The federal judge who agreed to former President Donald Trump’s request for a special master to review documents seized by the FBI last month from his Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida appears to believe that the bureau engaged in massive overreach, as do several legal experts.
John Solomon of Just the News writes:
A criminal probe “requested by the incumbent president.” The seizure of clothing, medical records, tax records and 500 pages of attorney-client privileged documents not covered by a warrant. The sharing of privileged documents with investigators.
More than simply appointing a special master to referee an evidence dispute, U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon exposed this week a Justice Department search of former President Donald Trump’s home that was initiated by his chief Democrat rival, that was carried out so sloppily that it violated the “least intrusive” mandate in the FBI agent’s manual, and that failed to keep legally-protected materials from falling into the hands of investigators.
Problems from the raid that have turned up thus far put Trump “at risk of suffering injury from the Government’s retention and potential use of privileged materials,” Cannon noted in her ruling. She went on to say that any future indictment of the ex-president based on the Aug. 8 search of Mar-a-Lago “would result in reputational harm of a decidedly different order of magnitude.”
Put another way, the judge wasn’t convinced by the DOJ argument that it’s honor system, known as “filter” or “taint” teams, was enough to protect Trump’s constitutional rights.
“The Court takes a different view on this record,” she noted in the ruling.
Added Solomon: “Cannon’s Labor Day ruling is simply an opening salvo. Whether Trump’s claims of executive privilege, attorney-client privilege or an unconstitutional, overly broad search prevail will be decided some time in the future. But one thing is clear. The FBI and its overseers at the Biden Justice Department bumbled on what was certain to be one of the most scrutinized search warrant executions in modern American history. And that’s according to one of the bureau’s own former and highly respected executives.”
Several legal experts agree with Judge Cannon.
“The more that’s revealed, the more it looks like a kind of sloppy government overreach is in play,” former Assistant FBI Director of Intelligence Kevin Brock told Just the News. “It seems more than a bit ‘loose’ to those of us who have executed numerous search warrants.”
In addition, George Washington University Law School professor Jonathan Turley, who is a Democrat, said that Cannon’s ruling cited FBI failures that, in past years, would have incited anger among liberals who are now silent about them because of their disdain for Trump.
“Many faculty on the left continue the curious objections to a court seeking review of the FBI or not accepting its overbroad claims of authority,” Turley wrote in his blog on Tuesday. “It is a bizarre shift that we have seen in other Trump investigations where liberals suddenly express shock that a court would override sweeping national security claims or seek to review the Justice Department’s review of material for privilege.”
He add that there “appears to have been mistakes by the taint team and that privileged material (as well as an assortment of private material from medical records to tax records) were seized.”