Securing a federal search warrant against a former U.S. president is no easy task.
A legal expert told Insider that agents must prove a very high degree of probable cause.
“Trump is in serious legal trouble,” former federal prosecutor Gene Rossi told an insider.
For months, the Justice Department has faced criticism for its slow and measured approach to investigating the former president as new details about the demise of the Trump administration emerged.
over and over again Attorney General Merrick Garland responded to the criticism In what has almost become his personal mantra, he says the Justice Department follows “fact and law.”
On Monday, Facts and Laws Led FBI Agent Heads to Former President Donald Trump’s Home.
Trump confirmed Monday that federal agents executed a search warrant at his South Florida estate. Mar-a-Lagoin a search of multiple news outlets later reported, relating to whether he mishandled classified government documents.
Regardless of its focus, legal experts quickly reached consensus about the raid.
“There is every reason to think there is a positive factor in the amount and amount of evidence that the government already had to support probable causes in this case. David Rauffman, Department of Justice National Security Division The former high-ranking official has prosecuted a case involving alleged mishandling of classified documents.
“If I had been a senior official who reviewed this before pulling the trigger to file an affidavit with the magistrate, I would have wanted evidence of sufficient quality and quantity. said Raufmann, partner at Dana LLP.
Indeed, for a purposeful Justice Department looking to turn the page from Trump-era politicization, the Mar-a-Lago raid needs the highest level of review and compelling evidence to support its findings of probable causes. likely, legal experts said.
Gene Rossi, a former federal prosecutor for Northern Virginia, said, “I can only imagine the amount of possible causes listed in the search warrant and in the FBI’s affidavit regarding Trump’s Florida home. In an email to Insider, he added: [search warrant] It must have been huge, including Trump’s FBI appointee, Christopher Wray. ”
The search unfolded months after the National Archives ConfirmedIn February, many records Trump left behind had been torn up and taped, and the former president took a box of papers to his resort that the federal government needed to retrieve. Earlier Monday, Axios released a photo (obtained by The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman) showing documents in a toilet bowl that White House staff suspected had been flushed by Trump.
During his tenure, Trump developed a reputation as a notorious destroyer of documents, preference Politico reported that they tore up presidential documents and left them for staff to revise. Concerned During his tenure, his presidential records may be poorly preserved or destroyed entirely, potentially violating the Presidential Records Act.
Under 1970s law, the president and White House staff were required to preserve official documents and correspondence, such as gifts, letters, e-mails, text messages, and social media posts received in office, and to delete them at the end of the president’s term. The item must be handed over to the archive.
“Trump is in serious legal trouble,” Rossi said.
For Trump, an investigation into possible mishandling of classified material is just one of several areas of legal risk.who was trump at Trump Tower in New York City The probe also faces scrutiny over his efforts to reverse his 2020 election loss to Joe Biden. Meanwhile, New York Attorney General Letitia James is investigating his business. The investigation, she said, uncovered evidence that the Trump Organization engaged in “fraudulent or misleading” practices.
In response to the probe, Trump said on Monday that the move was the result of “prosecutorial misconduct” and “weaponization of the judicial system.”
“Such an attack can only happen in a broken third world country,” Trump said in a prepared statement. Corrupted on a level.”
Trump was expected to make such allegations should scrutiny and criminal charges intensify. His allegation that Mar-a-Lago was “surrounded, raided and occupied by a large group of FBI agents” drew criticism from Trump’s former personal attorney-turned-critic Michael Cohen. I pulled it out.
“It’s never a good idea for the FBI to raid your property,” Cohen told Insider. In 2018, the FBI raided Cohen’s Rockefeller Center offices and a hotel room in nearby Manhattan.
Trump angrily lashed out even then, similarly comparing the FBI raid on Cohen’s location to a break-in.
Cohen said Monday night, “Despite Donald’s repeated allegations that FBI agents broke down doors and looted property, they are professional and polite, so that’s another lie.
An FBI spokesperson declined to comment on the search.
In an email to Insider, former U.S. attorney Barbara McQuaid said that in order for the FBI to obtain a search warrant, there was a possible cause of certain crimes in Mar-a-Lago, a federal judge. I emphasized that we need to convince
“Search warrants are usually served at the end of an investigation because they need to show probable cause and tend to let suspects know that an investigation is underway.”
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