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I have questions about the FBI raid at Mar-a-Lago

Houseman

Arch Disciple
Sanctuary legend
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865
Trump is being accused of keeping documents related to the Office of President. The warrant includes "Any government and/or Presidential Records created between January 20, 2017 and January 20, 2021"

Allegedly, they carted out 20 boxes of stuff.

So, my question is, if Trump having these documents was illegal, then how did these documents even end up at Mar-a-Lago in the first place?

Did White House employees, over the years, smuggle out all these documents one by one, somehow bypassing all the layers of security related to the Office of the President? How many people were in on it? What drove them to continually break the law in this way?

If the documents weren't smuggled, but were there lawfully, and should have been returned at the end of Trump's term, was there really no sort of tracking, or chain-of-custody database in place to set off alarms at that time? Do they not keep track of where documents are? If there's a document related to "nuclear secrets" in Trump's possession, why doesn't the White House automatically know that?

If they do have a sophisticated tracking system, then why didn't they collect those documents sooner?

If it was legal for Trump to have these documents, and if the White House knew that Trump had these documents, then why did the FBI raid him?

Just some questions I had, that I can't ask anywhere else without getting banned. If you guys know, please educate me.
 
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Arnox

Veteran
Staff member
Founder
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4,537
Not sure if the accusations are legitimate or not, but it's funny that these investigations are starting now before the elections. What a coincidence...
 

