The Justice Department official who oversaw the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s handling of classified records says there’s simply no comparing the search of Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence to the case against the former secretary of State.
“People sling these cases around to suit their political agenda but every case has to stand on its own circumstances,” said David Laufman, who led the Justice Department’s counterintelligence section until 2018 and is now a partner at the firm Wiggin and Dana.
Laufman has the credentials to judge the severity of these matters. In addition to the Clinton case, he managed the investigation of David Petraeus, the former general and CIA director who pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor for mishandling classified material. CNN reported that one of the DOJ officials involved in the Trump investigation is his immediate successor.
“For the department to pursue a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago tells me that the quantum and quality of the evidence they were reciting — in a search warrant and affidavit that an FBI agent swore to — was likely so pulverizing in its force as to eviscerate any notion that the search warrant and this investigation is politically motivated,” he said.
Twenty-four hours after it transpired, there remain few details about why the FBI raided Trump’s private estate beyond months-old questions about the former president’s handling of records that appear to have been relocated to Mar-a-Lago as he departed the Oval Office.
In the absence of more concrete details, Trump’s defenders have clamored to bear hug the former president more fiercely than ever, deriding the FBI and Justice Department as weapons of partisan Democrats. But Laufman’s take echoes the consensus of other experts who operate in the corner of the legal world that deals with the handling of classified material. It’s highly unlikely the DOJ would have pursued — and a judge would have granted — such a politically explosive search warrant without extraordinary evidence. [Continue reading…]