Newsweek is claiming that AG Garland had no knowledge of the FBI raid of Trump’s home to recover classified documents for the National Archives.
They put that nugget at the bottom of an article in which two senior government officials explain what the FBI was trying to do and how they failed spectacularly.
According to the article, Christopher Wray did sign off on the raid and for some reason the FBI thought they could keep the raid low key and non-partisan.
The article begins this way…
The raid on Mar-a-Lago was based largely on information from an FBI confidential human source, one who was able to identify what classified documents former President Trump was still hiding and even the location of those documents, two senior government officials told Newsweek.
The officials, who have direct knowledge of the FBI’s deliberations and were granted anonymity in order to discuss sensitive matters, said the raid of Donald Trump’s Florida residence was deliberately timed to occur when the former president was away.
FBI decision-makers in Washington and Miami thought that denying the former president a photo opportunity or a platform from which to grandstand (or to attempt to thwart the raid) would lower the profile of the event, says one of the sources, a senior Justice Department official who is a 30-year veteran of the FBI.
The effort to keep the raid low-key failed: instead, it prompted a furious response from GOP leaders and Trump supporters. “What a spectacular backfire,” says the Justice official.
“I know that there is much speculation out there that this is political persecution, but it is really the best and the worst of the bureaucracy in action,” the official says. “They wanted to punctuate the fact that this was a routine law enforcement action, stripped of any political overtones, and yet [they] got exactly the opposite.”
Both senior government officials say the raid was scheduled with no political motive, the FBI solely intent on recovering highly classified documents that were illegally removed from the White House. Preparations to conduct such an operation began weeks ago, but in planning the date and time, the FBI Miami Field Office and Washington headquarters were focused on the former president’s scheduled return to Florida from his residences in New York and New Jersey.
“They were seeking to avoid any media circus,” says the second source, a senior intelligence official who was briefed on the investigation and the operation. “So even though everything made sense bureaucratically and the FBI feared that the documents might be destroyed, they also created the very firestorm they sought to avoid, in ignoring the fallout.”
This makes no sense to me. How could they expect a raid of a former president’s home to be low-key? Either they are idiots or they are lying. There is nothing higher profile that the raid of the former President of the United States.
There’s more on the behind-the-scenes deliberation process but I’ll skip to the part about Merrick Garland and Christopher Wray:
The senior Justice Department source says that Garland was regularly briefed on the Records Act investigation, and that he knew about the grand jury and what material federal prosecutors were seeking. He insists, though, that Garland had no prior knowledge of the date and time of the specific raid, nor was he asked to approve it. “I know it’s hard for people to believe,” says the official, “but this was a matter for the U.S. Attorney and the FBI.”
FBI director Christopher Wray ultimately gave his go-ahead to conduct the raid, the senior Justice official says. “It really is a case of the Bureau misreading the impact.”
Guy Benson responded to the Garland news this way:
The story’s sources also claim AG Garland had “no prior knowledge” of the raid, which would be flabbergasting, if true. I’m really struggling to believe that. If it’s true, it’s an absolute mess.
— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) August 10, 2022
It is hard to believe that a raid of the former President of the United States, who has been persecuted from day one by the FBI and DOJ, would not have been mentioned to the Attorney General of the United States.
It is likewise hard to believe that Biden wouldn’t have known about it either.
But we do know Christopher Wray signed off on it and one has to wonder what he was thinking in doing so. Did he not think this would turn into a political nightmare for the agency? If he bought into the low profile nonsense then he’s dumber than I thought.
Wray was asked about the raid today and he refused to comment on it:
Speaking for the first time since the FBI searched Former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, FBI Director Christopher Wray told reporters in Omaha, NB he couldn’t get into the details. “Well, as I’m sure you can appreciate that’s not something I can talk about,” he said.
— Luke Barr (@LukeLBarr) August 10, 2022