By Zachary Stieber
Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz and other legal scholars are questioning the Biden administration raid on former President Donald Trump.
“The raid is supposed to be a last resort, but this administration has used the weaponization of the justice system against its political enemies. It has arrested people, denied them bail, put them in handcuffs—used all kinds of techniques that are not usually applied to American citizens. I just hope this raid has the justification. If it doesn’t have the justification, the materials seized in it will be suppressed,” Dershowitz, who assisted Trump’s legal team during the first impeachment effort, said on Newsmax.
“This is improper, and this is misconduct. We have to find out what the facts are. But we have to make sure the shoe fits on the other foot—that we want to make sure what is being done here is something that Democrats would not oppose if it were being done to Democratic operatives, as well,” he added.
“It’s a breathtaking moment to have a raid like this on a former president and potentially the future opponent of the current president,” Jonathan Turley, a criminal defense attorney and a law professor at George Washington University, said on Fox News.
Turley wondered why Attorney General Merrick Garland, a Biden appointee, did not appoint a special counsel, noting that then-Attorney General Elliot Richardson appointed a special prosecutor to investigate then-President Richard Nixon in the 1970s.
“Now, here you have the past opponent of the current president and the expected future opponent,” Turley said. “I can’t imagine how Attorney General Garland would look at that situation and not see an absolute necessity for a special counsel.”
Little about the justification for the raid is known. The FBI declined to comment and its parent agency, the Department of Justice, which Garland heads, did not respond to a request for comment. The White House did not return an inquiry.
Supporting Documents Not Public
Search warrants require authorization from a judge. Oftentimes, the documents that law enforcement submits to the judge for a warrant are sealed, at least for a period of time, but due to the unprecedented situation the documents should quickly be made public, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody said.
“This is really astonishing and I think for the integrity of this institution there needs to be immediate transparency,” Moody, a Republican, said on Fox.
Trump alleged prosecutorial misconduct in a statement on the raid while Eric Trump, one of his sons, said on Fox that the purpose of the raid was seeing whether his father still possessed any documents the National Archives and Records Administration is seeking.
“My father has worked so collaboratively with them for months. In fact, the lawyer that’s been working on this was totally shocked. He goes, ‘I had such an amazing relationship with these people and, all of a sudden, on no notice, they send, you know, 20 cars and 30 agents?’” Eric Trump said.
The records administration recovered documents from Mar-a-Lago, the resort that was raided, earlier this year. The documents were not turned over to the administration when Trump left office. The Presidential Records Act stipulates that presidential records automatically transfer to the custody of the U.S. archivist after a president transitions to a private citizen. The Department of Justice reportedly opened an investigation into the matter in April or May.