A former federal prosecutor with knowledge of the Department of Justice’s inner workings said the FBI’s raid on former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago property in Florida was likely conducted on Aug. 8 for a specific reason.
On Tuesday, Elie Honig, a former federal and state prosecutor turned CNN senior legal analyst, said the DOJ is required to hold off from conducting “politically sensitive moves” within 90 days of any major election.
The Aug. 8 raid just so happened to be conducted 91 days prior to this year’s midterm elections on Nov. 8.
“Today is just about 90 days out exactly from the midterms, I think maybe 91 or 92 days out. That policy, that may be a reason why they did it today because they want to stay clear of that if they’re interpreting that as a 90 day rule,” Honig, a former assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, told CNN.
Earlier reports indicated the DOJ was already weighing such considerations.
On July 18, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow revealed a May 25 internal DOJ memo from Attorney General Merrick Garland titled “Election Year Sensitivities.”
“Simply put, partisan politics must play no role in the decisions of federal investigators or prosecutors regarding any investigations or criminal charges,” Garland wrote in the memo.
“Law enforcement officers and prosecutors may never select the timing of public statements (attributed or not), investigative steps, criminal charges, or any other action in any matter or case for the purpose of affecting any election, or for the purpose of giving an advantage or disadvantage to any candidate or political party.
“Such a purpose, or the appearance of such a purpose, is inconsistent with the Department’s mission and with the Principles of Federal Prosecution.”
Following the Aug. 8 raid, Garland said he “personally approved the decision to seek a search warrant in this matter” on Thursday.
Attorney General Merrick Garland on FBI’s search of former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home: “I personally approved the decision to seek a search warrant in this matter.” pic.twitter.com/h3Ek1vCaAx
— CSPAN (@cspan) August 11, 2022
“There’s 30 agents there,” he said. “They told our lawyer … you have to leave the property right now. Turn off all security cameras.”
Americans don’t seem too convinced that the DOJ’s motives were apolitical.
According to a poll conducted by The Trafalgar Group, 47.9 percent of likely voters believe “Trump’s political enemies” were behind the FBI raid, while just 39.7 percent believed “the impartial justice system” was the driving force.
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