Hundreds of federal judges face the same task every day: review an affidavit submitted by federal agents and approve requests for a search warrant. But for U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart, the fallout from his decision to approve a search warrant has been far from routine.
He has faced a storm of death threats since his signature earlier this month cleared the way for the FBI to search former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate as part of a probe into whether he inappropriately removed sensitive materials from the White House. Reinhart’s home address was posted on right-wing sites, along with antisemitic slurs. The South Florida synagogue he attends canceled its Friday night Shabbat services in the wake of the uproar.
Trump has done little to lower the temperature among his supporters, decrying the search as political persecution and calling on Reinhart to recuse himself in the case because he has previously made political donations to Democrats. Reinhart has also, however, contributed to Republicans.
The threats against Reinhart are part of a broader attack on law enforcement, particularly the FBI, by Trump and his allies in the aftermath of the search. But experts warn that the focus on a judge, coming amid an uptick in threats to the judiciary in general, is dangerous for the rule of law in the U.S. and the country’s viability as a democracy.
“Threats against judges fulfilling their constitutional responsibilities strike at the very core of our democracy,” U.S. Second Circuit Judge Richard J. Sullivan, chair of the Judicial Conference Committee on Judicial Security, said in a statement issued recently in the aftermath of the search. “Judges should not have to fear retaliation for doing their jobs.” [Continue reading…]
In the days since the FBI seized classified and top secret documents from Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort, the former President and his allies have claimed that Trump had a “standing order” to declassify documents he took from the Oval Office to the White House residence.
But 18 former top Trump administration officials tell CNN they never heard any such order issued during their time working for Trump, and that they believe the claim to be patently false.
Several officials laughed at the notion. One senior administration official called it “bullsh*t.” Two of Trump’s former chiefs of staff went on the record to knock down the claim.
“Nothing approaching an order that foolish was ever given,” said John Kelly, who served as Trump’s chief of staff for 17 months from 2017 to 2019. “And I can’t imagine anyone that worked at the White House after me that would have simply shrugged their shoulders and allowed that order to go forward without dying in the ditch trying to stop it.”
Mick Mulvaney, who succeeded Kelly as acting White House chief of staff, also dismissed the idea and told CNN he was “not aware of a general standing order” during his tenure. [Continue reading…]
I agree. And I was the CIA Director https://t.co/LRAHDDyy4n
— Gen Michael Hayden (@GenMhayden) August 17, 2022