Republican legislators had voiced outrage previously, alleging Wall’s letter demonstrated the White House’s deception in claiming Biden was uninformed of the raid. Now, memos have been leaked which point towards Biden’s White House office being heavily involved in the Trump raid.
A recently released letter discloses that the Biden administration sicced the FBI to look into 15 boxes of classified material that the National Archives had earlier this year taken from Mar-a-Lago. This action accelerated the investigation into former President Donald Trump for supposedly handling secret government information improperly.
The May 10 letter from Acting Archivist Debra Steidel Wall to Trump lawyer Evan Corcoran, published late Monday by JustTheNews, verifies that the White House counsel’s office, “affirming a request from the Department of Justice supported by an FBI letterhead memorandum,” requested the National Archives on April 11 to “provide the FBI access to the 15 boxes for its review within seven days.”
According to Wall, Trump’s legal team attempted to postpone the publication until April 29.
According to JustTheNews, Corcoran requested in a letter to Gary Stern, general counsel for the National Archives, that the transfer be delayed “until we have had the opportunity to review the documents and to consult with President Donald J. Trump so that he may personally make any decision to assert a claim of constitutionally based privilege” on that date.
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That assertion was refuted by Wall in the letter dated May 10; she stated that Supreme Court precedent “strongly suggests that a former President may not successfully assert executive privilege ‘against the very Executive Branch in whose name the privilege is invoked.'”
Wall added that the Justice Department “has advised me that there is no precedent for an assertion of executive privilege by a former President against an incumbent President to prevent the latter from obtaining … Presidential records belonging to the Federal Government where ‘such records contain information that is needed for the conduct of current business of the incumbent President’s office and that is not otherwise available.’”
“I have therefore decided not to honor the former President’s ‘protective’ claim of privilege,” Wall wrote, after making clear that her letter bore Biden’s imprimatur: “The Counsel to the President has informed me that, in light of the particular circumstances presented here, President Biden defers to my determination, in consultation with the Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel, regarding whether or not I should uphold the former President’s purported ‘protective assertion of executive privilege.’”
The in question assistant attorney general, Christopher Schroeder, also served for the DOJ under the Clinton and Obama administrations before being confirmed to the position in October of last year.
“For the same reasons, I have concluded that there is no reason to grant your request for a further delay before the FBI and others in the Intelligence Community begin their reviews,” Wall told Corcoran. “Accordingly, [the Archives] will provide the FBI access to the records in question, as requested by the incumbent President, beginning as early as Thursday, May 12, 2022.”
The volume of classified information discovered in the boxes retrieved in January alarmed the Archives and the DOJ, according to Wall’s letter.
Over 700 pages from 100 documents featured “classification markings,” some of which were “up to the level of Top Secret and including Sensitive Compartmented Information and Special Access Program materials,” according to the archivist.
“’Access to the materials is not only necessary for purposes of our ongoing criminal investigation, but the Executive Branch must also conduct an assessment of the potential damage resulting from the apparent manner in which these materials were stored and transported and take any necessary remedial steps,’” Wall quoted the DOJ’s National Security Division as saying. “’Accordingly, we are seeking immediate access to these materials so as to facilitate the necessary assessments that need to be conducted within the Executive Branch.’”
A grand jury issued a subpoena for papers with classified markings that were still in Trump’s possession on May 11, the day following Wall’s letter. On June 3, DOJ and FBI representatives traveled to Mar-a-Lago to collect relevant papers from Trump’s lawyers.
The US Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart, however, issued a search warrant for Trump’s properties on August 5 after authorities were persuaded into thinking the former president was hoarding additional confidential documents.
Three days later, Mar-a-Lago was raided by FBI investigators, who seized 27 boxes of materials, comprising 11 sets of top secret, secret, or confidential documents, according to an inventory list subsequently revealed to the public by Reinhart.
Biden, according to the White House, was not aware of the Mar-a-Lago raid before it took place.
“He learned about it, really, like all of us did. I’m sure maybe someone on his team flagged it for him, but he was not aware,” press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Aug. 9.
“What I can tell you definitively and for sure: He was not aware of this. He was — we were — nobody in the White House was. We were not given a heads-up, and we did not know about — about what happened yesterday,” she added.
Later, Attorney General Merrick Garland disclosed that he had personally authorized the search warrant application.
Trump has constantly criticized the FBI’s probe, and on Monday he filed a motion to halt their assessment of the confiscated materials.
“We are now demanding that the Department of ‘Justice’ be instructed to immediately STOP the review of documents illegally seized from my home. ALL documents have been previously declassified,” the former president said soon after the motion was filed.
“The White House stated strongly that they were NOT INVOLVED, and knew absolutely nothing about, the political Witch Hunt going on with me, & that they didn’t know anything at all about the Break-In of Mar-a-Lago,” Trump said in a Truth Social post following the publication of Wall’s letter.
“This was strongly reiterated again & again. WRONG! Remember, these are the people who spied on my campaign, denied it, & got caught. Through the great reporting of John Solomon (Fake Pulitzer Prize?), documents reveal they knew everything, in fact led the charge – a political NO, NO!”
Wednesday, Republican legislators voiced outrage, alleging Wall’s letter demonstrated the White House’s deception in claiming Biden was uninformed of the raid.
” 1. White House staff has repeatedly claimed there was “no prior knowledge” of the raid. Clearly, that was a lie,” Rep. Brian Mast (R-Fla.) tweeted . “2. Joe Biden has not said a word about it in two weeks. What else is he trying to hide from the American people?”
” We KNEW Biden had to be lying when he said he didn’t know about the Trump raid,” Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) posted. “Now the truth is coming out.”