According to new reports, agents in the field and leaders in the Department of Justice clashed over how best to recover the classified documents held by former president Donald Trump at his home in Mar-a-Lago. It looks like the hyper-politicized department wanted to hurt the former president and Republicans right before the general election.
Attorney General Merrick Garland only listens to agents in the field when he can go after pro-life activists. When agents don’t think a raid is necessary. But when he has the opportunity to embarrass a political rival, it’s full steam ahead.
The Washington Post reports, “Prosecutors argued that new evidence suggested Trump was knowingly concealing secret documents at his Palm Beach, Fla., home and urged the FBI to conduct a surprise raid at the property. But two senior FBI officials who would be in charge of leading the search resisted the plan as too combative and proposed instead to seek Trump’s permission to search his property, according to the four people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe a sensitive investigation.
Prosecutors ultimately prevailed in that dispute, one of several previously unreported clashes in a tense tug of war between two arms of the Justice Department over how aggressively to pursue a criminal investigation of a former president. The FBI conducted an unprecedented raid on Aug. 8, recovering more than 100 classified items, among them a document describing a foreign government’s military defenses, including its nuclear capabilities.
Starting in May, FBI agents in the Washington field office had sought to slow the probe, urging caution given its extraordinary sensitivity, the people said.
Some of those field agents wanted to shutter the criminal investigation altogether in early June, after Trump’s legal team asserted a diligent search had been conducted and all classified records had been turned over, according to some people with knowledge of the discussions.”
The newspaper said that the notion of closing the probe received no consideration from FBI leadership despite the recommendation from agents.
Breitbart notes, “The aggressive approach was starkly different than the cooperative one the DOJ and FBI have taken towards classified documents held by President Joe Biden at his former office at the Penn Biden Center office in D.C. and his home garage in Delaware.
According to the Post, two senior FBI officials argued a raid would be “too combative” and proposed to seek Trump’s permission first, but DOJ prosecutors argued that Trump was “knowingly concealing secret documents” at Mar-a-Lago and pushed the FBI to conduct a surprise raid.
The FBI agents reportedly worried that investigating a former president would face political blowback, but federal prosecutors in the DOJ’s national security division — the same one that oversaw the investigation into the Russia collusion hoax — argued for an aggressive approach.
Those within the DOJ pushing for aggressive measures and a surprise raid were Jay Bratt, the prosecutor in charge of counterespionage, Assistant Attorney General Matt Olsen, and George Toscas, a top DOJ counterintelligence official, according to the report. Arguing for a more cooperative approach was the then-head of the FBI Washington field office Steven D’Antuono.”
The raid fell under D’Antuono’s purview, but Bratt insisted on the raid to embarrass the former president and potential challenger to Biden in 2024. Wapo stated, “Bratt raised his voice at times and stressed to the FBI agents that the time for trusting Trump and his lawyer was over.”
Bratt is a Democratic donor to Hillary Clinton and helped Robert Mueller during his investigation that Democrats used to justify Donald Trump’s first impeachment.
The revelation about the DOJ leadership’s insistence on raiding Mar-a-Lago comes as the current president has been dogged with keeping classified documents related to Ukraine all over the place, including at his “think tank,” which allegedly received funds from China and in his garage, where Hunter Biden was staying. The investigations have been so troubling that some Democrats have even suggested that the documents were “planted” by the president’s opponents.
Biden’s actions forced Garland to make Robert K. Hur, “a veteran prosecutor who worked in the Trump administration, to handle the investigation into how classified documents from President Biden’s time as vice president ended up at his private office and home.
Mr. Hur, who previously served as the U.S. attorney for Maryland during the Trump administration, is responsible for investigating “the possible unauthorized removal and retention of classified documents or other records discovered” at the office of Mr. Biden’s think tank in Washington and his residence in Wilmington, Del., according to the order signed by Mr. Garland on Thursday.
Mr. Hur, who also served as a top department official in the deputy attorney general’s office in 2017 and 2018, is authorized to prosecute any crimes arising from the inquiry or to refer matters for prosecution by federal attorneys in other jurisdictions,” the order said, according to The New York Times.
So far, the DOJ seems less interested in prosecuting the sitting president.