Material about nuclear weapons is especially sensitive and usually restricted to a small number of government officials, experts said. Publicizing details about U.S. weapons could provide an intelligence road map to adversaries seeking to build ways of countering those systems. And other countries might view exposing their nuclear secrets as a threat, experts said.
Finally Friday Reads: Warrant Watch EditionPosted: August 12, 2022
Good Day Sky Dancers!
So, we’re on watch today to see exactly if the Search Warrant and property list from the FBI search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago stash are as disturbing as leaks imply. This headline is from WAPO: “FBI searched Trump’s home to look for nuclear documents and other items, sources say. The former president said on social media that he won’t oppose a Justice Dept. request to unseal the search warrant.” It describes the Garland Presser as well.
Late Thursday night, Trump said on social media that he agreed the document should be made public. In another post early Friday, he called the nuclear weapons issue a “hoax” and accused the FBI of planting evidence, without offering information to indicate such a thing had happened. Trump said agents did not allow his lawyers to be present for the search, which is not unusual in a law enforcement operation, especially if it potentially involves classified items.
One former Justice Department official, who in the past oversaw investigations of leaks of classified information, said the type of top-secret information described by the people familiar with the probe would probably cause authorities to try to move as quickly as possible to recover sensitive documents that could cause grave harm to U.S. security.
“If that is true, it would suggest that material residing unlawfully at Mar-a-Lago may have been classified at the highest classification level,” said David Laufman, the former chief of the Justice Department’s counterintelligence section, which investigates leaks of classified information. “If the FBI and the Department of Justice believed there were top secret materials still at Mar-a-Lago, that would lend itself to greater ‘hair-on-fire’ motivation to recover that material as quickly as possible.”
Cable News lit up last night with analysis and news.
It’s worth emphasizing that the new motion filed by the DOJ isn’t to disclose everything, but it would bring to light the materials Team Trump already has in its possession, which would make clear key details of the search.
It’s why Marcy Wheeler noted, in response to today’s statement, “Garland is calling Trump’s bluff.”
The attorney general went on to note that he “personally approved the decision to seek a search warrant” in this case — something that was widely assumed, but not confirmed before this afternoon. He added that the Department of Justice “does not take such actions lightly” and first pursues “less intrusive” means.
But before wrapping up, Garland also took about a minute to defend federal law enforcement from “recent unfounded attacks on the professionalism of the FBI and Justice Department agents and prosecutors.”
“I will not stand by silently when their integrity is unfairly
The New York Times focused on the possibilities that beyond-Top Secret Material was sitting around the basement of the Club. My worst thoughts are that he already shipped it off to his buddy in North Korea, his man-crush in Russia, or Bonesaw. “Trump Search Said to Be Part of Effort to Find Highly Classified Material. The former president said he will not object to the Justice Department’s move to release the search warrant used to carry out the search of his Florida home.”
While the inventory provided to Mr. Trump’s team after the search is unlikely to reveal details about the specific documents he kept, it refers to an array of sensitive material, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.
Judge Bruce Reinhart, the federal magistrate in the Southern District of Florida who approved the search warrant and is handling the motion to unseal it, had issued an order requiring the Justice Department to serve a copy of its motion to Mr. Trump’s lawyers. It said the department would have to tell the judge by 3 p.m. on Friday whether Mr. Trump opposed the motion.
Mr. Garland’s statement amounted to a challenge to Mr. Trump, who has been free to release the search warrant and the list of items taken during the search on his own, but has declined to do so. Many Trump allies and Republicans have also called on Mr. Garland to explain his decision, adding political complexity — or hypocrisy — to any decision by Mr. Trump to oppose making the search warrant public.
The Justice Department did not seek to release the affidavits — which contain much more information about the behavior of Mr. Trump and evidence presented by others — that were used to obtain the warrant.
The public statement by Mr. Garland came at an extraordinary moment, as a sprawling set of investigations into the former president on multiple fronts gained momentum even as Mr. Trump continued to signal that he might soon announce another run for the White House.
Republican Elected officials and right-wing New Sources are doing everything to stir the empty pot of Trump’s latest Big Lie. This is from The Guardian: “Republicans dust off familiar playbook to weaponise Mar-a-Lago FBI search. Analysis: GOP accusations of ‘deep state’ and politicization of justice department likely to foment an intense backlash.”
But Republicans responded furiously to the development, following Trump’s lead in claiming that the search showed the justice department waging a politically motivated witch-hunt. Their florid rhetoric will do little to assuage fears that a prosecution of Trump could lead to social unrest and even political violence.
Ronna McDaniel, chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, said: “Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Countless times we have examples of Democrats flouting the law and abusing power with no recourse.
“Democrats continually weaponize the bureaucracy against Republicans. This raid is outrageous. This abuse of power must stop and the only way to do that is to elect Republicans in November.”
Kevin McCarthy, the Republican minority leader in the House, claimed in a statement that the justice department had reached “an intolerable state of weaponized politicization” and vowed that, when Republicans take back the House, they will conduct immediate oversight of the department.
He said ominously: “Attorney General Garland: preserve your documents and clear your calendar.”
Lindsey Graham, a US senator for South Carolina and Trump ally, noted that midterm elections are about a hundred days away and Trump is likely to run for president again in 2024. “Time will tell regarding this most recent investigation. However, launching such an investigation of a former President this close to an election is beyond problematic.”
Bob Good, a Republican congressman, wrote on Twitter: “The continued weaponization of the federal government against its citizens and political opponents continues under the Biden/Garland march toward a police state.”
Congressman Ronny Jackson added: “Tonight the FBI officially became the enemy of the people!!!”
