I really do wonder what happened to the contents of the folders, the 90 empty folders labeled as ‘Classified’ or ‘Return to Staff Secretary/Military aide’ the FBI found at Mar-a-Lago during the warrant execution. Are the contents hidden away? Have they been destroyed? Have they already been passed to his Russian handlers?
The details of the things seized during the warrant execution are coming out pretty quickly, now, and every day it looks a little worse for the former President. Normally, the DOJ is quite circumspect in it’s revelations about ongoing investigations. Normally, there are privacy issues that prevent them from disclosing details, even if they want to. But, of course, nothing about Trump is “normal.” The moment he demanded a Special Master to oversee management of the documents and that the information be revealed, the DOJ stepped up and started revealing pretty much everything it could.
No in-depth details, of course. These are national secrets. One does not just casually handle national secrets. Well, okay, ONE does…but most of us know better. The Trump-appointed judge in the case, Aileen Cannon, will rule on the request of a Special Master but the DOJ says he waited so long to file his motion, they’ve already gone through everything looking for potential attorney-client privileged documents. The judge seems inclined to grant the request. “What’s the harm?” she reportedly asked the DOJ.
As it happens, I have managed to maintain some of my friendships with conservatives. Mostly, we just avoid politics but, occasionally, we’ll dabble. I had one-such conversation recently with one of my more conservative friends. I told him I wasn’t trying to start a debate and I didn’t intend to argue. I just wanted to know what he thought about Trump’s papers. I explained that once he told me how he felt on the topic, I would know how the right is presenting the matter to it’s consumers in the conservative bubble. He answered pretty much the way I thought he would.
“Joe Biden!” he said. “Hunter! Hillary! George Soros!”
“Yes,” I agreed, “those are all good topics but for right now, I just want to know how you feel about the ‘Trump’s papers’ thing.” By that time, he had run out of “whataboutisms” and started to answer me.
Well, okay, he had ALMOST run out of whataboutisms. The right believes that when Obama left office he took thousands of documents with him and nobody ever raided his home. I explained that those documents had not been taken by Obama. Instead, they had been sent to an archive repository in Chicago and were still under complete control of the National Archives and Obama has no say or control over them. He looked at me as though he pitied my simplistic naivety.
But then he started. “The FBI overplayed it’s hand. They executed an open-ended warrant and those are illegal.” I’m not sure what that means, but I was listening, not challenging, so I didn’t ask.) “There was no need to raid Mar-a-Lago, since Trump was cooperating. Trump had declassified all of the documents. Everything he had belonged to him.”
“Thank you,” I said. “I just wanted to know what they’re saying on your side of the aisle.”
“What are they saying on your side?” he asked.
“Well, on my side, it’s being presented as far more serious than you’re being told.”
“Uh-huh,” he kind of grunted.
The thing I noticed is that as he spoke he became increasingly angry. It’s like he (and, presumably, other cons) had been primed to anger on the topic. It strikes me that it’s a common tactic. The less strength there is to a conservative position, the more anger is stoked. It took me a bit to settle him down so we could get back to what we were doing.
Part of the reason I didn’t argue is that it’s useless. These guys believe the things they believe as a matter of faith. They don’t need no stinkin’ evidence. As a well established lefty, he wouldn’t be able to receive my words anyway. But then Bill Barr, of all people, weighed in on the entertainment channel called ‘Fox “News.”‘ On Friday, Barr said the ex-president had no legitimate reason to hoard classified material at his Florida resort. He also defended the Justice Department raid on Mar-a-Lago, saying the DOJ had been “jerked around” by Trump’s team. He called the request for a Special Master a “red herring.” He pointed out that even Trump’s lawyers hadn’t identified any privileged communications in the documents and that everything else appeared to be “seizable” by the FBI.
He said that the documents “belong to the government. Even if they’re classified, even if they’re subject to Executive Privilege, they still belong to the government.” Then, for good measure, he added that any other things taken, like news clippings or other innocuous things were “seizable under the warrant because they show the conditions under which the classified documents were being held.” Oh, he also said this: “People say this was unprecedented, well it’s also unprecedented for a president to take all this classified information and put them in a country club, okay?” Then, in response to the idea that the DOJ could have just gotten another subpoena, he added, “And how long is the government going to try to get that back? They jawbone for a year, they were deceived on the voluntary actions taken, they then went and got a subpoena, they were deceived on that, they feel, and the facts are starting to show, that they were being jerked around and so how long, you know, how long do they wait?!”
It’s just a guess, here, but MY bet is that Barr will NOT be returning as Attorney General under a second (or third, to hear them tell it) Trump administration. Also, by this afternoon, every hard-core Trumpster is going to know, without question, that Bill Barr is, and always has been, a RINO and never once helped Trump the way he was supposed to. (Clearly…)
It’s just a peek into the bizarre workings of the conservative media bubble. These people seem really ready to go to civil war – over fantasies. It would be like if Tolkien fans started killing people for real in defense of Middle Earth. Or, perhaps, killing people for real on the orders of their invisible super friend – which happens at far too common a rate.
I’ll tell you this: the reasons for their civil war will be fantasy, but the damage and killing will be all too real. I say, prosecute the criminal Trump, anyway. If the price to be paid is in blood, at least we will have done the right thing…