Former White House and Department of Justice lawyers have released their official legal review of the FBI raid on Donald Trump's private residence:
"No legal basis."
The conclusion was reached by David B. Rivkin Jr. and Lee A. Casey, who penned their findings in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal:
The warrant authorized the FBI to seize “all physical documents and records constituting evidence, contraband, fruits of crime, or other items illegally possessed in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§793, 2071, or 1519” (emphasis added). These three criminal statutes all address the possession and handling of materials that contain national-security information, public records or material relevant to an investigation or other matters properly before a federal agency or the courts.
Those statutes are general in their text and application. But Mr. Trump’s documents are covered by a specific statute, the Presidential Records Act of 1978. It has long been the Supreme Court position, as stated in Morton v. Mancari (1974), that “where there is no clear intention otherwise, a specific statute will not be controlled or nullified by a general one, regardless of the priority of enactment.” The former president’s rights under the PRA trump any application of the laws the FBI warrant cites.
The PRA lays out detailed requirements for how the archivist is to administer the records, handle privilege claims, make the records public, and impose restrictions on access. Notably, it doesn’t address the process by which a former president’s records are physically to be turned over to the archivist, or set any deadline, leaving this matter to be negotiated between the archivist and the former president.
Rivkin and Casey came to the conclusion that "there is no provision in the PRA that would allow a search warrant to be executed against the president, absent some other crime having been committed (and possibly having reached a conviction in a court of law)."
Sounds pretty clear to me. They're using lawyer-speak for "politically-motivated witch hunt."
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