Am I supposed to care?

The FBI raided Trump’s house in Florida.

Former president Donald Trump said Monday that the FBI had raided his Mar-a-Lago Club and searched his safe — activity related to an investigation into the potential mishandling of classified documents, according to two people familiar with the probe.

This trivial act seems to have thrown the MAGAts into hysterical fits.

I’m sorry, but if you weren’t outraged at the killing of Breonna Taylor, you should sit this one out. This “raid” was practically deferential — they got a formal warrant, guys in suits walked in and searched for some papers, and they walked out. That’s what the justice system ought to do, getting a warrant to respect privacy concerns, and using it to undramatically gather information. Do the right-wingers think Trump had something to hide?

Of course, the media is also in a tizzy.

Searching a former president’s property to look for possible evidence of a crime is highly unusual and would require approval at the top levels of the Justice Department. It represents a historic moment in Trump’s tortured relationship with the Justice Department, both in and out of the White House.

Why is it unusual? Why does it require unusually high levels of approval? The guy is a private citizen. The process should require no greater care than searching my home or your home or anyone’s home. An ex-president should have no greater rights than anyone else. I thought this country was supposed to be founded on a principle that there is no aristocracy? (As with most myths about the founding, that one’s a lie.)

Meanwhile, you know that Trump was sloppy and heedless of confidentiality issues. His entire gang is. Would you believe that part of the fallout from Alex Jones phone data is that he had a naked photo of his wife that he sent to Roger Stone? I’m more dismayed by that than that the FBI served a lawful warrant and gathered documents that might (emphasis on “might”, they might exonerate him. Ha.) be embarrassing to a shameless ex-president.


  1. says

    Why does it require unusually high levels of approval?

    Well…in this case, there was the concern of there being classified documents and so I would suppose the agents who conducted the raid would need to have clearance in order to handle those documents themselves. I would hope that alone is the reason it would need a high level of approval…but I’m afraid it’s probably not, is it?

  2. says

    Notice how the safety message is almost unreadable against that background?

    Also, that quote from Montesquieu is just plain wrong. A tyranny operating within the laws is not nearly as bad as a tyranny with absolutely no legal cover or constraints. Just ask someone who survived the Stalin regime.

  3. ardipithecus says

    “We are a country of law and order”. Let’s protest a law enforcement agency peacefully and properly doing its job.

  4. Reginald Selkirk says

    A nationwide protest at one address in Riverside? Do they have the infrastructure to handle it?

  5. says

    “Bring your flags & signs”

    Well, that will be pretty easy, since they’re still mounted on the pickup!
    But this is supposed to be in Riverside County in California, the state that rejected Trump by a humiliating 34.3% to 63.5%? Riverside may not be as blue as the rest of the state, but even it rejected Trump by 45% to 52%.

  6. robro says

    As you obviously know, the “raid” wasn’t a raid at all. Executing a search warrant isn’t a raid. It is highly unusual in the sense that it’s never been done before that I’m aware of, but then Chump was a highly unusual person in the office.

    There were some other things that came out yesterday of interest:

    • In an interview, Paul Manafort, who has joined the legion promoting new books, admitted he gave internal polling data from Chump’s campaign to Konstantin Kilimnik, who, according to a Senate Intelligence Committee report, was a Russian intelligence agent. Manafort had previously denied this. In other words, further confirmation of the collision between the Chump campaign and Putin’s agents. Manafort said he wasn’t trying to swing the election, just butter up his relationship with the Russian oligarchs. haha.

    • Speaking of Hitler, a story in the New Yorker says Chump complained that the generals weren’t loyal to him like the German generals were loyal to Hitler. Chump refused to believe that the German generals tried to kill Hitler, three times apparently. In any case, Gen. Milley almost resigned over the Lafayette Square attack and Chump’s lean to fascism. While he didn’t resign he claims that he, Gen. John Kelly (at the time WH Chief of Staff), and other generals worked to prevent Chump from doing further damage.

    • And of course, the Alex Jones messages are now in the hands of the January 6th committee.

  7. drew says

    Why is it unusual? Why does it require unusually high levels of approval?

    Have you ever accused MAGA chuds of willful ignorance? Because they’re not the only ones who practice it.

  8. robro says

    drew @ #8 — While the MAGA chuds are a consideration, any use of the DOJ/FBI to investigate political opponents would be considered unusual so the DOJ/FBI would be very careful about requesting a search warrant of a former president. Imagine if DeSantis was president and his DOJ sought a warrant to search Biden, Harris, Peolosi, or even a fellow Republican like Liz Cheney.

