Monday, April 9, 2018

What did Donald Trump do today?

He compared the criminal investigation into him with a criminal act.

Trump's longtime fixer Michael Cohen, who facilitated the mysterious pre-Election Day hush money payment to porn actress Stormy Daniels, had his hotel room and office searched by the FBI today. The raid was carried out under the auspices of the US Attorney for Southern New York, who is a Trump appointee

Cohen is thought to be under investigation for wire and bank fraud, and for campaign finance law violations, in conjunction with his actions in paying off Daniels. Although he is nominally Trump's attorney, nothing Cohen did in furtherance of a crime or conspiracy to commit crimes with Trump would be protected by attorney-client privilege, which may explain what happened next.

In a rambling and angry comment about it to reporters at the White House today, Trump said--among many other things--this: "So I just heard that they broke into the office of one of my personal attorneys." He also called attention to the fact that it happened "early in the morning," which he said was "a disgrace."

It did happen in the morning--but as for "breaking in," the FBI did no such thing

DOJ rules require extraordinary precautions when an attorney's office is searched, in order to avoid obtaining material that would violate attorney-client privilege for unrelated parties. But nothing requires the FBI to execute warrants only when it's convenient for the subjects of their criminal investigations, or politically beneficial for their clients or co-conspirators.

Why should I care about this?
  • The lawful execution of a warrant issued by the DOJ and approved by a federal judge is part of the rule of law, not a "witch hunt."
  • It's not a good sign that this seven minute-long rant came when Trump had summoned the press to talk about Syria.
  • Just because something that happens is bad for Trump doesn't make it illegal or "a disgrace."