The Mar-a-Lago Raid Is the Desperate Act of a Corrupt Establishment | Opinion

"These are dark times for our nation," former President Donald Trump declared in response to the FBI's Monday morning raid on his Mar-a-Lago club and private residence in Palm Beach, Florida. He compared the event to "an assault" that "could only take place in broken, Third-World countries."

Startled during the slow summer season, when Mar-a-Lago is closed and Trump resides at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, the staff complied with a search warrant. Ostensibly, the warrant applied to documents that Trump is alleged to have improperly removed from the White House in possible violation of the Presidential Records Act, which requires official records to be transferred to the National Archives. Trump also claims that the feds cracked his personal safe. Further reports suggest that unrelated documents were removed, in some cases without review. To many, the raid appeared to be a clear fishing expedition for potentially incriminating documents about Trump's alleged role in the January 6, 2021 demonstration at the U.S. Capitol.

Trump claims to have been complying with the FBI. In January, he turned over 15 boxes containing such vitally important records as a birthday party menu, a cocktail napkin, and a list of telephone numbers, among other items best described as memorabilia from his administration. Unconfirmed reports suggest that he may have removed classified material, though as president he had ultimate authority for the declassification of any and all White House documents.

Normally, a raid by federal law enforcement is the last resort when all other options for obtaining evidence have failed. It is typically used against drug dealers, mafia bosses, and other dangerous criminals—not people suspected of failing to properly deposit documents with the National Archives. Despite a court order authorizing the raid, there is no indication that any seized material had been subpoenaed, the proper intermediary step before dozens of heavily armed FBI shock troops storm one's home. Even Richard Nixon had the courtesy of a subpoena for his infamous Watergate tapes. When Bill and Hillary Clinton improperly took gifts and government-owned furniture from the White House, no legal action was forthcoming. As secretary of state, Hillary notoriously exported to her home internet server over 33,000 government emails, which she then deleted and scrubbed in what appeared to be an attempt to avoid an FBI subpoena. The FBI did not raid her house, however, and accepted her and the propagandistic regime media's characterization of the incident as a peccadillo unworthy of law enforcement's attention.

Leftists are crowing that FBI Director Christopher Wray is a Trump appointee, but the imprimatur for the Mar-a-Lago raid almost certainly came from Wray's boss, Attorney General Merrick Garland. Garland was appointed by President Joe Biden, who will likely face Trump in a rematch in 2024. When asked, the Justice Department, FBI, and White House all fueled suspicion by neither confirming nor denying Garland's personal involvement in authorizing the raid.

A member of the Secret Service is
A member of the Secret Service is seen in front of the home of former President Donald Trump at Mar-A-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida on August 9, 2022. GIORGIO VIERA/AFP via Getty Images

This is the same Merrick Garland who implied in an official memorandum last October that parents speaking out against critical race theory at school meetings were domestic terrorists, leading the FBI's counterterrorism division to assign them a "threat tag." Earlier this year, Garland refused to provide home security to the U.S. Supreme Court justices identified with the leaked ruling that eventually overturned Roe v. Wade, even when those justices were violently threatened—and, in the case of Brett Kavanaugh, the object of an assassination plot.

Trump has all but announced that he will seek a second term come 2024. A criminal conviction on even a minor, peripheral charge could prevent him from returning to the presidency. The Democrats already tried and failed to disqualify him via conviction at his second impeachment trial. Most recent polls show Trump with a commanding lead for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024; many also show him beating Biden in a hypothetical general election rematch. The Democrats rightly fear catastrophic losses in November's midterm elections, including those to Trump-endorsed candidates who have proved remarkably successful in Republican primaries. What better way to dispose of this powerful rival than to score a conviction following the flex of law enforcement muscle like those flaunted in the dramatic arrests of Trump associates Roger Stone and Peter Navarro, or in Steve Bannon's recent conviction?

Like so much else in the Biden administration, public reaction suggests a serious backfire is in the works. Trump supporters—and even a fair number of Trump skeptics and opponents—have taken to the airwaves, social media, and the pavement abutting Mar-a-Lago and New York's Trump Tower to decry dangerous overreach by a weaponized federal law enforcement apparatus. Thereby, they affirm Trump's narrative that he is a persecuted victim of the regime fighting to prevent worse fates befalling his millions of more vulnerable supporters. With improper procedure, no evidence of probable cause, and radical partisan leadership at the Justice Department, it is hard to see it any other way, especially as the IRS potentially gears up to hire 87,000 new agents—foot soldiers in the administrative-managerial caste's increasingly desperate campaign against Americans who resist that caste's corruption.

"Banana Republic," tweeted Florida Governor Ron DeSantis in disgust at Trump's treatment. Indeed. And even as these words were written, legacy media was already loyally changing "raid" to "search."

Paul du Quenoy is president of the Palm Beach Freedom Institute.

The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.