It becomes clear that the FBI only wanted to tarnish Trump for 2024
President Trump already declassified his property, that’s why the FBI needed to plant evidence
Former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe argued that it is “virtually impossible” to prosecute his onetime boss, former President Donald Trump, for alleged mishandling of classified material.
While chiding the FBI for “acting as the muscle” of the Democrats, the Trump-era spy chief hearkened back to Hillary Clinton’s email situation and surmised that Trump possessed the “ultimate declassification authority,” shielding him from liability.
“I thought, surely this is not about classified documents and the president being in possession of those. It has to be more than that because the Department of Justice and the FBI have already set a standard that makes it virtually impossible to prosecute a case like that,” Ratcliffe told Fox Business’s Larry Kudlow, who is another former Trump administration official.
Although no president has ever been prosecuted for mishandling classified material, some experts dispute the notion that one could suddenly deem something declassified and argue that the president must instead follow a formal process.
“I’ve seen thousands of declassified documents. They’re all marked ‘declassified’ with the date they were declassified,” Richard Immerman, assistant deputy director of national intelligence in the Obama administration, told NBC News.
During a Monday raid, FBI agents carried out a search warrant of Trump’s lavish Mar-a-Lago resort and reportedly retrieved some 20 boxes of material while seeking documents with details about nuclear weapons.
A warrant released to the public Friday revealed that authorities were looking for material retained in violation of three federal laws, including the Espionage Act.
“As people talk about Espionage Act and classified documents and all of that, the standard was set in 2016. Remember the Department of Justice and the FBI took the official position that Hillary Clinton, who was in possession of classified documents … that in possession of that — that wasn’t enough and that being grossly negligent … that’s not enough under the Espionage Act,” Ratcliffe continued.
“The Department of Justice and FBI said six years ago, you gotta be able to prove intent. He’s already denied that he had the intent to do it,” he added.
Biden most frightened of Ron DeSantos
Biden expects to run against Trump – needed weaken
Biden wouldn’t dare touch the politics of a criminal investigation, according to White House officials and party operatives. But at a time when most Democrats want a different nominee in 2024, the GOP’s elevation of Trump plays into the current president’s hands.
The more Democrats see Trump, the more they view Biden as their best bet for 2024, said Democratic lawmakers and operatives across the party’s ideological spectrum. One added that recent events have increased the likelihood that the president announces a re-election bid this year.
“As Trump’s stock rises in the Republican Party, so does Biden’s” with Democrats, said Brad Howard, a lobbyist and former aide to members of the moderate Blue Dog Coalition in the House. “If President Trump is still a factor, that is a continued benefit for President Biden and his case for renomination.”
The prospect of a “heavyweight fight” helps “both Biden and Trump,” added a prominent House progressive who spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid upsetting liberals who aren’t thrilled with Biden. The Republican response to the FBI search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home “all but assures them both the nomination,” the lawmaker said.
The unprecedented investigation into a former president — one who is a likely candidate for his old job — creates a labyrinthine set of political risks and opportunities for Biden and Trump. For Trump, the greatest threat is becoming toxic to voters because of an indictment or conviction. Biden has to walk a tightrope between partisans who want him to ensure that Trump is prosecuted and voters who may see such a move as an abuse of power that unfairly targets a political adversary.
Biden appears to have chosen the cautious and traditional route of letting Justice Department officials speak — or act — for themselves. “It’s not even Biden’s style to use something the Justice Department does to his political advantage,” said a source close to the White House who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
By contrast, Trump frequently berated his attorneys general in public and urged them to pursue legal actions that aligned with his political interests. He blasted Attorney General Jeff Sessions for recusing himself from a probe of Trump’s ties to Russia and for failing to charge his 2016 rival, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, with crimes. In the waning weeks of his presidency, Trump pressured Justice Department officials to declare falsely that he was the victim of fraud when he lost the 2020 election to Biden, according to the testimony of several officials who appeared before the House committee investigating Trump’s role in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.
The question of whether Biden would explicitly politicize legal action against Trump is different from the question of whether he would benefit from a federal case against Republicans’ leading 2024 hopeful. Just as Trump understood the potential damage that could be done by an investigation — the House impeached him for withholding security funds from Ukraine to try to force a probe of Biden in that country — Biden clearly grasps that even the appearance of political interference would rob him of a key contrast with Trump.
“No good comes in inserting yourself,” Jay Jacobs, chairman of the New York Democratic Party, said. “It only diminishes the credibility of the professional investigations that are going on.”
That’s a view shared by the White House.
American people are so upset and so outraged
During the 2016 campaign, Clinton faced controversy after it was revealed that she conducted government work as secretary of state, including the handling of classified information, on a private email server, per the New York Times. Although Clinton was criticized for the handling of her emails, she was not charged.
Ratcliffe, a former Republican congressman from Texas, served as Trump’s DNI from May 2020 until 2021. He argued that the FBI does not have “clean hands” and lamented that people “have lost faith and trust” in institutions such as the FBI and Justice Department.
“The American people are so upset and so outraged is that for the last six years … what they’ve seen from the FBI and the Department of Justice is essentially the FBI acting as the muscle or the strong arm of the Democratic Party. It’s partisanship, you know, as opposed to just abuse of power,” he said. “Always some explanation or excuse for why Donald Trump would be treated differently or Republicans would be targeted.”