I have a very firm stance on the propriety of the raid on the office, home, and hotel room of Donald Trump’s lawyer.
You ready? Here it is: I have no idea whether it was a proper action. But you’ll have to take it on faith that I didn’t consult the Magic 8 Ball before I concluded: all signs point to yes.
Commenters at my personal blog are no doubt representative of a large group of grassroots Republicans. They’re hopping mad. They’re calling this a fascist move.
Let’s take the dumbest possible Trumpist argument as a foil with which to clear away some of the underbrush. This may come across like a constructed strawman, but I’m seeing this point of view in my comments, so let me dismantle it before I take speak in a more measured fashion to the people who have not yet lost their minds.
The dumbest possible Trumpist argument is: This is Robert Mueller acting like a fascist. We are in Nazi America and the Gestapo has been released. Any prosecutor who thinks there is the slightest chance that this is on the level is necessarily corrupt. Seizing attorney-client communications shreds several amendments to the Constitution. Surely there is something wrong when Robert Mueller takes the word of a porn star and nothing else to raid the office of the President’s lawyer. This goes beyond TDS. It’s treason. Why, it’s no different from a SWATting!!!!1!
This is a pretty fair paraphrase of some comments I have seen on my blog. The crazy stuff — the stuff that sensible people would assume I am making up, because rational people don’t talk like this — it’s all there in my comments.
More and more, I feel that I have nothing in common with these people. I realize I’m telling off a lot of people who read what I write. I say this with the highest possible respect: you people have lost your freaking minds.
Let’s tick off some of the facts we know:
- These warrants weren’t executed under the direction of Robert Mueller. They were executed under the direction of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, a Trump appointee. Remember what I said here on March 29:
There’s really no scenario in which this plays out well for Cohen. We know that Robert Mueller is looking at some of Cohen’s involvement in Russia-related activities like Trump Tower Moscow. Mueller seems like a thorough guy, and if he runs across illegal activity by Cohen of any kind in the course of his investigation, he can at a minimum refer those matters to the Justice Department, and conceivably take them on himself.
Disbarment might be the least of Cohen’s worries at this point.
Federal prosecutors in Manhattan obtained the search warrant after receiving a referral from the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, according to Mr. Cohen’s lawyer
It didn’t take a genius to see this coming, but let’s not pretend Robert Mueller was behind this raid. Even Cohen’s lawyer admits this was based on a referral.
- It is not unprecedented, at all, to serve a warrant on a lawyer’s office. It usually requires higher levels of scrutiny, to be sure — and like many prosecutorial agencies, DoJ requires several levels of approval for such a warrant. They got it here.
- It is not unprecedented, at all, to seize attorney-client privileged materials. In no way does that constitute a shredding off the right to counsel or any other constitutional provision. Such materials require strict procedures — a “dirty” team or a special master, with rigid separation from the “clean” team — to ensure that the prosecution team does not get their hands on privileged material. But again: this sort of thing happens all the time. If you were unaware of that fact, it’s time you learned it.
- A federal magistrate approved this. Yes, magistrates sometimes approve bad warrants. But this was a very high-profile warrant, and a magistrate would have a high incentive to look at it verrrry carefully, so as to avoid looking like a fool later.
- This warrant is almost certainly not based exclusively, or even in any significant part, on the word of Stormy Daniels. Stormy Daniels is, to put it mildly, not a credible person. She has admitted telling lies about this episode in the past. But you know who else has been flapping their gums about this? Michael Cohen and Donald Trump. Between the two of them, they’ve put enough material in the public record out of their own lie-holes for us to know that Cohen put up the hush money for Daniels, days before a presidential election, and went to tremendous and almost certainly unethical (if not illegal) lengths to distance Trump from that payment.
- Nazis killed millions of Jews. These people were executing a search warrant. Calm the [expletive deleted] down, people!
Do we know that there is a solid foundation of probable cause for this warrant? No. We haven’t read it. Without reading it, we can’t know.
But, taking the above bullet points into account, all signs point to yes.
And if you’re hellbent on assuming, without knowing any facts, that this is a Nazi move — the Gestapo in action; treason before our very eyes — then you’ve gone waaaaay off the rails. You’ve fallen for the propaganda. You’re willing to tar dozens of professionals as Deep State “traitors” based on the propaganda offered by an orange-haired clown and his soulless dunce confederates.
Now: let’s take a giant step backwards and raise a leg to pee on the left for a second.
Nothing here means Donald Trump necessarily committed a crime. It’s far likelier to conclude that a provable crime might be proved against Michael Cohen than Donald Trump.
None of this means there is evidence of collusion between Trump and the Russian government.
What is means is that numerous people in the executive and judicial branches of government thought there was probable cause to believe that evidence of a crime would be found in the office or residence of the President’s lawyer. And that they followed the path laid out in the United States Constitution to learn whether they were right.
Period. End of discussion.
Now calm down, and stop going full retard on the partisanship. Stop, wait, think, listen, and learn. Above all, stop. Stop yammering. Stop screaming that we live in Nazi Germany. You sound like idiots.