Guest Commentary - Why do Republicans Prefer to Protect Trump Over National Security?

Given a choice, House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy has selected Donald Trump
over the law.| 

By Steve Lee | 

Americans need to wake up to the duplicitous diatribes that Trump Republicans like House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (Bakersfield), Assemblyman Kevin Kiley and Representative Tom McClintock (Elk Grove) continue to spew in defending Donald Trump. They’ve attacked the legality of the recent Mar-A-Lago FBI search and now make demands for an investigation into Attorney General Merrick Garland.

McCarthy wrote on Twitter after the search, “Attorney General Garland, preserve your documents and clear your calendar,’” assuming after the midterms the Republicans will take control of the House, and he’ll be the new Speaker. He’s already planning a congressional inquiry into Garland’s actions related to the warrant. Won’t this just lead to additional divisiveness instead of bringing the country together?

The response from Kiley? The DOJ’s actions look “politically motivated.”  Kiley is one of those diehards who has yet to concede that Biden was legitimately elected. “Why is it that we have this unprecedented level of politicization that has happened under the watch of Merrick Garland?”

Really? Unprecedented level of politicization happened under Garland? He’s got to be kidding. Trump is certainly most responsible for the divisiveness and discord among the public towards our political parties in today’s political climate.

McClintock’s response was similar; “The raid on a former president over a record dispute opens an ominous new era in which the FBI and DOJ have forfeit the trust of the American people.” The FBI and DOJ actually protected the democracy over the feelings of a former president who has earned no trust from the American people due to his pathological lying over four years as our commander and leader.

Why the outrage from these political leaders? The recent search turned up 11 top secret documents and classified materials after the former president and his attorneys swore in a signed June letter that there were no more documents of interest at the Palm Beach, Fla. Resort.

The search warrant was reviewed and approved by an impartial federal judge, based on sworn facts providing that a crime had likely been committed and evidence of the crime was present at the location and particularly describing the evidence sought. Certainly the federal judge was certain the facts were accurate, probable cause was present and the affidavit was air-tight before he signed a warrant to search the residence of a former US President, an unprecedented act in US history.

By removing the documents from the White House, Trump quite possibly violated the Espionage Act and committed other crimes. The Espionage Act prohibits obtaining or disclosing information related to national defense if it could be used at the expense of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation. The law criminalizes the unauthorized retention or disclosure of information related to national defense that could harm the United States or aid its enemies.  A document does not need to be classified to be protected by the act.

These documents were found in boxes in the basement of a hotel that has catered to many international leaders over the years. Access to the basement was certainly more accessible than say access to the White House private screening room which requires high-grade security clearance requiring a high-level background check, rather than just an American Express Platinum Card. A housekeeper or maintenance man would have access to the basement. A large payment to a low-level worker could provide access to that basement; a $10,000 donation to such a worker by a visiting Russian oligarch could be easily arranged.

Top Secret is the highest level of classification. Information is classified as Top Secret if it “reasonably could be expected to cause exceptionally grave damage to the national security,” according to a 2009 executive order that describes the classification system. Access to a “sensitive compartmented information” or SCI document can be even further restricted to a smaller group of people with specific security clearances. SCI documents were also found in a box during the Mar-a-Lago search.

Why would Trump take these classified documents from the White House and store them at his residence? Perhaps to sell them to the highest bidder, Russia, N. Korea, or China? Perhaps to hold them as security to ensure the government won’t prosecute him for his potentially many crimes, offering to disclose their contents to foreign powers if threatened with the prosecution? Perhaps just plain stupidity?

Glenn Gerstell, the former general counsel for the National Security Agency states, “There is no First Amendment right to take national defense information out of secure facilities and take it home.”

Republicans, instead of denouncing the search, should be lauding the DOJ and Garland for putting national security over stupidity or worse, greed or threats to the country. There is no evidence yet that Trump was planning to release the material. Nevertheless, mishandling sensitive documents and removing them from a secure facility is still prohibited. DOJ did its job to protect national security.

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Atticus Finch said...

Don't forget the main reason why Trump does anything, including in this case why he stole the classified documents - and that is pure vanity and narcissism. He is known to show off for guests at Mar a Lago (ie. love letters from Kim Jong Un). Why is everyone making such a big deal out of this. Don't you know these documents belong to him and not the U.S. government?

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