Gauche

Disciple
Messages
480

1 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF FLORIDA WEST PALM BEACH DIVISION CASE NO. 22-CV-81294-CANNON DONALD J. TRUMP, Plaintiff, v. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Defendant. ________________________________/ PLAINTIFF DONALD J. TRUMP’S PRINCIPAL BRIEF TO THE SPECIAL MASTER ON GLOBAL ISSUES Pursuant to the Special Master’s Order dated October 26, 2022, ECF 162, Plaintiff, President Donald J. Trump, through the undersigned counsel, files this letter brief on the “global issues” pertaining to the Special Master’s review in this matter. Following the review of the documents at issue, the parties identified the following five “Global Issues” to brief before the Special Master review the materials seized from President Trump’s residence at Mar-a-Lago: - Whether Plaintiff may designate records created or received during his administration as personal documents during or after his term in office; - Whether certain groups of documents (e.g., pardon packages) are Presidential records; - Whether categorization of a document as a personal record means that it cannot be claimed by a former officeholder as subject to a claim of executive privilege; - Whether Plaintiff may assert executive privilege to withhold seized materials from the Case 9:22-cv-81294-AMC Document 171 Entered on FLSD Docket 11/08/2022 Page 1 of 21 2 government notwithstanding the four reasons and footnote in the government’s letter with respect to the 15 Filter A documents filed on October 20, 2022; and - Whether Plaintiff should be required to file a declaration or affidavit regarding the government’s inventory as set forth in ECF 118, at 1-2. ECF 161-1 at 1. This brief addresses each matter in turn. DISCUSSION I. The Presidential Records Act authorizes a sitting President to designate records as personal records during his term in office. The Special Master has directed the Parties to brief the issue of “[w]hether Plaintiff may designate or convert Presidential records to personal ones during or after his term in office.” ECF 161-1. As Plaintiff has explained in prior briefing, all government records are subject to either the Federal Records Act (“FRA”) or the Presidential Records Act (“PRA”). “[N]o individual record can be subject to both statutes because their provisions are inconsistent.” Armstrong v. Exec. Office of the President, 1 F.3d 1374, 1293 (D.C. Cir. 1993) (“Armstrong II”) (“The FRA defines a class of materials that are federal records subject to its provisions, and the PRA describes another, mutually exclusive set of materials that are subject to a different, less rigorous regime.”). The PRA specifies a further distinction between Presidential records and personal records, requiring that “all material produced or received by the President, ‘to the extent practicable,’ be categorized as Presidential records or personal records upon their creation or receipt and be filed separately.” Judicial Watch, Inc. v. Nat’l Archives & Recs. Admin., 845 F. Supp. 2d 288, 291 (D.D.C. 2012) (quoting 44 U.S.C. § 2203(b)); see also 44 U.S.C. § 2201(2)- Case 9:22-cv-81294-AMC Document 171 Entered on FLSD Docket 11/08/2022 Page 2 of 21 3 (3). The reason for this distinction is that the PRA pertains to the ownership, retention, or archiving of only Presidential records and not personal records.1 The question now before the Special Master is therefore whether a President has the authority to decide whether a document is a “Presidential record” or a “personal record.” Both the plain language of the PRA and past court decisions answer this question in the affirmative. As a general matter, the PRA tasks the President—and the President alone—with “tak[ing] all such steps as may be necessary” to ensure the proper documentation of the Presidency according to the law. 44 U.S.C. § 2203(a). Pursuant to that obligation, the PRA further requires that “materials produced or received by the President . . . shall, to the extent practicable, be categorized as Presidential records or personal records upon their creation or receipt . . . .” Id. § 2203(b). The Judicial Watch decision provides an important model for the present case. There, the U.S. District Court for District of Columbia assessed the designation of Clinton Administration records. President Bill Clinton had engaged a historian to help create an “oral history” of his administration, and the historian recorded several dozen audiotapes of both conversations with President Clinton and his real-time participation in events while Clinton was acting as President (such as official telephone calls). Judicial Watch, 845 F. Supp. 1 The PRA defines “Presidential records” to mean “documentary materials . . . created or received by the President [or the President’s staff] in the course of conducting activities which relate to or have an effect upon the carrying out of the constitutional, statutory, or other official or ceremonial duties of the President.” 44 U.S.C. § 2201(2). The term does not include “personal records,” which the statute defines to mean “all documentary materials . . . of a purely private or nonpublic character which do not relate to or have an effect upon the carrying out of the constitutional, statutory, or other official or ceremonial duties of the President.” Id. § 2201(3). Case 9:22-cv-81294-AMC Document 171 Entered on FLSD Docket 11/08/2022 Page 3 of 21 4 2d at 290. President Clinton retained the tapes and did not deliver them to the National Archives and Records Administration (“NARA”). Id. Instead, according to public reports, President Clinton stored the tapes in his sock drawer. 2 A non-profit organization subsequently sued in federal court, arguing that the tapes documented official Presidential business and thus were Presidential records under the PRA. Id. at 290-91. Interpreting the PRA, the court stated, “[t]he only reference in the entire statute to the designation of records as personal versus Presidential . . . calls for the decision to be made by the executive.” Judicial Watch, Inc., 845 F. Supp. 2d at 300-01. “Under the statute, this responsibility is left solely to the President.” Id. at 301. Therefore, according to the Judicial Watch court, in allocating this responsibility to the President, the PRA neither obligates nor permits the Archivist to make initial designation decisions or to take control of records that the President has designated as personal records. See Id. at 291, 300-01. The PRA, then, is clear: a President determines whether a document constitutes a Presidential record or a personal record. In this instance, President Trump exercised that authority. As an initial matter, the PRA recognizes the President’s authority to make this decision, and when that decision is made, it is not subject to challenge. There is no authority whatsoever for the notion that the Government can seize documents from a President, and simply declare that they are Presidential records. Furthermore, Plaintiff is not referencing any authority to designate documents as 2 CBS News, “Clinton’s Secrets In His Sock Drawer” (Sept. 6, 2007), https://www.cbsnews.com/news/clintons-secrets-in-his-sock-drawer/. Case 9:22-cv-81294-AMC Document 171 Entered on FLSD Docket 11/08/2022 Page 4 of 21 5 Presidential records or personal records “after his term in office.” Rather, Plaintiff was authorized to—and did in fact—designate the seized materials as