The Department of Justice knew about the documents being stored at former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida months ago but chose to seek a search warrant rather than issuing a subpoena for the documents so items potentially related to the Jan. 6 investigation could be seized, Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz insisted on Newsmax Saturday.
He also told Newsmax's "America Right Now" that there was "zero justification" for obtaining a search warrant, and that the claims being made about there being concerns of information including about nuclear weapons are "all fakes."
"The issue was they wanted to have a search warrant because it gives them the opportunity to seize things possibly related to Jan. 6, circumvents Fifth Amendment rights, Fourth Amendment rights," said Dershowitz.
Further, he said that reports that the search was conducted without Trump's attorney being present and with video cameras being ordered to be turned off are troubling.
"We want transparency in our government," said Dershowitz. "the idea that you have a search without video cameras there, without a lawyer being there…we don't want searches to be conducted that way, because obviously then people can be accused of planting evidence and tampering with evidence."
The search, said Dershowitz, "should bring about a change in rules" and laws.
"One of the best things that have happened here is a lot of conservatives now are becoming civil libertarians because they see that if this could happen to President Trump, it could happen to you or to your children, or people who you support," he added.
Meanwhile, Dershowitz said that he had thought all along that Attorney General Merrick Garland had signed off on the warrant, as there would have been "no way" Trump's property would have been searched without that happening.
Still, he said he does believe that President Joe Biden was not notified of the impending search.
"They try to keep a sharp separation between the Justice Department and the White House on issues of this kind," said Dershowitz. "I admire everything, Garland, who is a former student at Harvard Law School, said about equal application of the law. He also said that you don't use search warrants if you can get less intrusive mechanisms. I wish he would follow his standards."
However, he said Garland must explain why different rules were applied to Trump than to former Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton or former national security adviser Sandy Berger, who were also accused of possessing compromising classified materials.
"There were no search warrants," said Dershowitz. "There were no criminal investigations and prosecutions."
He also told Newsmax that all government officials take documents with them when they leave office, especially if they are writing memoirs.
"When they go to publishers, they say, look, we have all this material list never been disclosed before," said Dershowitz. I don't think they're classified material, but that's the implication."
There is also a double standard with how people are arrested by federal officials, he said.
"Now people like Peter Navarro, Paul Manafort, people like Roger Stone, they put them in shackles and handcuffs," said Dershowitz. "When they're Democrats, when I've represented many of them, they call you up on the phone and they 'say, oh, your client has been indicted? Would you bring him in tomorrow morning, and he'll be arraigned' and I say 'No. Tomorrow is a little inconvenient. Can we wait until Thursday?' That's the way it usually works."
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