by Perry Diaz
On August 8, 2022, the FBI executed a search warrant on former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home in Palm Beach, Florida.
Trump said in a statement that “a large group” of FBI agents was searching his Mar-a-Lago home, accusing the bureau of prosecutorial misconduct and suggesting the raid was politically motivated to prevent him from running for president in 2024.Then, Attorney General Merrick Garland dropped a nuclear bomb! Omigosh! Garland claimed that some of the classified documents were of the “nuclear” type. Suddenly, the whole game changed. The FBI started searching for classified material about nuclear weapons.
Citing sources familiar with the investigation, The Washington Post reported that government officials were deeply concerned that the nuclear documents believed to be stored at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence could fall into the wrong hands.
Separately, the New York Times reported the documents were related to some of the most highly classified U.S. programs, and that officials feared they were vulnerable to being stolen from Trump’s home by foreign adversaries.
The Washington Post said their sources did not give details about the nuclear documents, such as whether they involved U.S. weapons or those of foreign countries.
Sensitive information about U.S. nuclear weapons is usually restricted to a small number of government officials, noting that material about U.S. weapons could be an intelligence coup for adversaries, and that other nations could see classified U.S. information about their nuclear programs as a threat.
A Justice Department source told the Washington Post that top-secret intel like nuclear information would cause law enforcement to quickly want to recover any sensitive documents that are harmful to U.S. security.
“If that is true, it would suggest that material residing unlawfully at Mar-a-Lago may have been classified at the highest classification level,” said the former head of the Justice Department’s counterintelligence section.
In a stunning new development, the FBI seized 11 top-secret documents from Mar-a-Lago, some of which could cause damage to U.S. national security.
The FBI is currently investigating allegations that Trump violated the Espionage Act and other laws related to national security. Among the materials retrieved were classified documents, including some marked “top secret” that were only meant to be viewed at secure government facilities.
The Espionage Act of 1917 was established during World War I—protecting the spread of sensitive information that could harm the country or otherwise give an advantage to others.
Three sections of Title 18 of the United States Code are listed on the search warrant. Section 793 covers the unlawful retention of defense-related information that could harm the United States or aid a foreign adversary.
Section 1519 covers destroying or concealing documents to obstruct government investigations or administrative proceedings. Section 2071 covers the unlawful removal of government records. Violating the Espionage Act carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison.
According to the Washington Post, allies of Trump, alarmed and shocked by the details in the unsealed search warrant, are starting to distance themselves and “go dark.” Nobody wants to be associated with any potential criminal act, particularly when it involves national security.
Some Trump allies insist that a potential Espionage Act investigation would only strengthen his standing in a 2024 Republican presidential primary. GOP strategists claim that he’d be unbeatable in a Republican primary.
However, it’s not clear at this point whether he’d win the presidency in 2024, particularly if he would be indicted for violating the Espionage Act.
Trump claimed that he had a “standing order” to declassify documents. But to declassify documents, there is an “elaborate documented process for declassification,” which can take months.
But Trump’s latest defense is: Everyone ends up having to bring home his or her work from time to time. But Trump is no longer in office – he’s retired. He had no business handling top-secret documents.
A lawyer for Trump said that all investigations into Trump would stop if he were to announce he wouldn’t run for president in 2024.
Meanwhile, Rudy Giuliani said Trump will “raid every one of Biden’s houses” if the former president wins the 2024 presidential election.
Now, that’s politicizing the issue. What has Biden got to do with Trump’s problems? Why can’t Guiliani stop all this nonsense? Wasn’t it enough that he lost his license to practice law in New York?
Et tu Brutus?
Other than the ever-loyal Guiliani, nobody seems to stand by Trump in his hour of need.
At this very moment, he needs a loyal friend, which seems to be in scarce supply nowadays. But the most dangerous are those who were purportedly loyal to him like family members.
I’m not kidding. Sometimes betrayal comes from those closest to you. Remember “Et tu Brutus?” And you, Brutus? That’s where the word brute originated from – someone who betrays a friend.
This brings to mind Trump’s advisor and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, whom he once referred to as “his star.” Well, not anymore.
It all began when Trump and Kushner became business partners in their real estate business and Kushner ended up marrying Trump’s daughter Ivanka. Trump took Kushner under his wings, giving him several high-profile assignments that included overseeing the construction of a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border, strategizing an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and overhauling the GOP platform.
Kushner became the president’s right-hand man and, according to The Washington Post, was known to defend him in the early days of Donald’s political career. Kushner even kept his own cancer diagnosis a secret to not distract Trump from important trade talks with China.
But since President Trump left office in January 2021, shortly after the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, Kushner has distanced himself from politics and reportedly said he wants a “simpler relationship” with his father-in-law, according to the New York Times.
Recently, he and his wife Ivanka testified against her father regarding the January 6 attack, driving a wedge deeper between Donald and his daughter and son-in-law.
Moreover, Kushner recently praised President Biden, saying he thought Biden was making a “smart diplomatic move.”
Initially, Kushner helped Trump cling to power. He was involved with Trump’s scheme to overturn President Joe Biden’s win in the 2020 election.
According to four people familiar with the matter, in the week following Election Day in early November of that year, Kushner took charge of overseeing the development of plans to keep Trump in office.
Kushner repeatedly met with Trump and other high-ranking aides to Trump to discuss and map out possible strategies for multi-pronged legal battles and a scorched-earth messaging war against the victorious Biden campaign.
Then he decided to bail out when things went awfully nasty. He withdrew from the battle – which was getting bloody – and started washing his hands.
In a final act of betrayal, Kushner and Ivanka testified against Trump before the January 6th Subcommittee, which makes one wonder:
Was Kushner the mole inside Mar-a-Lago who provided the FBI with information about the safe and other top-secret documents hidden at Mar-a-Lago?
PERRY DIAZ is a writer, columnist and journalist who has been published in more than a dozen Filipino newspapers in five countries.