Kristi Noem, the governor of South Dakota, denounced the search as “un-American”, while Matt Schlapp, chairman of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) – which hosted an event in Dallas, Texas, last week with speakers including Trump and the Hungarian prime minister, Viktor Orbán – also joined the condemnation.
“The Deep State will do anything in its power to slime President Trump,” Schlapp said. “Americans need to keep growing the big Red Wave and save the country from these corrupt fascists.”
Mike Pompeo, a former secretary of state under Trump, tweeted: “Executing a warrant against ex-POTUS is dangerous. The apparent political weaponization of DOJ/FBI is shameful. AG must explain why 250 yrs of practice was upended w/ this raid.”
Biden has repeatedly stressed his belief that the justice department must work independently of the White House and that he will not interfere in its investigations. Merrick Garland, the attorney general, insisted last week that no one was above the law.
The FBI is directed by Christopher Wray, a Trump appointee.
The gunman who fired at police and engaged in an hours-long standoff in a corn field after trying to enter the FBI’s office in Cincinnati on Thursday has been identified in multiple media reports as someone who was present at the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection.
The man also apparently left a trail of posts on Truth Social, the social media platform created by former president Donald Trump, announcing his plans to attack the FBI office and indicating that his actions were a direct response to the FBI’s search Monday of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club.
The suspect is Ricky Walter Shiffer, according to NBC News and the New York Times, which reported that Shiffer was under investigation for having “ties to extremist groups,” including the Proud Boys, which he apparently mentioned on social media.
The standoff suspect was shot and killed by police on Thursday afternoon, the Ohio State Highway Patrol said, but his identity has not been confirmed.
The 42-year-old Shiffer reportedly posted on Facebook on Jan. 5, 2021, showing him attending a pro-Trump rally at Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington the night before the Capitol was stormed, according to the Times.
The week’s events have spurred a new addition to the Dark Brandon memes. We now have Dark Merrick.
I really want to focus on this, though, because it ties all of the shit we’ve been through since Trump started with the Obama wasn’t born here lies. I’d love to have sat in on this discussion between the President and a group of the nation’s premier Historians.
The conversation during a ferocious lightning storm on Aug. 4 unfolded as a sort of Socratic dialogue between the commander in chief and a select group of scholars, who painted the current moment as among the most perilous in modern history for democratic governance, according to multiple people familiar with the discussions who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe a private meeting.
Comparisons were made to the years before the 1860 election when Abraham Lincoln warned that a “house divided against itself cannot stand” and the lead-up to the 1940 election, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt battled rising domestic sympathy for European fascism and resistance to the United States joining World War II.
We’ve seen this analysis from various Historians that appear on TV News. Here’s some additional reading material,
No matter how and when the Trump presidency ends, the specter of illiberalism will continue to haunt American politics.
At this point, I’d just like to see Trump himself stop haunting us.
If the US has someone whom historians will look back on as the gravedigger of American democracy, it is Mitch McConnell. Like Hitler’s conservative allies, he and the Republicans have prided themselves on the early returns on their investment in Trump.
Mitch has calmed down some, but the rest of the Republicans have not. This just broke.
The White House has faced mounting questions about a decision by the Department of Homeland Security inspector general’s office to abandon attempts to recover missing Secret Service texts from Jan. 6,2021. President Biden, in response, has signaled his intention to stay out of the process as an independent watchdog investigates the inspector general.
But Joseph V. Cuffari and his staff have refused to release certain documents and tried to block interviews, effectively delaying that probe, which has now stretched for more than 15 months and evolved into a wide-ranging inquiry into more than a dozen allegations of misconduct raised by whistleblowers and other sources, according to three people familiar with the case who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss an open investigation.
Some Republican senators have also raised stiff resistance to the investigation — which is being overseen by a panel of federal watchdogs fromthe Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE) — questioning the need for a full probe into the Trump administrationappointee.
It just seems we’ve lost our way.
There is some good news. The House is on the verge of sending the Inflation Reduction Act to the President for his signature.
There’s also this from the AP: “Kansas abortion vote shows limits of GOP’s strength.”
An increase in turnout among Democrats and independents and a notable shift in Republican-leaning counties contributed to the overwhelming support of abortion rights last week in traditionally conservative Kansas, according to a detailed Associated Press analysis of the voting results.
A proposed state constitutional amendment would have allowed the Republican-controlled Legislature to tighten restrictions or ban abortions outright. But Kansas voters rejected the measure by nearly 20 percentage points, almost a mirror of Republican Donald Trump’s statewide margin over Democrat Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election.
In the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to repeal a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion, the threat of new restrictions in the state galvanized Democrats and independents more than anticipated. At the same time, Republicans showed less interest in turning out to support the measure.
The findings reinforce a sense in both parties that the Supreme Court’s decision may have altered the dynamics of this year’s midterm elections.
“Between passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, killing al Qaeda’s leader, less pain at the pump, and the Republican-appointed Supreme Court justices taking away abortion rights, the political landscape is less horrible for Democrats,” says Democratic pollster Chris Anderson, who conducts the Fox surveys with Republican Daron Shaw. “There are successes Democrats can point to that didn’t exist in the spring, but the biggest single change I see in this poll is the increased disapproval of the Supreme Court and suspect that is a significant factor.”
Fifty-five percent disapprove of the Supreme Court’s job performance, up from 48% in June.
Meanwhile, the shift in vote preference mainly comes from women. They preferred the GOP candidate by 1 point in May and now go for the Democrat by 6.
Okay, we’ll keep you updated on the release of the warrant.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?