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Tags: archives | fbi | clinton

The Mar-a-Lago Raid and Another President's Sock Drawer

interior of the national archives in washington dc

An interior view of the National Archives, Washington, D.C. (Joe Sohm/Dreamstime.com)

Michael Dorstewitz By Monday, 22 August 2022 09:40 AM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

Former President Trump hinted late last week that he may file a motion as early as today alleging that the FBI and Department of Justice violated his Fourth Amendment protections when they raided and removed files from his Palm Beach residence earlier this month.

Not only should he do it, but if there’s any consistency in the federal court system, the former president should prevail.

"A major motion pertaining to the Fourth Amendment will soon be filed concerning the illegal Break-In of my home, Mar-a-Lago, right before the ever important Mid-Term Elections," he said Friday on his social media platform, Truth Social.

"My rights, together with the rights of all Americans, have been violated at a level rarely seen before in our Country. Remember, they even spied on my campaign. The greatest Witch Hunt in USA history has been going on for six years, with no consequences to the scammers. It should not be allowed to continue!"

That was confirmed by Trump attorney Jim Trusty during an appearance on Mark Levin’s radio program.

"It's probably going to be more like hours," he said. "It's coming very soon.”

The warrant itself was overly broad.

The court order gave the FBI latitude to remove any document dated throughout Trump’s presidency. "Any government and/or Presidential Records created between January 20, 2017, and January 20, 2021" is "property to be seized," the warrant stated.

"Trump’s attorneys could have a runway to argue the scope of the search is overly broad," Kevin Brock, a former FBI assistant director for intelligence, told Just the News. "Search warrants normally require a level of specificity that seems to be missing in this warrant. Specificity is important in order to protect 4th Amendment rights from exuberant government overreach designed to find whatever they can."

But a more novel argument reverts back to a case that was centered on the 42nd president, some audio tapes, and a sock drawer.

In 2012 the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch filed a lawsuit to compel the National Archives and Records Administration to seize hours of audio tapes former President Bill Clinton kept in his sock drawer.

They were recordings Clinton made while he was in office, and their existence was first revealed a book, written by historian Taylor Branch: "The Clinton Tapes: Conversations with a President, 1993-2001."

They reportedly were recordings Clinton made of his conversations with world leaders and U.S. government officials, and Judicial Watch argued that because the tapes were made while Clinton was still in the White House, they should be in the archives as a part of the public record.

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, sitting in Washington, D.C., concluded that the Presidential Records Act contained no provision giving the National Archives the authority to seize a former president’s records.

Just The News reported that Jackson’s decision, which was never appealed, also "made some other sweeping declarations" that arguably and directly would affect the FBI’s decision to raid Trump’s private offices and rummage through the former first lady’s closet.

"Under the statutory scheme established by the [Presidential Records Act], the decision to segregate personal materials from Presidential records is made by the President, during the President's term and in his sole discretion," Jackson wrote in her March 2012 decision.

Then she addressed the issue of where the Clinton records being sought were located.

"Because the audiotapes are not physically in the government's possession, defendant submits that it would be required to seize them directly from President Clinton in order to assume custody and control over them," Jackson added.

"Defendant considers this to be an 'extraordinary request' that is unfounded, contrary to the PRA's express terms, and contrary to traditional principles of administrative law. The Court agrees."

It was a case of, "the more things change, the more they remain the same" to Just the News founder John Solomon

"It’s amazing how many times things you did in the past come back up and are relevant in the current debate," he told Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton.

However, that was a different U.S. district court — Washington, D,C. versus West Palm Beach, Florida. Accordingly the Florida federal court isn’t legally bound by the earlier decision coming out of D.C..

But it will nonetheless be interesting to see if the federal court system is as deferential to Trump as it was to Clinton.

Michael Dorstewitz is a retired lawyer and has been a frequent contributor to Newsmax. He is also a former U.S. Merchant Marine officer and an enthusiastic Second Amendment supporter. Read Dorstewitz's Reports — More Here.

© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

But it will nonetheless be interesting to see if the federal court system is as deferential to Trump as it was to Clinton.
archives, fbi, clinton
Monday, 22 August 2022 09:40 AM
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