🗞*COVID NEWS AND COMMENTARY* 🗞
🔥 The rhetorical conflagration continued burning out of control yesterday over the FBI raid on President Trump’s residence in Florida, as new details slowly emerged. Dems seemed surprised by the backlash and were in full retreat by the end of the day. Ms. Jean-Pierre told reporters Joe Biden had no idea about any raid, what raid? Pelosi slurred something about not having any information about the warrant.
Meanwhile senior GOP leaders, especially those with more ‘challenging’ relationships with Trump, were slow to address the issue, but by the end of the day yesterday even Mitch McConnell had — maybe not LEAPT into the fray — definitely at least dipped his toes into the fray.
McConnell got the message. To give you an idea how hot everybody is, after McConnell refused to comment about the raid earlier yesterday, a gigantic movement swelled on Twitter calling for him to resign. McConnell, no amateur to politics, got the idea by late afternoon and was back on the bus.
Every politician who wanted media attention got in the game. Although nobody cared what he thinks, even disgraced ex-governor Andrew Cuomo chimed in, worrying that the raid had better be well founded or it would “undermine” the January 6th investigation.
Former Democrat Presidential candidate Andrew Yang tweeted several times, also concerned that the raid would only help Trump’s 2024 prospects.
Politico ran a story about the raid with this one-sided but telling headline: “After the search: GOP Torches FBI, Hugs Trump.” The Politico article helpfully rounded up a bunch of other reports. One source told the Miami Herald that probable cause was established by Trump’s prior VOLUNTARY cooperation with the FBI when he had repeatedly invited them in to review documents at Mar-a-Lago and look at whatever they wanted. It sounds like this whole thing is IN FACT just about documents that some people think should be in the National Archive.
If that’s true, it will just make everyone madder. Even Politico said, “One perplexing aspect of the Mar-a-Lago search, at least to some legal analysts, is that the crime reportedly being investigated does not seem to match the unprecedented tactic of an FBI search of a former president’s residence.”
Some analysts went even further, already suggesting the raid could be a historic disaster for democrats, a political Hindenburg:
“If they raided his home just to find classified documents he took from The White House,” one legal expert noted, “he will be re-elected president in 2024, hands down. It will prove to be the greatest law enforcement mistake in history.”
Rich Lowry, editor of the conservative National Review, examined the other side of the coin, suggesting that the raid was the best thing that could have possibly happened to Trump.
The liberal Washington Post ran a frustrated piece headlined, “The GOP’s Inauspicious Knee-Jerk Reaction To The Trump Raid.” Inauspicious? Id’ say it’s more like the RAID was inauspicious, but whatever. The WaPo thinks Republicans are deliberately over-reacting and theatrically using the raid as a political opportunity to express faux outrage. But there was this one concession that tells the whole story:
The question… is whether this is a matter that merits a search warrant… The [DOJ] knows this decision will be harshly scrutinized; going down this path only for its destination to be a minor finding, ending in a slap on the wrist, isn’t worth the blowback it’ll get from 40 to 45 percent of the country.
Indeed. I’m predicting “blowback” is an understatement.
The most interesting fact in the WaPo “analysis” was a link to a February WaPo article headlined, “National Archives Asks Justice Department To Investigate Trump’s Handling of Government Records.” The plain implication was that the National Archives’ request may have provided the predicate or excuse for the raid.
If so, that’s going to backfire badly.
In the looney leftwing fever swamps on Twitter, there was impassioned excitement yesterday after Marc Elias fingered a statute providing that people who mishandle classified documents become “disqualified from holding any office.” In their excitement to block Trump from running in 2024, they’d all forgotten that only a couple years ago, lefty legal minds already diagnosed the statute as unconstitutional, back when conservatives were equally excited about the prospect of applying it to Hilary Clinton.
The gist of their analysis was that the CONSTITUTION determines eligibility for the Presidency, and a documents-handling statute can’t change that. I think that’s right.
Evidencing that the establishment seemed to realize they’d badly overplayed their hand, somewhere around mid-day yesterday corporate media suddenly pivoted like a flock of mutant crows and dropped the word “raid:”
Not that it matters, and I’m sure you know this already, but — for the record — the definition of “raid” explicitly includes — at least it did up till yesterday — a sudden police action:
So get ready for the inevitable redefining fiesta.
🔥 Does all this amount to a political win for Trump? Here’s a telling anecdote for you.
Yesterday as I was leaving work, the owner of a neighboring business caught me in the parking lot. He’s a very nice, friendly guy and we’ve known each other for several years at the building. I always had the sense he was a moderate conservative, a person like I used to be, who probably pays little attention to local politics and maybe votes in the presidential election if they have time.
Anyway, he asked me about the raid and what I thought of it. He said it worried him. As we finished up, he told me that until yesterday he was dead set against Trump running again; “we’ve had enough of that.” But now, he said anxiously, he REALLY wants Trump to win. “He’s the only one who can fix this,” he explained.
It’s a sample size of one. But I’d bet a small electric car this is how a lot of folks are feeling. Biden bidened it, again.
There is a small class of people that I always advise clients it is not worth litigating against. These are people who pathologically LOVE to fight. The more you fight them, the more they like it, and the litigation always gets bigger, more complicated, and vastly more expensive.
Trump is one of those people. He loves the fight and can’t stand losing.
For evidence, just look at how he always enjoyed sparring with reporters. He loves it. And those fights only helped him, every time. No matter what reporters threw at him, Trump always turned it around and made it a political win. All Trump’s famous (or infamous) conflicts with media personalities worked in his favor.
Biden and the DNC would be certifiably insane to push this any further. But crazy seems to be right where they are living these days.