  9. KG says

    @2 Everything Hitler did was “legal”. – Susan Montgomery@3

    No, it wasn’t. Before he came to power, of course, Hitler broke numerous laws, and ended up in prison after the 1923 “Beerhall Putsch”. After he became Chancellor, his followers, on his orders, used intimidation, bribery and coercion (all illegal) in order to get the Enabling Act of 1933 passed. That gave Hitler pretty much unlimited power to enact laws without Reichstag approval, but there’s no doubt he still ordered his henchmen to commit crimes, as for example in the “Night of the Long Knives” of 1934, which involved numerous extra-judicial executions – i.e., murders. Really, Susan, if you’re going to use historical arguments, it would help if you actually had adequate knowledge of the relevant history.

  10. says

    We live in a nightmare world. Lying War Criminal ‘the dick cheney’ is going all ‘holier than thou’ condemning tRUMP in a Liz ad. Riverside Calif. part of the ‘blue world’ is going all fascist. Xtian Terrorists want to murder women and execute their doctors for saving their lives. And, these raids on smarm-a-largo and hearings and trials (along with the pitiful fatally compromised inflation reduction act) will be like ‘shovelling sand into the sea’ because The tRUMP criminal has already torn up and flushed and deleted massive amounts of critical documents that are mandated to be held as critical records.

    I despair. This nation is deteriorating so quickly!

  11. Akira MacKenzie says

    Of course, I shouldn’t be at all surprised that these are the same goons who screamed and bellyached for decades about how weak the criminal justice system is and how civil libertarians make things too soft for wrong-doers,

  12. christoph says

    @ KG, # 10: Condescend much?
    I think what Susan meant was that all the genocide and other crimes against humanity perpetrated by the Nazis and Hitler were legal under German law, as long as they kept it inside their borders.

  13. says

    Really? There was a literal German law that said it was OK to arrest people without cause, confiscate everything they own, and murder them? Did it have some caveat, like “Jews and Gypsies and homosexuals are all automatically guilty and deserving of death”? I rather thought they’d have been more cagey, rather than making bigotry explicit, but then I don’t know historical German law.

  14. Nemo says

    I’m skeptical that they’ll find anything, because we already know Trump’s record-keeping habits (rip up, flush).

  15. raven says

    Wikipedia Nuremberg laws:

    The Nuremberg Laws (German: Nürnberger Gesetze, pronounced [ˈnʏʁnbɛʁɡɐ ɡəˈzɛtsə] (listen)) were antisemitic and racist laws that were enacted in Nazi Germany on 15 September 1935, at a special meeting of the Reichstag convened during the annual Nuremberg Rally of the Nazi Party. The two laws were the Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honour, which forbade marriages and extramarital intercourse between Jews and Germans and the employment of German females under 45 in Jewish households; and the Reich Citizenship Law, which declared that only those of German or related blood were eligible to be Reich citizens. The remainder were classed as state subjects without any citizenship rights. A supplementary decree outlining the definition of who was Jewish was passed on 14 November, and the Reich Citizenship Law officially came into force on that date. The laws were expanded on 26 November 1935 to include Romani and Black people. This supplementary decree defined Romanis as “enemies of the race-based state”, the same category as Jews.

    The start of the Holocaust was the Nuremberg laws, passed in 1935 that took away German citizenship for Jews and Romani.

    Without citizenship, a lot of rights disappeared.

    As we’ve seen with our current US Supreme Court, the law can be very flexible when the judges are on the side of the Fascists.

    Wannsee conference wikipedia

    The Wannsee Conference (German: Wannseekonferenz, German pronunciation: [ˈvanseːkɔnfeˌʁɛnt͡s] (listen)) was a meeting of senior government officials of Nazi Germany and Schutzstaffel (SS) leaders, held in the Berlin suburb of Wannsee on 20 January 1942. The purpose of the conference, called by the director of the Reich Security Main Office SS-Obergruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich, was to ensure the co-operation of administrative leaders of various government departments in the implementation of the Final Solution to the Jewish question, whereby most of the Jews of German-occupied Europe would be deported to occupied Poland and murdered.

    I don’t see that the Germans bothered with any enabling legislation for the Holocaust though. They just made plans and carried them out.

    By that time, the war had started and millions were being killed.
    Anyone who objected would be in the next cattle car train to a death camp or sent to the Eastern front.

  16. whheydt says

    From the articles I’ve read, not only did the FBI get a warrant which was approved high up in the DoJ, but the notified the Secret Service that was on duty at Mar-a-Lago before arriving to serve the warrant. Also, apparently, the FBI took several boxes of papers with them when they left…so it appears to have been a productive “visit”.

    One wonders if the Secret Service (or someone else on site) had the combination to open Trump’s safe, or if the FBI had to “crack” it and how hard that was to do.

  17. dstatton says

    Of course it’s “unprecedented”. We’ve never had a president this vile dishonest, and narcissistic, and there is some competition.

