by Sharon Rondeau

(Aug. 27, 2022) — After a quiet Saturday morning, 45th President of the United States Donald J. Trump had much to say following Friday’s release of an affidavit provided to a federal court as justification for the August 8 FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago which Trump announced later that day.

His first comments Saturday were in the form of a question about FBI agents presumably dissatisfied with the agency’s current state of affairs, with Trump comparing it to when in 2016, then-FBI Director James Comey, who Trump fired in May 2017, publicly recommended Hillary Clinton not be prosecuted for sending and receiving classified information over an unsecured, non-governmental server set up in the basement of her Chappaqua, NY home when she was serving as secretary of state.

“When are the great Agents, and others, in the FBI going to say ‘we aren’t going to take it anymore,’ much as they did when James Comey read off a list of all of Crooked Hillary Clinton’s crimes, only to say that no reasonable prosecutor would prosecute,” Trump asked, omitting the question mark from his statement. “The wonderful people of the FBI went absolutely ‘nuts,’ so Comey had to backtrack and do a FAKE INVESTIGATION in order to keep them at bay. The end result, we won in 2016 (and did MUCH better in 2020!). But now the ‘Left’ has lost their minds!!!”

The affidavit, which was substantially redacted, showed the unidentified special agent attesting to the statements therein revealing that, “The government is conducting a criminal investigation concerning the improper removal and storage of classified information in unauthorized spaces, as well as the unlawful concealment or removal of government records.”

On February 9, 2022, the affidavit continued, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) asked the Justice Department to open an investigation into how “documents with classification markings and records” had been sent from the White House at the close of Trump’s term and stored at Mar-a-Lago found to be in materials within 15 boxes the agency received back from Mar-a-Lago at its request.

On Friday afternoon, some legal pundits remarked that in the unredacted portions of the affidavit, the case for conducting a raid on a former president’s home was unconvincing, while Fox News contributor and former chief of staff to President George W. Bush Karl Rove speculated that a member of the Secret Service on duty at Mar-a-Lago might have believed he observed illegal activity and carried out his “duty” to report it.

Trump and his attorneys claim he did nothing wrong and that all of the documents contained in the additional boxes FBI agents seized August 8 were declassified by Trump before he left office.

In a May 25 letter to Justice Department Chief of the Counterintelligence & Export Control Section Jay I. Bratt attached to the affidavit, Trump attorney Evan Corcoran indicated he was aware some type of investigation had been launched “into Presidential Records purportedly marked as classified among materials that were once in the White House and unknowingly included among the boxes brought to Mar-a-Lago by the movers.”

Trump’s voluntary return of the 15 boxes at issue at the time, Corcoran wrote, led to “leaks” which escalated “once the DOJ got involved.”

“A President Has Absolute Authority To Declassify Documents,” Corcoran asserted to Bratt on page 2, expounding that Article II, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution sets forth that, “The
President [is] Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States[.]”

Corcoran interpreted that to mean, “His constitutionally-based authority regarding the classification and declassification of documents is unfettered.” He then cited the 1988 case of Navy v. Egan and its judicial opinion stating that, “The President’s authority to classify and control access to information bearing on national security…flows primarily from this constitutional investment of power in the {resident and exists quite apart from any explicit congressional grant.”

His second point to Bratt reads, “Presidential Actions Involving Classified Documents Are Not Subject To Criminal Sanction” with the contention that, “Any attempt to impose criminal liability on a President or former President that involves his actions with respect to documents marked classified would implicate grave constitutional separation-of-powers issues. Beyond that, the primary criminal statute that governs the unauthorized removal and retention of classified documents or material does not apply to the President.”

Trump’s second remark Saturday focused on the mainstream media, which was willing to assert that his 2016 campaign had “colluded” with Russia in keeping with the FBI’s claims, while failing to retract its statements once that premise was not supported by a 22-month special counsel investigation commissioned by the Justice Department.

“The Fake News Media is devastated by how well TRUTH is doing so, quite on cue, they are working overtime to criticize and demean it,” Trump wrote, referring to recent media reports about TruthSocial’s alleged financial status. “Actually, many of the big guns in Washington, D.C., are fighting to stop the TRUTH but, they won’t be successful. They are going after the outside financial company, and virtually anybody that walks and breaths, but that won’t do it. They said it is doing worse since the Raid, but actually it is doing MUCH better, up more than 550%. We all love TRUTH!!!”

An August 26 article at The New York Post by Charles Gasparino and Eleanor Terrett of Fox Business reported, “Former President Donald Trump’s social media outfit, Truth Social, is locked in a bitter battle with one of its vendors claiming that the platform is stiffing the company out of more than $1 million in contractually obligated payments, FOX Business has learned,” citing “three people with direct knowledge of the matter.”

However, the authors added, “Since its launch in February, Truth Social has been the main conduit for the former president to make public announcements and attack critics. While its reach pales in comparison to Twitter’s estimated 200-million-plus active daily users, interest in the platform has peaked recently in the aftermath of the FBI raid on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence.”

In April, The Washington Post headlined, “Trump’s Truth Social in trouble as financial, technical woes mount.” On Friday, The Huffington Post, long an opponent of the 45th president, wrote that Trump’s “social media operation appears to be facing significant money problems just as it lost a bid to obtain a trademark,” citing Fox Business, where Gasparino and Terrett’s article first appeared.

Finally, Trump turned back to the events of August 8 with, “The Raid on my home, Mar-a-Lago, is one of the most egregious assaults on democracy in the history of our Country which is, by the way, going to places, in a very bad way, it has never seen before!”

“INVASION OF PRIVACY!!!” he added approximately 14 minutes later.

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