Using his familiar style of simple questioning to promote conspiracy theories, Trump posted on his social media platform on Wednesday a suggestion that the FBI may have planted evidence. His legal team had previously suggested the same. A Trump lawyer, Alina Habba, said
on Fox Tuesday: “I’m afraid they’ve planted something; you know, at this point, who knows?”
Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky echoed that question on Wednesday, wondering on Fox how we know “they won’t put things in those boxes to trap him.” Fox host Jesse Watters went further on Tuesday, saying
the FBI was “probably” planting evidence, and Paul’s campaign had adopted
the “probably” by Friday.
There’s just no basis for any of this.
Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida offered another baseless conspiracy theory about federal malfeasance, saying
on Fox Tuesday that he didn’t think they were looking for documents at all, but were probably using that as an “excuse” to root at Trump’s residence at Mar-a-Lago for “everything that ‘they could find’. Rubio’s comments were at least more plausible than the hogwash offered Tuesday by Anna Perez, host of the right-wing outlet Real America’s Voice, who delivered a QAnon-style monologue, falsely claiming the search was a plot to keep Trump out of trouble. carry out a (nonexistent) plan to expose criminals serving the government.
No more deception
Another Real America’s Voice host, right-wing activist Charlie Kirk, claims
Thursday that the FBI “occupied Trump’s house – a military occupation.” While it is strange to describe the execution of a search warrant as an “occupation” of any kind, it is totally false to claim that the military was involved in this search.
The former president’s daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, delivered an impressive variety of one-sentence pitches, saying
on Fox Tuesday that the researchers were “a bunch of people who broke into your house like this and took whatever they wanted for themselves.” A source told CNN that the FBI gave the Secret Service about an hour’s notice before the search and that the Secret Service met with the FBI agents when they arrived and made sure they had unobstructed access. hindrance. And a search warrant does not allow searchers to take “anything they want”, certainly not “for themselves”; the Justice Department asked a court to unseal a document listing what was taken, and Trump consented.
Republican Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the House Minority Whip, went on Fox Thursday and said “it’s about everybody if you see agents going rogue.” There’s no sign of an agent going rogue. Even Trump-friendly Fox host Steve Doocy challenged Scalise, noting that the officers were simply executing a search warrant. Scalise then cited an inaccurate report that Attorney General Merrick Garland was unaware of the search, falsely claiming that Garland himself said he was unaware. (Later Thursday, Garland said he personally approved of the decision to seek the search warrant.)
Whataboutism about Democrats
As usual, Trump and his defenders tried to do whataboutism — pointing fingers, dishonestly, at leading Democrats.
Trump baselessly suggested that former President Barack Obama mishandled presidential records after leaving office by, Trump claims
retaining more than 30 million documents, many of which are classified, and take them to chicago
. The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) released a Friday statement
explaining that it has “sole legal and physical custody” of the Obama-era archives, that NARA itself moved approximately 30 million pages of unclassified archives to one of its own facilities in the region of Chicago, that the classified Obama-era archives are kept at a separate NARA facility near Washington, and that “former President Obama has no control over where and how NARA stores the presidential archives of his administration”.
Trump and some of his media advocates have returned to his old chestnut about how former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was allowed to “acid wash” emails, a fabrication loosely based on the fact that an email deletion software is called BleachBit; Fox’s Watters was particularly literal, deceptively affirming
Tuesday that Clinton had “poured acid” on the emails.
Trump also suggested there was something suspicious about the fact that, he said, his attorneys were not allowed to attend the search, assignment
on his social media platform on Wednesday: “Why did they STRONGLY insist that no one was watching them, everyone out?” But there’s nothing unusual about that; lawyers are not allowed to be in the room to supervise a search.
For good measure, Trump’s attorney, Christina Bobb, released a transparent misrepresentation about Trump’s popularity. She said
on Right Side Broadcasting Network on Tuesday that the Justice Department was trying to find a simple way to prosecute “the most popular, and probably the most famous, president in American history.”
Trump’s average Gallup approval rating during his tenure, 41%, was by far the lowest of any president since Gallup began measuring presidential approval in 1938.
CNN’s Whitney Wild contributed to this article.