  18. KG says

    @ KG, # 10: Condescend much?
    I think what Susan meant was that all the genocide and other crimes against humanity perpetrated by the Nazis and Hitler were legal under German law, as long as they kept it inside their borders. – christoph@14

    Don’t give a shit about the truth much? If she meant that (and it wasn’t what she said, which was that everything Hitler did was legal), she was still wrong. No laws were passed legalising the mass murder of Jews, Roma people and other minorities.

  19. christoph says

    @KG, #21: For clarification, see Raven’s post at # 17. She explains it better than I could.
    Also, you’re splitting hairs.

  20. christoph says

    @ PZ, # 15: Pretty much. They passed laws dehumanizing people, which effectively removed all their rights. And I did say “as long as they kept it within their own borders.” As we’ve seen in hindsight, most countries won’t interfere with what a country does to it’s own people, no matter how horrific and atrocious.

  21. Rich Woods says

    @whheydt #19:

    One wonders if the Secret Service (or someone else on site) had the combination to open Trump’s safe, or if the FBI had to “crack” it and how hard that was to do.

    After trying Trump’s birthday, Ivanka’s birthday and 01-06-21, the FBI found the combination scrawled in Sharpie on a Post-It note stuck to one side of the safe.

  22. HidariMak says

    whheydt at #19…
    I heard (during one of the many podcasts while at work), that the judge who signed the warrant was appointed by Trump, as was the FBI director who issued it, as was the Department of Justice attorney who executed it. And so I imagine that every detail was scrutinized, repeatedly, by many people, for days before reaching this point.

  23. blf says

    Everything Hitler did was ‘legal’.

    Like invading Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, and France (to name a few); arresting and murdering Roma, Jews, mentally ill, and political opponents (to name a few); ignoring agreements / treaties with various countries (e.g., UK (peace in our time) and the Soviet Union (Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact)); and so on. And on. And on. And on…

    Feck off Putin troll — Your admiration for fascists has been noted and REJECTED. Return your rubles, you are a complete failure & fraud as a (presumably paid) troll.

  24. birgerjohansson says

    nomdeplume @ 32
    In a badly depleted ekosystem, weird organisms might become dominant. The fruiting bodies of slime mold comes to.mind.

  25. Matt G says

    Whatever happened to “Back the Blue”? Oh right, that only applies when they’re shooting unarmed black people in the back while they’re running away.

  26. pacal says

    No. 2 “Everything Hitler did was “legal””

    Actually NO!! The very establishment of the Dictatorship in 1933 was accompanied by a lot of illegalities.

    For example the mass arrest, imprisonment and torture of “enemies” of the Nazis. Local prosecutors tried repeatedly to prosecute those who commited such acts but were repearedly thwarted by officials in the government stymining their efforts, often through blanket amenesties for such acts. Further the passage of the Enabling Act which served has the “Legal” foundation for hitler’s Dictatorship was accomplished by mass intimidation and the baring of some respresenatives from the Reichstag. (A completely illegal act.)

  27. KG says

    Also, you’re splitting hairs. – christoph@23

    Don’t be so fucking ridiculous. Pointing out that intimidation, bribery, coercion, extra-judicial executions and mass murder were illegal can only be called “splitting hairs” by a complete numpty. Susan Montgomery@3 cited Hitler as a counterexample to Raging Bee’s #2:

    A tyranny operating within the laws is not nearly as bad as a tyranny with absolutely no legal cover or constraints.

    by saying:

    Everything Hitler did was “legal”.

    It wasn’t. She was plain wrong: much of what Hitler did was illegal even according to the laws he himself enacted or left in place, so his was not a “tyranny operating within the laws”. Hitler was therefore not a counterexample to Raging Bee’s claim.

  28. F.O. says

    It doesn’t matter whether something is legal or not.

    The only thing that matters is power.
    Hitler knew it.
    Republicans know it.
    Trumpists and fascists viscerally understand it.
    What they actually shout is just meaningless slogan.

    The only thing that matters is that the team they identify with gains power and “the Other” loses it.
    The rest is just rationalizations, lies and excuses.

  29. Kagehi says

    What has me shaking my head, well, one of many things, is the whining from Chump’s supporters about how they, “Didn’t go after Hillary for deleting texts or destroying documents!” – while failing to comprehend that she was never president, so the standing, 1970 rule regarding presidential communications and documents doesn’t apply to her, but does to Trump!!! Though, interestingly, I was not aware that even, “gifts given to a president while in office, explicitly as ‘gifts to the president’ are ALSO property of the national archive/’we the people’ once they leave office as well.” So.. basically Trump, if he so much as took a freaking Disney DVD, that someone “gave him” as president, out of the White House, after being fired, never mind official documents, would have been breaking the f-ing law, and could be “raided” and investigated for it, legally, until the 1970 law.

