Latest News 23-05-2024 21:04 10 Views

Revelation of secret Obama-era program casts doubt on stated reason for Trump Mar-a-Lago raid

A purportedly never-before-seen Department of Defense memo from the Obama era appears to indicate the federal government already may have had original copies of the documents seized at former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home in 2022, raising serious questions about the pretext for the raid, Fox News Digital has exclusively learned.

America First Legal, a conservative legal group, released Thursday what it says is a newly unearthed memo from the Obama administration Department of Defense 'confirming the government may have already had originals of the alleged classified documents involved in Special Counsel Jack Smith’s sham prosecution against President Trump.'

The document, titled Memorandum of Understanding Entered into by Presidential Information Technology Community Entities, is from 2015, and followed an October 2014 Russian breach of the Executive Office of the President’s network. Then-President Barack Obama took executive action to create the Presidential Information Technology Community (PITC) to better protect the executive branch from such attacks, according to AFL.

The PITC, which includes representatives from federal agencies such as the Department of Defense and Homeland Security, effectively established that the president controls information he receives through the PITC network.

The executive action was made public at the time. However, America First Legal said it obtained a never-before-seen memo confirming the Department of Defense has been 'operating and maintaining the information resources and information systems provided to the President, Vice President, and Executive Office of the President.' 

The memo could mean that the federal government has stored and retained Executive Office of the President documents, including 'a substantial amount, if not all, of President Trump’s classified documents,' AFL said in its press release. 

'What America First Legal has uncovered after months of investigative work paints an unfortunate picture of the rule of law in Washington. A former President of the United States – the most democratically accountable officer under our Constitution – was subject to a politicized referral concocted by the Biden White House that led to an armed FBI raid of his home – where his wife and youngest child live – and is now subject to prosecution,' America First Legal Vice President Dan Epstein said. 

'And to now realize that the Biden Administration could have avoided an illegal referral process to recover records the government already possessed, that it could have used normal means to ensure that records the former president believed should be housed in his presidential library (not yet built because of the hordes of investigations aimed at silencing him) were subject to a temporary hold for purposes of Archives’ review – yet didn’t – speaks loudly to America: the law protects only those who follow the norms of one party,'Epstein added. 

America First Legal obtained the documents through litigation against the Department of Defense, the press release said. 

The DOD told Fox News Digital on Thursday that the department has 'nothing to offer' when asked about the memo. The White House and DOJ did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital's requests for comment. 

The FBI agents seized 33 boxes of documents in August 2022 from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, spurring another legal battle that Trump has called a 'scam.' The investigation is overseen by special prosecutor Jack Smith, whom Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed to the job, and has charged Trump with 40 felony counts, including allegedly violating the Espionage Act, making false statements to investigators and conspiracy to obstruct justice. 

The FBI at the time told a judge there was 'probable cause to believe' that classified documents at Mar-a-Lago were being improperly stored and that investigators would find 'evidence of obstruction.' 

Trump has pleaded not guilty to the charges, and slammed the case as an 'Election Inference Scam' promoted by the Biden administration and 'Deranged Jack Smith.'

The case was slated to head to trial on May 20, but has since been put on ice until presiding Judge Aileen Cannon sets a new date. Cannon did hold hearings this week to address the defense team’s motion for dismissal. 

Trump's classified documents case also opened the doors to investigations regarding classified documents in the possession of President Biden and former Vice President Mike Pence. Special Counsel Robert Hur announced in February that he would not recommend criminal charges against Biden for possessing classified materials after his vice presidency, citing that Biden is 'a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.'

'Based on our direct interactions with and observations of him, he is someone from whom many jurors will want to identify reasonable doubt. It would be difficult to convince a jury that they should convict him – by then a former president well into his eighties – of a serious felony that requires a mental state of willfulness,' Hur wrote in his report. 

The findings sparked widespread outrage that Biden was effectively deemed too cognitively impaired to be charged with a crime but could serve as president. Trump has meanwhile slammed the disparity in charges as a reflection of a 'sick and corrupt, two-tiered system of justice in our country.' 

Earlier this month, the White House asserted executive privilege over audio and video recordings related to Hur's interviews with Biden, sparking condemnation from Republicans. Biden met with Hur for about five hours last year, when he was grilled about his handling of the classified documents. 

Republican House Oversight and Accountability Committee Chair James Comer, R-Ky., responded to the executive privilege by arguing there's 'a five-alarm fire at the White House.' 

'Clearly President Biden and his advisers fear releasing the audio recordings of his interview because it will again reaffirm to the American people that President Biden’s mental state is in decline. The House Oversight Committee requires these recordings as part of our investigation of President Biden’s mishandling of classified documents,' Comer told Fox News Digital last week. 

'The White House is asserting executive privilege over the recordings, but it has already waived privilege by releasing the transcript of the interview. Today’s Hail Mary from the White House changes nothing for our committee. The House Oversight Committee will move forward with its markup of a resolution and report recommending to the House of Representatives that Attorney General Garland be held in contempt of Congress for defying a lawful subpoena.'


This post appeared first on FOX NEWS
Other news