After widespread criticism and deflection by Republican allies of Donald Trump — all scrambling to condemn the FBI’s search of the ex-President’s Palm Beach home — an unlikely source has pushed back on the MAGA leader’s baseless claims of the weaponization of the Justice Department and has sided instead with federal investigators – Fox News.
In an op-ed for the right-wing media outlet, national security attorney Bradley Moss wrote that not only was the legally executed search “not an abuse of law enforcement processes,” but added, “This is how the law works.”
“What happened on August 8, 2022, was not tyranny. It was not political persecution. It was not a minor dust-up over bureaucratic processes blown out of proportion. It was the criminal justice system operating just like it does with any other private citizen on any other given day ending in a ‘y’.”
Moss points out Trump’s legal obligation to turn over records to the National Archives under the Presidential Records Act — records that “are not Trump’s personal property,” but belong to the United States.
Almost immediately after Donald Trump announced his Mar-a-Lago estate was being searched by the FBI, the spin began. Everyone from the former President and his legal team to his GOP allies in Congress pushed unsubstantiated allegations and lies in an attempt to discredit the search and excuse Trump’s multiple violations of the law.
They made outrageous claims that the FBI planted the boxes of classified materials and that then-President Trump declassified the documents prior to leaving office – making him exempt from prosecution.
Moss disagrees, writing:
“Trump was the president and commander-in-chief up until noon on January 20, 2021. The moment Joe Biden took the Oath of Office, Trump became just another private citizen in his 70s who vacations in Florida during the winter months to avoid the bitter cold back in his native home in the Northeast. He was no longer shielded by any privileges or protections of the Office of the Presidency at the point beyond physical security protection. He is subject to the laws of the United States just like anyone else.”
Since Donald Trump left office, the Justice Department has been negotiating with the former commander-in-chief for the return of classified materials.
After initially returning 15 boxes belonging to the National Archives, the FBI continued communicating with Trump’s legal team – even making a visit in the spring under suspicion that the former President and his aides were being less than truthful. An attorney for Trump swore that all requested documents had been turned over.
That was false, as the FBI raid obviously proved.
Execution of the search warrant confirmed what the FBI believed – Top Secret documents marked at the highest levels of classification were stowed away at Mar-a-Lago. Confidential government records that, if fallen into the wrong hands, could be a possible violation of the Espionage Act.
The investigation and retrieval of what Moss calls, “properly marked classified documents,” was justified according to the Fox News contributor. Former President or not, Moss says:
“You cannot remove properly marked classified documents and place them in a location not authorized for retention of classified documents. You cannot obstruct a federal investigation seeking to lawfully recover those documents. You cannot present false statements to federal investigators.”
While Trump and his supporters continue to throw spaghetti at the wall and see what sticks, the law is on the side of Attorney General Merrick Garland, the Dept. of Justice, and the FBI. The Presidential Records Act and Espionage Act are explicit in their intent – even Trump’s former echo media chamber knows it.
Original reporting by Bradley P. Moss at Fox News.
Follow Ty Ross on Twitter @cooltxchick