intelligence agencies?

There was a press conference of over an hour to lay out the evidence against Clinton, with a conclusion at the very end of “but we won’t do anything, because Hillary”.

Yeah, that’s nice but the FBI still did that dog and pony show didn’t they. The FBI Director could have shown some backbone and refused to play the game but he didn’t. Just one more Deep State weasel that needs to be sent to the gulag

BierceAmbrose | March 6, 2023 at 4:55 pm

They were against the raid before they were for it?