Trump Lawyer: FBI May Have Planted Evidence Against Him
The exercising of a search warrant signed by a Trump-appointed judge was not a raid at Mar-a-Lago, but a lawful effort to recover documents that he was told he could not take with him after leaving office.
We have no reason to believe that the FBI search and seizure of presidential documents in possession of the former president will lead to a criminal indictment. The search and seizure warrant comes after a referral to the Department of Justice by the national archives after more than two years of requests being ignored by the former President.
Yet, Trump's lawyer on the scene during an interview on Real America's Voice, Christina Bobb, complained that the former president had been cooperating and that she "was not allowed to observe" as the FBI agents conducting the search and seizure at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort and club in Palm Beach Florida home.
Bobb went on to say…
"I was his legal representation, his counsel on the ground there," she said. "They kept me out of everything, all the facilities. They say that's standard protocol. I could not see. I could not observe."
"I thought it was particularly alarming because we had been very cooperative," the attorney continued. "This is a Washington, D.C. case coming out of Joe Biden's Department of Justice. We've been extremely cooperative."
Real America's Voice host Karyn Turk wondered if the FBI had "planted" evidence.
Bobb's reply to the suggestion of criminal wrongdoing by the FBI agent's search and seizure was signed off by a federal judge appointed by Trump was…
"No, there is no security that something wasn't planted,"
"I'm not saying that's what they did."
"Nobody observed it," "No, there wasn't. To your point, this was a completely unnecessary power flex. It was a weird flex. It's quite sad to see what they have done to our country."
Once again, Trump's lawyers are just thinking out loud, asking questions to paint the possibility that the search warrant was somehow illegal and could have allowed the FBI to frame Trump, who has a well-established history of refusing to comply with subpoenas.
Despite his lawyer's insistence that he has been very cooperative, Trump has gone on record during his presidency to insist.
"We're fighting all the subpoenas."
In one case, a New York judge found Trump in contempt of court for refusing to comply with subpoenas for financial documents. He has also fought every state and federal law enforcement agency and Congressional attempt to turn over documents.
In a Mother Jones article, it is revealed in a soon-to-be-released book on Trump, New York Times correspondent Maggie Haberman reports that staff in the White House residence periodically found clumps of paper clogging a toilet and believed Trump was flushing pieces of paper—another sign the chief executive may have been violating the records act. Flushing important presidential records instead of toilet paper.
In 2018, Politico reported …
"Trump routinely ripped up documents and tossed them into the garbage, and aides had to retrieve the torn fragments and tape them back together to repeatedly meet the preservation requirements of the 1978 Presidential documents preservation Act."
So does this mean Trump can be prosecuted for violating federal law? And if he is found guilty, could he be blocked from seeking the presidency again?
According to the Congressional Research Service, anyone who engages in the "unlawful removal or destruction of government records" is subject to punishment under Title 18, Section 2071 of the U.S. Code. And that section notes:
"Whoever, having the custody of any such record, proceeding, map, book, document, paper, or other things, willfully and unlawfully conceals, removes, mutilates, obliterates, falsifies, or destroys the same, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both, and shall forfeit his office and be disqualified from holding any office under the United States. As used in this subsection, the term "office."
This means the punishment for violating the 1978 Act includes a ban on holding a U.S. government position. So, would a guilty verdict prevent Trump from trying to move back into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue?
The answer is yes. Suppose Trump is indicted and convicted of knowingly violating this 1978 designed to preserve presidential records. In that case, he could find himself barred from serving in any federal office for the rest of his life.
Trump investigation update: Trump says FBI searched estate in major escalation of probe