personal records while he served as President. President Trump was still serving his term in office when the documents at issue were packed, transported, and delivered to his residence in Palm Beach, Florida.3 Thus, when he made a designation decision, he was President of the United States; his decision to retain certain records as personal is entitled to deference, and the records in question are thus presumptively personal. The contents of the seized materials underscore the fact that President Trump treated these papers as personal records. The documents seized from Mar-a-Lago included However, the Special Master has not been tasked with assessing the correctness of President Trump’s designations. In other words, it is the President’s designation—not the appearance or content of a given document—that is determinative. And as demonstrated by the Judicial Watch decision, President Trump need not put forth documentary evidence of his designation decisions, because his conduct unequivocally confirmed that he was treating the materials in question as personal records, rather than Presidential records. In Judicial Watch, President Clinton had declined to supply the records at issue to the National Archives and Records Administration (“NARA”). Judicial Watch, 3 See Patricia Mazzei and Julia Echikson, Trump has arrived in Palm Beach to begin life as a private citizen, The New York Times (Jan. 20, 2021), available at https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/20/us/trump-palm-beach.html (last accessed November 7, 2022). Case 9:22-cv-81294-AMC Document 171 Entered on FLSD Docket 11/08/2022 Page 5 of 21 6 845 F. Supp. 2d at 301. The court did not conduct a searching review of when or why President Clinton opted for that course of action; instead, it merely noted that he had not provided the records to NARA, as would have been necessary had President Clinton designated them as Presidential records, and observed that NARA “decline[d] to revisit the President’s classification decision.” Id. As in that case, President Trump’s “classification decision” between Presidential and personal was made through action: his decision not to supply the records to NARA confirms that he treated them as personal records. And to reiterate, President Trump took this course of action while he was in office. Once the President makes such a designation decision, the PRA contemplates one avenue for further review: civil litigation initiated by NARA challenging the guidelines or process utilized in a given designation decision. Prior courts have determined that the PRA precludes judicial review of a President’s creation, management, or disposal decisions. See Armstrong v. Bush, 924 F.2d 282, 290 (D.C. Cir. 1991) (“Armstrong I”) (“[T]he PRA precludes review of the President’s recordkeeping practices and decisions.”). The statute “accords the President virtually complete control over his records during his term of office,” to the extent, for example, that “neither the Archivist nor the Congress has the authority to veto the President’s disposal decision.” Id.; see also Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington v. Cheney, 593 F. Supp. 2d 194, 198 (D.D.C. 2009) (noting that, in enacting the PRA, Congress “limited the scope of judicial review and provided little oversight authority for the President and Vice President’s document preservation decisions”). Critically, the PRA does not give either the Archivist or any other official free rein to pursue criminal enforcement. Instead, the PRA identifies one specific mechanism for Case 9:22-cv-81294-AMC Document 171 Entered on FLSD Docket 11/08/2022 Page 6 of 21 7 enforcing the law: civil litigation initiated by NARA. See Judicial Watch, Inc., 845 F. Supp. 2d at 302; see also 44 U.S.C. §§ 2112, 3106; Armstrong v. Exec. Office of the President, 1 F.3d 1274, 1294 (D.C. Cir. 1993) (noting that the “guidelines describing which existing materials will be treated as presidential records in the first place are subject to judicial review”). In sum, the PRA offers a comprehensive structure concerning the designation of documents, in which the decision of a President during that President’s term is subject to complete deference and limited judicial review. The law identifies one official who is authorized to designate documents as Presidential or personal—the sitting President during whose term the documents in question originated or were received. The PRA identifies one mechanism for challenging the process utilized in making a President’s designation decision—a civil lawsuit. If the process utilized by a President is allegedly defective, the PRA spells out the remedy: instead of initiating a criminal investigation and executing a search warrant, the Government should simply have availed itself of this process, namely, by filing a civil action seeking to challenge the process by which President Trump designated the records as personal. In any case, President Trump’s designation decisions made during his term of office cannot possibly form the basis for any criminal investigation—to the extent those decisions are subject to challenge under the PRA, that is an entirely civil matter. The Government is likely to posit that such authority on the part of the President is inconsistent with the PRA’s function as an effective archiving device. But in reaching her conclusion in Judicial Watch, Judge Amy Berman Jackson raised particularly important questions addressing the nature of the President’s authority under the statute. Case 9:22-cv-81294-AMC Document 171 Entered on FLSD Docket 11/08/2022 Page 7 of 21 8 At oral argument, Judge Berman Jackson asked counsel for the Government, “What is to prevent a President from frustrating the balance that the statute was trying to strike between his privacy and public access . . . ? Let’s say a President kind of maliciously overclassifies, what is the remedy?” Judicial Watch, Inc. v. Nat’l Archives and Records Admin, No. 1:10-cv-01834 (D.D.C.), ECF 14 at 13 (“Judicial Watch Transcript”). In that instance, the Government appropriately responded that the PRA contemplates one avenue for challenging a designation decision—the process set forth under 44 U.S.C. §§ 2112 and 3106. Id.; see also Judicial Watch, Inc., 845 F. Supp. 2d at 302. In the Government’s words, that remedy is “what Congress chose, and that’s the remedy the Court is bound by.” Judicial Watch Transcript at 13. Alternatively, the Government noted that “if Congress believes that a President is wildly misclassifying information, it can pass a law to change the statutory structure . . . .” Id. at 15. Indeed, just yesterday, lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives introduced a new law—the “Presidential Records Certification Act”—that would require executive officials to attest to their compliance with the Presidential Records Act on a regular schedule. Blah Blah Blah you useless comment section fucks

Could only find this on a tweet
Not one article on the matter links it, they all just quote "Lawyers said, ya know, the Trump ones, tots"

News outlets are useless at sourcing shit, why bother asking the internet?
Seems like bait for "My Uncle who works for Nintendo said" BS answers
May as well ask what color your piss was this morning
It was red, definitely red
Why doesn't the White House automatically know that though?
TMYQ
 
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