How to 'Reduce the Heat'

Monday, August 15, 2022

Over at Hot Air, Allahpundit does a fine job of answering Donald Trump's threatening question to the Attorney General regarding how his followers -- Trump's term! -- might react to the Mar-a-Lago raid.

What I like about the list is that it lays out for all just how ridiculous Trump's behavior has been on the matter of the classified documents every step of the way. I'll simply duplicate the list below:

Trump knows good and well how to turn his hand in the opposite direction. (Image by Kwon Junho, via Unsplash, license.)
  1. He could have returned all of the documents the first time the National Archives asked for them back.
  2. He could have returned them later when the DOJ subpoenaed them.
  3. Having failed to return them, he could have kept the search of Mar-a-Lago a secret. Remember, it wasn't the feds who announced it. Trump announced it on Truth Social because he recognized that the incident would benefit him politically. The FBI even carried out the search dressed in civilian clothing so as not to alert bystanders as to what was happening. Trump alerted the country because he wanted to raise "the heat."
  4. He could now call on his followers to chill out before one of them kills someone, as nearly happened a few days ago in Cincinnati.
  5. He could, at the very, very least, refrain from further inflaming the situation... [links omitted]
This man's half-calculated, half-erratic behavior before, during, and after the 2020 election should alarm people across the political spectrum. It is a disgrace that the Republican Party seems content to remain his lapdogs.

Furthermore, if the current administration has legal grounds to bar Trump from running for office and fails to pursue them, it will be at least equally wrong. On that last score, I am afraid they will be tempted to stop short of doing so, as I have explained before.

The fact that the Democrats specialize in inciting riots does not mean that the proper response is to do the same thing. Not, at least, for anyone who values the freedom and prosperity that come with law, order, and government protection of individual rights.

-- CAV


Unknown said...

There is no legal basis to keep Trump from running in 2024. The Constitution sets out the standards to be met to run for president. You would need an amendment to change that.

Gus Van Horn said...

You would appear to be right, at least based on this USA Today story, which has a few experts weigh in on the matter.

Greg said...

Gus, if the documents were not classified then why were they subpoenaed? The article you link to said the subpoena did not rely on the classification status of the documents.

If the government is compelling the production of documents it is supposed to be in furtherance of a criminal investigation. So here is the question: What crime was committed that was being investigated by the issuance of a subpoena? If the DOJ has no reason to believe a crime has been committed they have no business compelling anything.

I fear this is another case typical of regulation (not law) in which the government uses its power to coerce—not to find the guilty party who committed a known crime—rather in the hopes of finding a crime they can pin on a targeted unpopular person.

Gus Van Horn said...

I am not sure I understand your question: Whatever motivated this search would not necessarily depend on whether documents included in the warrant were classified or not, although if they find classified documents, that would be a crime on its own.

This is not a story I have followed closely, but I recall two things I can think of to have motivated your question. (1) Trump asserted at some point that he declassified the documents via a "standing order" he didn't actually have to authority to give, and (2) Trump himself signed a law or order stiffening the penalty for being in possession of classified information.

Greg said...

Allow me to explain with a conventional example. As a lawyer I can issue subpoenas for the production of documents. But I can’t just wake up one morning and say I’d like to Joe’s medical records. If I had been in a car accident with Joe with injuries and we sued each other then the pending court case would give each of us the authority to subpoena relevant medical records.

Hopefully the DOJ can’t just decide one day to raid a citizen’s home to get records in the hopes they will find evidence of a crime. By what authority did the DOJ issue a subpoena?

My question is not motivated by the classification status of the records.

Gus Van Horn said...

I don't know why they searched Mar-a-Lago, but apparently the search affadavit was sealed.

I share your hope that they had a solid reason to do so and acted in accordance with the law.