James A. Gagliano is a retired FBI Supervisory Special Agent and a doctoral candidate in Homeland Security at St. John’s University. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund and as a CBS News Security and Law Enforcement Analyst.
Attorney General Merrick Garland must explain this unprecedented action – and now!
Simply hiding behind the DOJ’s policy of not speaking publicly about ongoing investigative matters will not satisfy the public.
The American public has lost trust in what was once known as the world’s premier law enforcement agency. And as a 25-year veteran of the FBI, it pains me to say it, but I don’t blame them.
Committed partisan ideologues in the upper echelons of the FBI and DOJ view the 45th president as more than just a politician with whose policies they disagree with.
They see Trump as a direct threat to the republic and they are determined to stop him by any means necessary.
Attorney General Merrick Garland (above) must explain this unprecedented action – and now!
The FBI agents searching Mar-a-Largo were said to be seeking presidential documents in Trump’s possession that belong in the National Archives. But a knock-and-announce warrant service to recover records is the enforcement equivalent of using a sledgehammer to kill a fly.
After the calamity of errors, missteps and downright partisan influence infecting the FBI’s Russian collusion investigation and now this, there is a sense that government’s instruments of power are being unleashed on political enemies.
Trump haters scream that no one is above the law, and they’re right, but no one is below it either, and the politically-biased leadership in the FBI and DOJ only appear interested in applying the law in one direction – against Trump.
Just look at how other recent high-profile investigations have played out.
When Secretary of State Hillary Clinton utilized an unauthorized, private server to house all the emails that she didn’t want on her government server, the FBI didn’t knock on her door in Chappaqua, New York.
Clinton got the kid glove treatment.
Her top aides were granted immunity by the DOJ to spill the beans on the whole enterprise. And Clinton showed complete disregard for these under-subpoena emails (some of which contained classified material), as her staff was directed to destroy 33,000 emails and personal electronic devices with Bleachbit and hammers.
The partisan ideologues at Main Justice and the FBI – a select few, some of whom you may have heard of, and others who you have not yet – control the levers of power and they’re using it for political ends (Above) FBI Director Christopher Wray on November 8, 2021 in Washington, DC.
There was no federal search warrant in this case, just an impotent acceptance of Clinton’s feeble excuse that the missing emails were related to her daughter’s wedding planning or yoga routines.
In the end, FBI Director James Comey announced that he wasn’t pursuing charges in his infamous July 2016 news conference, during which he curiously outlined where she had run afoul of the law.
Even Comey himself got off easy for mishandling (leaking) sensitive documents.
Ironically, they were memos summarizing his encounters with President Trump.
The DOJ Inspector General concluded that Comey provided sensitive memorandums, some containing classified information, which his surrogate then shared with the media.
The Inspector General made a criminal referral to Trump’s Justice Department for potential prosecution, but Attorney General William Barr declined to prosecute.
But if you were in the Trump White House watch out.
The FBI considered using the Logan Act against Trump National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.
We’ve known that Trump was in possession of these materials for a year, but the search occurred nearly three months before what is certain to be a contentious, polarizing, and divisive midterm election. (Above) Secret Service agents stand outside Mar-a-Lago on Aug. 8, 2022
Even though the Logan Act, enacted in 1799 to criminalize unauthorized negotiations with foreign governments, had never been prosecuted.
The FBI ended up charging him with lying to the FBI.
During my nearly three decades in the FBI, I pleaded with U.S. Attorneys to allow us to charge drug dealers, murderers, rapists, and gang bangers, with lying to the FBI.
I got the greenlight exactly zero times!
Donald Trump was never to be treated like Secretary Clinton or Director Comey.
The hammer was the tool of choice.
The partisan ideologues at Main Justice and the FBI – a select few, some of whom you may have heard of, and others who you have not yet – control the levers of power and they’re using it for political ends.
We’ve known that Trump was in possession of these materials for a year, but the search occurred nearly three months before what is certain to be a contentious, polarizing, and divisive midterm election.
When Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (above) utilized an unauthorized, private server to house all the emails that she didn’t want on her government server, the FBI didn’t knock on her door in Chappaqua, New York.
Not to mention, one in which Trump has endorsed some of the cycle’s most controversial candidates.
The DOJ has explicit rules that bar prosecutors from taking actions to purposefully influence an election or to advantage or disadvantage a particular candidate or a political party.
One can’t possibly argue that this event wouldn’t influence voters come November.
If Trump’s candidates lose, it weakens him. And if Trump is convicted on low-level crimes that are seldom prosecuted and would probably not result in any jail time – he would still be barred from holding elected office ever again.
Goodbye aspirations for 2024.
For the committed ideologues – the republic would be safe again.
Legitimate questions continue to be raised as to whether our governmental institutions are as apolitical, impartial, and unbiased as we should expect.
Whether the warrant service was justified remains to be seen.
But if nothing comes of this unprecedented action, the complete erosion of the public’s faith and trust in the Justice Department and the FBI will be timestamped ‘2022.’
We deserve an accounting – and now.