THREAD: “What’s the difference between this and Watergate?” Donald Trump raged in a statement Monday night after FBI agents.— Garrett M. Graff (@vermontgmg) August 8, 2022
Well, as a Watergate and FBI historian, four things stand out to me:
1) The idea the FBI launched a raid on a former president would have been approved and monitored at the highest level of the Justice Department; hard to even imagine how high the bar of probable cause must've been for the Bureau to initiate such a politically sensitive search....— Garrett M. Graff (@vermontgmg) August 8, 2022
2) A search warrant means an independent federal judge ALSO signed off on the probable cause and, independently, believes evidence there was likely a crime committed AND that more evidence would be found at Mar-a-Lago. That's huge too.— Garrett M. Graff (@vermontgmg) August 8, 2022
3) The fact the search apparently didn't leak until basically when word came from Donald Trump himself shows the FBI and the Justice Department conducted this search by the book and a high degree of integrity. No leaks? Impressive. Surely only a small team knew inside DOJ....— Garrett M. Graff (@vermontgmg) August 8, 2022
4) Taken together, this is one of the most significant, sensitive, and politically explosive actions the US Justice Department and FBI has ever taken—one of a tiny handful of times it's ever investigated a president.— Garrett M. Graff (@vermontgmg) August 8, 2022
Bottom line: The FBI & DOJ must've known they had the goods.
Also, a retrospective on Washington Post articles on the background of this topic.
A 🧵 on the @washingtonpost's groundbreaking coverage of Trump's mishandling of documents by @JaxAlemany @jdawsey1 @thamburger @AshleyRParker @DevlinBarrett @mattzap that helped lead us to where we are today:— Dan Eggen (@DanEggenWPost) August 9, 2022
"‘He never stopped ripping things up’: Inside Trump’s relentless document destruction habits" (Feb 5, 2022)
"National Archives had to retrieve Trump White House records from Mar-a-Lago" (Feb 7, 2022)
"Some Trump records taken to Mar-a-Lago clearly marked as classified, including documents at ‘top secret’ level" (Feb 10, 2022)
"15 boxes: Inside the long, strange trip of Trump’s classified records" (Feb 12, 2022)
"Some records taken by Trump are so sensitive they may not be described in public" (Feb 25, 2022)
"Grand jury used in probe of classified documents taken to Mar-a-Lago" (May 12, 2022)