Supreme and lower court rulings show that “crimes” alleged in FBI search warrant cannot apply to a President.
The FBI search warrant against President Trump said it had probable cause against Trump for violations of the Presidential Records Act and the Espionage Act, namely the parts of it that deal with mishandling classified information.
The problem the FBI and the Department of Justice has is that according to established precedent in case law, those statues cannot apply to President Trump.
The Supreme Court on the Espionage Act
In DEPARTMENT OF NAVY v. EGAN (1988) The Supreme Court ruled that a president gets his authority to classify and declassify documents from Article II of the Constitution, not Congress or any bureaucrat. Such laws Congress passes can apply to bureaucrats, but not a president:
“The President, after all, is the ‘Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States.’ U.S. Const., Art. II, 2. His authority to classify and control access to information bearing on national security and to determine whether an individual is sufficiently trustworthy to occupy a position in the Executive Branch that will give that person access to such information flows primarily from this constitutional investment of power in the President and exists quite apart from any explicit congressional grant.”
The Supreme Court is clear on this without ambiguity or exception. It is virtually impossible that any such charge made against President Trump would survive the court appeals process.
The Court on the Presidential Records Act
Judicial Watch sued the National Archives in 2012 when it was discovered that President Clinton kept audio archives in his personal bedroom. The court ruled that the National Archivist has no role in determining what records belong to the government and what a president considers to be personal records.
Judicial Watch v. National Archives and Records Administration (2012) The ruling from Amy Berman Jackson, a famed liberal judge, is clear. Unless the Supreme Court overrules these decisions, the Biden DoJ/FBI accusations against President have no legal leg to stand on.
The Court notes at the outset that there is broad language in Armstrong I stating that the PRA accords the President “virtually complete control” over his records during his time in office. 924 F.2d at 290. In particular, the court stated that the President enjoys unconstrained authority to make decisions regarding the disposal of documents: “although the President must notify the Archivist before disposing of records … neither the Archivist nor Congress has the authority to veto the President’s disposal decision.”
[Editor’s Note: Also see Armstrong v. Bush (1991) “The PRA accords the President virtually complete control over his records…” and there is no criminal or enforcement mechanism in the PRA. Also see U.S. v. Nixon (1974) presidential documents are “presumptively privileged” until proven otherwise.}
Judge Amy Berman Jackson also made it clear that the National Archivist cannot reclassify such documents later:
The case law sheds light on why the Biden Administration picked the most flawed and low ranking judge they could find. A judge that has posted Trump hate on social media, as they obviously hoped that Judge Bruce Reinhart would not do a simple case law check before signing off on the warrant.
Below is Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton explaining his experience with federal records cases as Judicial Watch has more experience litigating these cases than any other legal organization.
Here is the motion President Trump’s legal team filed with the court to challenge the warrant and ask for a “Special Master” to take control of the taken materials. A PDF of the filing can be found:
Trump court filing challenging warrant FILE_2481
UPDATE – Like We Said….
UPDATE II – History Repeats Itself: