Remember how insistent White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was that President Biden and the White House had no knowledge of or involvement with the FBI’s August 2022 raid of former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate? Or how many times Jean-Pierre emphasized that the Department of Justice was a totally independent entity operating without partisan political steering from the Oval Office?
Well, America First Legal now says an investigation they conducted has turned up documents showing that the Biden White House was, in fact, involved in the unprecedented raid on a former president. What’s more, AFL’s investigation also found reason to believe the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) misled Congress about its knowledge of how the raid was approved. Through its investigation, America First Legal obtained internal NARA emails showing discussions of the DOJ’s “special access request” related to the documents that Trump is alleged to have kept improperly after leaving office in 2021:
One email from NARA’s General Counsel that was obtained states that Archives officials emailed former Trump administration lawyers “to tell them the Justice Department, via the Biden White House, had made the request.”
Via the Biden White House, eh? Would that be the Biden White House that said it was shocked to learn of the raid? In a Twitter thread, America First Legal brought the receipts:
According to AFL it “appears that the Biden White House and DOJ coordinated to obtain the Trump records and perhaps create a pretext for the law enforcement raid by way of a ‘special access request.'”
Their notes on their investigation continue:
What this effectively means is that there are substantial discrepancies between what the Archives has told Congress and what appears in its internal communications. For example, Acting Archivist Debra Wall told Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH) on August 16, 2022, that NARA “had not been involved in the DOJ investigation or any searches that it has conducted.”
This stunning revelation suggests that NARA was misleading Congress about the White House’s role in the shocking raid of President Trump’s home, and the fact that the Biden White House was acting “on behalf of” the DOJ raises significant legal concerns.
The special access statute authorizes special access requests to an incumbent president only when the records in question are needed for “the conduct of current business” of the White House. Providing documents to the DOJ for purposes of a criminal investigation is not the “current business” of the White House.
Accordingly, America First Legal is demanding NARA turn over records related to the Biden White House’s involvement in the politically motivated raid of President Trump’s home.
So, did the Biden White House coordinate with the DOJ to create a “pretext,” as AFL called it, for the FBI’s raid on Mar-a-Lago? If, as the NARA emails obtained suggest, a “special access request” made “via the Biden White House” was part of the process leading up to the raid, then how could the White House be surprised when the raid happened after they were aware of the documents subject to the request and had helped the DOJ in its search for documents in Trump’s possession? Hopefully, with more oversight from House Republicans and documents obtained via FOIA by groups such as America First Legal, Americans will eventually get the full story. They definitely won’t get it from the White House podium.