Police Chief here. Wrote many affidavits and search warrants. Executed same. Left receipts for seized property. Now noting the clusterfuck at Mar A Lago. People now rendering opinions about what happened to President Trump. Most of it is conjecture.
So what I'm saying is simply this. Verified and corroborated facts tend to be the best evidence to establish truth- beyond that everything else is just an opinion.
I don't care whether a person has 20 years' worth of credentials and experience- in the absence of verified and corroborated facts or evidence- anything an "expert" utters may or may not be bullshit. I take a real jaundiced view of all those lawyers wearing FBI garments.
Now it doesn't take a college degree to determine what the truth is. Or what the truth isn't. Which leads me to today's topic.
The search of Mar-A-Lago, Trump's estate, was predicated upon some missing documents presumably from NARA, the National Archives. I am in awe that an entire FBI field office had the audacity to do this and kick all of Trump's lawyers out while they searched. Talk about using a cannon to kill a mouse.
A pretext search occurs when you have a set of proven facts or reasonable suspicion that a crime has occurred. You write an affidavit, set it before some pre-selected friendly judge, and get it signed. In this case, the items to be described were unreturned documents from the National Archives. The judge was an Obama appointee who once defended Jeffrey "I didn't kill myself" Epstein, pedophile.
Unreturned or misappropriated documents?? Really?? Big effing deal. Obama and Bill Clinton took all kinds of NARA documents. Are we to expect a search warrant for them in the coming days?
That was the pretext the DOJ/FBI used to obtain the warrant. They could care less about that nonsense. What they are really after are incriminating documents having to do with something else. Maybe Jan. 6. Maybe tax evasion. Maybe other serious crimes. What they were really looking for had nothing to do with the National Archives. They are hoping to find evidence of some other serious crime that they can use to get rid of Trump for good.
A search warrant affiant has to particularly describe the items being searched for in the search warrant affidavit. You must also leave a receipt for the property that was seized.
Now there is well established law that says you can't look for a stolen microwave in a kitchen drawer. So what you must do if you really want in that drawer, is that you must state in your search warrant that you are searching for proof of residency, occupancy, power, gas, cable bills, or some other item that may be small enough to fit in that drawer.
What if you stumble upon ledgers, bank accounts, or other documents that incriminate the suspect for other crimes? Can you seize them? Yes, and you can photo them or write down what's on them and leave those items behind if you are trying to be a little sneaky about it.
The rule is- as long as you were legally entitled to open that drawer in the first place, anything you spot that is evidence of another crime or contraband can be seized as evidence. Even if you just "stumbled onto it" by mistake.
Did I use pretexts to search for evidence of other crimes? Yes, but not intentionally per se. We just knew from experience that we were likely to uncover evidence from other crimes because it happened so often. We generally wrote affidavits that would allow us to search for the tiniest piece of contraband anywhere in a house, property, or storage unit and that allowed access virtually anywhere. Sometimes we found a checking account number, a storage unit key, or something else we could use for additional evidence or other crimes.
So in essence, 30 members of an armed FBI field office, were able to look anywhere they wanted to inside or outside of Mar-A-Lago as they searched for "missing documents."
They used a perfectly legal method to go on a fishing expedition which may or may not yield results evidence of other crimes.
Here's the problem with that. Everyone in the legal community might already suspect this was nothing but a pretext search. People, citizens, do not like the idea of cops abusing the law to conduct pretext searches. Not only do many people see the pretext search as dishonest, it violates a sense of fair play.
People have had it with this never-ending Trump witch hunt. They are tired of the deep state and media. We've had 2 unsuccessful impeachments, the Russia hoax, the Mueller nonsense, the tax return bullshit, and I am sure I am missing some other stuff.
I think this latest round is going to spectacularly backfire. We're not talking about some run of the mill low level drug dealer being abused in a search warrant. This is the President of the United States.
The Dems have crossed the point of no return. They better have Trump dead to rights this time or all hell is about to break loose.