Will the FBI's ransacking of Mar-a-Lago Get the Mike Flynn Treatment?

AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

What’s the game plan for the Biden Department of Justice? Like its boss, the Justice Department seems adrift on what to do next following its arguably unlawful ransacking of Mar-a-Lago over classified materials that Trump very well could have possessed legally. U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon granted the Trump legal team’s motion for a special master to review the documents, which the Justice Department is now appealing.

Is this a soft reboot of the Michael Flynn fiasco in that the DOJ is trying to drag this out to encompass not just the 2022 midterm cycle but leech into the 2024 race?

To recap, Flynn, who served as Trump’s national security adviser, was fired for lying to Vice President Mike Pence about the nature of his phone conversations with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. A longtime target of the anti-Trump Deep State, Flynn was also interviewed by the FBI without prior knowledge or approval from the White House Counsel, which former FBI Director James Comey recites with glee. He knew he could pull a fast one on the Trump White House, and he did. There was no legal reason for Flynn to have an interview with FBI agents.

Regardless, this meeting spurred the false claims to the FBI charge, despite the agents who spoke with Flynn walking away initially believing that the then-national security adviser didn’t engage in deception.

Flynn would remain in legal purgatory for most of the 2020 election, arguably intentional. Swaths of evidence unearthed by Flynn’s new lawyer at the time, Sidney Powell, pointed to a perjury trap allegedly set by then-FBI Director James Comey and disgraced ex-Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. The history of prosecutorial misconduct was so extensive that the DOJ under then-Attorney General William Barr formally filed a motion to dismiss the charges. The prosecutor in the case also resigned. No one wanted to pursue this except for Judge Emmet Sullivan of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.

Before the evidence of prosecutorial overreach was uncovered, Sullivan not only called Flynn a traitor but made no secret that he would hand down a jail sentence that exceeded what the Mueller investigation recommended. Sullivan refused to dismiss the case and solicited an attorney working for a law firm representing Sally Yates to make a case against dismissal. Sullivan was also criticized for quasi-outsourcing the prosecution, allowing amicus briefs from a slew of anti-Trump attorneys when the original prosecuting team bailed.

The point is all of this dragged out for months, with Sullivan banking on a 2020 Biden win in the hopes that maybe a Biden Justice Department would re-file the charges. He was treading legal water while keeping Flynn and the Russian collusion hoax in the news cycle. Trump eventually pardoned Flynn, but the same mindset seems at work here. Former Attorney General Barr, who disagreed with Cannon’s ruling, says an appeal could take several months. Remember, Judge Cannon also issued an injunction against any further investigative effort from the FBI on these documents. The classified materials represent the new Mike Flynn story for the DOJ in the sense that it wants to drag this out to keep this investigation fresh for this election cycle and potentially part of the next. It will not stop Trump from declaring his candidacy, but the DOJ doesn’t care, right? The string of leaks emanating from the DOJ since 2016 over Russian collusion and now nuclear secrets at Mar-a-Lago is evidence of its intentional irresponsibility. And the media is also equally negligent in that they don’t mind running leak stories that could be fake news.

The other layer to this circus is that the media is trying to make this an apples-to-apples story regarding Hillary Clinton’s email fiasco from 2016, but you already know the key differences. One, Trump was president, and he can declassify whatever he wants—he is the ultimate authority in that regard. And Trump declassified a whole trove of documents and kept copies handled by his federally funded staff with security clearances. The residence is also under the protection of the Secret Service, so the notion that classified materials were strewn about is just ludicrous.

Hillary mishandled classified information as secretary of state, had a homebrew server that the State Department did not approve, and transmitted sensitive information through that server. Foreign entities also infiltrated it; it was not secure. And yet, FBI agents did not ransack her home. She also got away with it. A June 8 letter from the DOJ ordered Trump’s attorneys to keep all documents at Mar-a-Lago. On August 8, they raided the house. It reeks of political persecution, and the fact that no real smoking gun has been found only points to a DOJ acting like the Democratic Party’s Gestapo force again. They’re stuck. They’re appealing a ruling which could blow up in their face—it’s not a slam-dunk win. And the rehashing of the “Trump has nuclear secrets” leak shows no criminal intent with the story. Other than federal agents raiding the home of a former president to deliver a warning not to run again.

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