    But, yeah, the MAGAts, as usual, have no flipping clue what they are talking about, or why their precision Umpaloompa is in trouble, while, “his opponents are getting away with things. Wah, wah!”

  30. says

    blf @31: Susan may have been wrong to say “Everything Hitler did was ‘legal’;” but that doesn’t make her a “fascist” or a “Putin troll.” There’s no need to go overboard like that.

    What has me shaking my head, well, one of many things, is the whining from Chump’s supporters about how they, “Didn’t go after Hillary for deleting texts or destroying documents!”

    Actually, some people DID “go after Hillary,” and IIRC she made no attempt (or just had no physical ability) to hide those infamous emails. Also, she didn’t take any boxes of actual paper documents home with her, so there would have been no need for the kind of search that just happened at Tsar-a-Lago. All of which makes the Retrumplitarians’ whinery even more ridiculous.

  31. christoph says

    @KG, # 36: Oh dear, did I bruise your ego? That explains your ranting and slinging of insults. BTW, once the Nazis were in power, everything they did was legal by default. Ref. post # 37 by F.O.

  32. christoph says

    @ blf, # 31: Which post are you referring to? Just wondering who you’re accusing of being a “(presumably) paid troll.” And I haven’t noticed any posts that show admiration for fascists. Could you point out which post that was?

  33. StevoR says

    Jim Wright of the Stonekettle Station blog has pointed out :

    You notice that in all the Republican angst, righteous outrage, bluster, threats, and protest today, not one of them — not one of them — has attempted, no matter how feebly, to say Trump DIDN’T actually have classified documents illegally in his possession.
    – Jim Wright on fb.

    Which makes a good point.

    As Jim Wright also noted on fb; there is a simple binary question of whether Trump should be considered above the law or not. (Not – I’d say and would expect most people to say. Imagine what even the Repubs would say if it was ex-POTUS Obama instead of ex-POTUS Trump.)

    The law’n’ordure mob ain’t upset because Trump is innocent. They well know he’s guilty and are just afraid he’s finally been caught and facing possible consequences.

    Something that is terribly long overdue and it still baffles me that Trump wasn’t arrested and jailed for sedition, inciting a riot and more the second he stopped being POTUS if not earlier.

  34. whheydt says

    According to the BBC, Trump sat for his deposition in the NY state civil investigation of his financial dealings. His assertion is that he took the 5th on everything. So, okay, it may turn into a criminal case and standing on 5th Amendment rights is something anyone can do. However, as I understand it (IANAL), there is a fly in ointment. In a civil case, a jury is allowed to draw conclusions from the defendant refusing to answer on 5th Amendment grounds, and infer guilt from him doing so.

    On the other hand, not answering is probably a much safer course than his usual lies when testifying under oath. So his lawyers are probably just as happy this way.

  35. says

    BTW, once the Nazis were in power, everything they did was legal by default.

    That’s just a semantic quibble, and it doesn’t change the fact that the Nazi regime — like that of Stalin — was not significantly constrained by laws in any of its actions, and was therefore not a regime acting (in Montesquieu’s words) “under the shield of the law and in the name of justice.” The only difference between those two regimes is that Hitler was able to ignore laws that were on the books and recently recognized as legitimate, and Stalin had no laws to ignore.

  36. christoph says

    @ Raging Bee, # 44: You could make the same argument against the French Revolution. It was technically illegal to round up members of the nobility and execute them, but the laws were changed when the monarchy was abolished. So, it was retroactively legal. Once there’s a regime change like that, none of the old laws apply. If the German laws weren’t changed or abolished, it’s only because the Nazis hadn’t gotten around to it. As I said before, splitting hairs.

    Also, the “The Holocaust was entirely legal” argument was a retort to Trump supporters saying the practice of ICE separating families and putting kids in cages was entirely legal. Same argument for the USA attempting genocide against Native Americans, and later rounding up people of Japanese descent and putting them in internment camps during WWII. Both were egregiously wrong, but still “legal.” Just providing a little context.

  37. says

    @christoph: None of that makes the Montesquieu quote any less wrong. All of the regimes you mention became worse as they weakened or disregarded legal constraints. Also, just because a tyrant says his actions are legal, doesn’t make them so; nor does the use of force make any action “legal.”

  38. says

    Bottom line here: That Montesquieu quote was either laughably nonsensical bullshit or taken WAY out of its original context; and it was obviously stuck onto that poster by a bunch of idiots who wanted to pretend that a government enforcing its own laws on its own turf was THE MOST HORRIBLEST TYRANNY EVAR!!! (subject to change without notice)