This new story at the Wall Street Journal doesn’t add much to the timeline we’ve already heard about leading up to the Mar-a-Lago raid. That said it does add some color to the prior descriptions of a meeting that took place in June between DOJ investigators and Trump’s attorneys. As has been previously reported, Trump stopped by that meeting briefly to greet the investigators.
Aides to Mr. Trump have said they had been cooperating with the department to get the matter settled. The former president even popped into the June 3 meeting at Mar-a-Lago, shaking hands. “I appreciate the job you’re doing,” he said, according to a person familiar with the exchange. “Anything you need, let us know.”
Five days later, Trump attorney Evan Corcoran received an email from Mr. Bratt, the chief of the Justice Department’s counterintelligence and export control section, who oversees investigations involving classified information.
“We ask that the room at Mar-a-Lago where the documents had been stored be secured and that all the boxes that were moved from the White House to Mar-a-Lago (along with any other items in that room) be preserved in that room in their current condition until further notice,” according to what was read to The Wall Street Journal over the phone.
Mr. Corcoran wrote back, “Jay, thank you. I write to acknowledge receipt of this letter. With best regards, Evan.” By the next day, according to a person familiar with the events, a larger lock was placed on the door…
On June 22, the Trump Organization, the name for Mr. Trump’s family business, received a subpoena for surveillance footage from cameras at Mar-a-Lago. That footage was turned over, according to an official.
And that was apparently it. Things escalated from cordial to safe-cracking on Monday with the search of Trump’s property while he was away in New York. If you believe the Newsweek report I wrote about earlier, the FBI thought they could search the home of a former President without giving him a chance to make it into a media circus. They even played it cool by not carrying firearms or wearing standard FBI jackets that would easily identify them to outsiders.
But obviously things didn’t work out that way. In the least surprising news ever, former President Trump didn’t take kindly to the FBI’s efforts and compared the raid to Watergate. Within hours everyone in the media was talking about it, either as a sign of Trump’s impending doom or, alternatively, as a sign the Biden DOJ was trying to interfere in the 2024 election.
Again, if you believe the Newsweek report the FBI wasn’t trying to do either. All of this was just about retrieving some documents the investigators had already seen during a visit months earlier. And now because of their miscalculation, they’ve handed Trump a fresh opportunity to cry foul and launch his candidacy.
I’m not a conspiracy theory person but it’s hard to believe the FBI was so stupid they didn’t see any of this coming. Someone there must have know this would ignite a firestorm which would not only kickstart the 2024 race but would also potentially have an impact on the midterms. And from there you can really be off to the races about who benefits from this. But then I recall the bitter complaints Hillary repeated for months and months about James Comey’s decision to talk about the investigation into her emails days before the 2016 election. And while I’m not particularly sympathetic to Clinton’s litany of complaints (Comey was just one of many excuses she offered for her loss), that particular incident does suggest to me that the FBI really can be that out of touch with the real world.