Friday, August 26, 2022
Obstruction of Justice - A Topic in the Release of the Search Warrant Affidavit
Not surprising, the release of the Affidavit in Support of an Application Under Rule 41 for a Warrant to Search and Seize items from Mar-a-Lago is heavily redacted. This is necessary, as it is clear that individuals and information need protection. Equally important is that we are dealing with classified material and whatever that information may be, it needs protection. It is frightening to think that some of this nation's security secrets may have been compromised.
But what is also noteworthy here, is that there is concern about a possible obstruction of justice.
- We asked you for it. It looks like the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has been trying to get this material for some time - " NARA had ongoing communications with the representatives of former President Trump throughout 2021." (p. 8)
- You gave us some of it. It looks like the Former President gave up some information. (15 boxes were received on Jan. 18, 2022) (p. 1)
- You didn't give us all of it. It looks like the Former President failed to provide all the information. And here we are 6 months later and the rest of the materials have not been provided.
And so the question is whether there has been an obstruction of justice. As stated in the Affidavit - "Further, there is probable cause to believe that additional documents that contain classified NDI or that are Presidential records subject to record retention requirements currently remain at the PREMISES. There is also probable cause to believe that evidence of obstruction will be found at the PREMISES." (p. 2)
Former President Trump is in a catch-22 position. He is saying he declassified the info, mind boggling as that admission may be, and thus admitting that information was still there. But if there are documents still there than you have a violation of the Presidential Records Act. And on the other hand, if there is information there and the government was not given that information under a lawful request, you have a possible obstruction of justice. (18 U.S.C. 1519).
This is not a case of fish being thrown overboard when a fisherman was instructed to bring it back to shore (Reversed in Yates v. United States). This is a case of sensitive government documents.
This is also not a case of dealing with a politician who did not want to disclose personal tax returns. This is a case of determining whether presidential documents that require preservation under law were not properly preserved and whether there was an obstruction in failing to give these documents when requested by the government. What remains unanswered is what Attorney General Merrick Garland does with all of this.