🔥 We also got some insight into which judge signed the search warrant authorizing the raid, and it’s totally uninteresting, everything looks perfectly normal and above-board. Haha, just kidding. You already guessed the whole thing is pretty sus. The warrant’s signer now appears to have been South District of Florida Magistrate Judge Bruce E. Reinhart.
I know you want to hear about Epstein, but hang on a second. Let’s talk about magistrate judges first, and where they come from. The first three Articles of the Constitution create the three branches of government. Article I creates the Legislative Branch. Article II creates the Executive Branch. Article III of the Constitution creates and empowers the Judicial Branch, including the federal court system.
As you would expect, regular federal judges exist and have power because of language provided by Article III. The Constitution provides that federal judges are appointed for life by the President and confirmed in the Senate.
So far, so good. But since a river of legal detritus constantly flows through federal courts that federal judges don’t want to have to deal with, they HIRE lawyers to be Magistrate Judges. Wielding powers delegated by the federal judges, these deputized magistrates can hold minor hearings, handle legal emergencies, adjudicate procedural disputes like arguments over discovery, sign search warrants, but who ultimately cannot enter significant orders themselves and only RECOMMEND things to the real federal judges.
There are some terrific, smart, long-serving magistrate judges. But they are not appointed by the President. They are not confirmed by the Senate. They do not serve for life. They are more like contract employees, and there is nothing in Article III that provides for them. Sometimes they’re called “Article I judges,” because they are created and authorized by statute (via the Legislative Branch) instead of the Constitution.
Without any criticism of magistrate judges, many of whom are excellent, they are NOT federal judges. They can be hired and fired, but they can’t sign final orders, which they can draft but which must be signed by a “real” federal judge. The magistrate job is viewed in the legal community as a real peach; good pay, great benefits, a great score.
You tell me: does it make sense for a newly-hired MAGISTRATE JUDGE to sign a search warrant authorizing a raid on a former President of the United States who is also a current candidate for the next Presidential election? Or do you think that might be the kind of thing a magistrate would send upstairs to a “real” federal judge, or maybe even a group of such judges?
You might think so, but Magistrat Reinhart evidently disagreed.
In other words, this warrant was NOT the kind of ordinary, run-of-the-mill, high-volume, low-importance kind of thing that magistrate judges are designed for, to help reduce the volume of more important legal matters that real federal judges have to deal with. So that’s weird.
But it gets weirder.
Perhaps anticipating blowback, the Southern District of Florida has disabled the link to Magistrate Judge Reinhart’s official web page. You can’t click on Reinhart’s name. He’s the only one out of SIXTEEN magistrates without a link. That’s not sketchy at all. Of course, he probably just doesn’t want to get a bunch of calls and emails or something. Either way, his page has been completely locked down:
Locking his web page down was useless, of course, because the page — a public record — can be viewed in the Internet Archive: Judge Bruce E. Reinhart | Southern District of Florida | United States District Court.
Reinhart has also set his Twitter profile to “private.” So.
Alright, now let’s talk about the OTHER stuff.
🔥 The NY Post ran a story yesterday headlined, “Judge Who OK’d Mar-a-Lago Raid Obama Donor Once Linked To Jeffrey Epstein.” It includes a good summary of what is now known about the magistrate.
Bruce Reinhart donated to President Obama’s campaign, made a small donation to Trump’s primary opponent Jeb Bush in 2016, and in 2017, posted anti-Trump comments and woke content on his Facebook page. All together, just this much was probably enough that Reinhart should have recused himself from the Trump warrant.
But in fact, just two months ago, Reinhart ALREADY recused himself from Trump’s lawsuit against Hilary Clinton filed earlier this year.
For context, here Reinhart is in a 2007 photo from his Facebook page:
Back in 2007, Reinhart was an assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District U.S. Attorney’s office, which was then prosecuting the Jeffrey Epstein case. According to court documents, Reinhart abruptly and without warning resigned on January 1st, 2008, and the very next day on January 2nd, he switched sides and started representing several of Jeffrey Epstein’s lieutenants and co-conspirators.
In fact, two of Epstein’s victims would later sue Reinhart, accusing him of violating Justice Department policies by switching sides in the middle of the Epstein investigation, suggesting he had spilled inside information about the probe to Epstein, which is why the infamous pedophile hired him to represent his co-defendants.
In a 2013 court filing, Reinhart’s former colleagues at the U.S. Attorney’s office testified that Reinhart had in fact “learned confidential, non-public information about the Epstein matter” while employed by the US Attorney’s Office. Reinhart denied it, of course, and the civil case against him was ultimately dismissed by the Justice Department. And the wheels of government spun on.
In the 2008 Epstein case, Reinhart represented Epstein’s pilots; his scheduler, Sarah Kellen, who arranged “massages” — up to three a day — where Epstein would rape his victims, according to witnesses; and Nadia Marcinkova, who Epstein once reportedly described as his “Yugoslavian sex slave,” but who is described in legal documents as Epstein’s collaborator, co-conspirator, and procurer.
Reinhart helped his clients get complete immunity from the government, in a controversial 2007 deal with federal prosecutors that also allowed Epstein to plead guilty to lesser state charges rather than any of the more serious federal crimes.
Here’s a clip of Reinhart defending Lois Lerner’s weaponization of the IRS to persecute conservatives:
In March 2018, Reinhart was hired as a Magistrate Judge for the Southern District.
It’s a fair question to ask how Reinhart got assigned to the case. According to criminal defense attorneys who practice in the Southern District, magistrate judges are assigned to warrant duty on a weekly rotation and the schedules are published in advance. DOJ prosecutors can time when they file for the search warrant to get whatever judge they want.
Gosh, I’m already late and running long. You’re up to date for your Raid Day Two news. Hopefully we’ll be back to a regular news roundup tomorrow. Stand by!
Have a wonderful, if wacky, Wednesday, and I’ll see you then.
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