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Trump supporters overlook a key fact about the FBI's Mar-a-Lago search
The guy who oversaw it isn't some sort of left-wing ideologue. On the contrary.
News about the FBI searching Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort prompted much wailing and gnashing of teeth in the MAGA-verse on Monday, including an unprecedented amount of Hillary Clinton and Hunter Biden whataboutism across Fox News and Newsmax’s primetime lineups. Hunter was actually mentioned an average of more than 10 times an hour on Fox in the hours after news of the search broke.
This Jesse Watters rant gives you an idea of what much of the overheated right-wing commentary was like.
Both networks pretty much ran with the framing Trump offered in his statement about the search — that it was the work of a politicized FBI and DOJ trying to take him down ahead of his 2024 presidential run. One Fox guest went as far as to describe it as a “preemptive coup.”
But there’s one very big problem, namely:
The current FBI director is Trump’s hand-picked guy!
It’d be one thing if FBI Director Christopher Wray was some sort of antifa sympathizer nominated by President Biden as a concession to the squad. But in reality, he’s a former George W. Bush administration official who in June 2017 was personally selected by Trump to replace James Comey, who as you might remember Trump fired months earlier amid an active FBI investigation of his campaign.
Trump even posted a tweet at the time lauding Wray’s “impeccable credentials.”
It’s also not like Wray and Attorney General Merrick Garland just decided to search the former president’s resort on a whim. As former US attorney Joyce Alene explained, to get a warrant the FBI had to convince a federal judge that a crime was committed and that evidence of said crime would be found at Mar-a-Lago.
But as far as I could tell, the fact Trump nominated Wray and that every single Senate Republican voted for his confirmation (with the exception of two who didn’t vote) wasn’t mentioned a single time Monday evening on Fox or Newsmax.
They weren’t about to let facts get in the way of their narrative. And what a bonkers narrative it is.
MAGAs want you to believe the Mar-a-Lago search is Pearl Harbor and 9/11 combined
Notable responses to the search included Mark Levin hyperbolically describing it as “the worst attack on this republic in modern history” and Eric Trump lamenting to Sean Hannity that the FBI isn’t spending its time instead investigating Hillary Clinton and Benghazi. (Who wants to tell him?)
Kevin McCarthy released a statement threatening Merrick Garland (“preserve your documents and clear your calendar”) and Don Jr. momentarily forgot that “lock her up!” is one of his father’s signature catchphrases.
Perhaps most ironically, Marjorie Taylor Greene called for defunding the police.
While there’s still a lot we don’t know about the search, major outlets all reported it’s “part of an investigation into the handling of presidential documents, including classified documents, that may have been brought there,” as CNN put it. And it’s worth remembering that despite what Lara Trump would have you believe, the documents in question weren’t personal notebooks and sentimental photographs — they were records “so sensitive they may not be able to be described in forthcoming inventory reports in an unclassified way,” the Washington Post reported in February.
So while we’ll have to wait for more facts to come out, it’s hard not to think about how mishandling classified documents is pretty much the worst thing a public official can do. Or at least that’s what a certain former president told us.
That’s it for now
I wasn’t planning to publish a newsletter today but the Mar-a-Lago search obviously called for a special edition. I’ll be back with more tomorrow.