This would be tantamount to influencing the elections, legal experts said. So, the DoJ may not be able to do this overtly but nothing prevented them from continuing an ongoing investigation internally like speaking to people around Trump to get at corroborating evidence on the FBI raid, media reports said.
“The FBI and the Justice Department have become vicious monsters, controlled by radical left scoundrels, lawyers and the media, who tell them what to do,” said Trump in reference to the search that took place last month.
He was speaking at a huge election rally in Wilkes-Barre, Penn, in support of Republican Senate candidate Mehmet Oz and gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano.
Trump slamming the FBI in his first public speech after the agency’s search of his Mar-a-Lago home was in stark contrast to Biden’s speech earlier on in Philadelphia, also in Pennsylvania, where he accused the former President and his supporting republican allies of presenting a “clear and present danger” to the foundations of democracy and the republic.
But Biden chewed on his words later saying he didn’t say the entire MAGA was a threat but those supporting the capitol hill insurrection, apparently not to disengage a section of the republicans distancing themselves from Trump.
The FBI warrant issued by Judge Bruce Reinhart justified the FBI’s search of the former presidents Florida residence and on his order subsequently released some documents with heavy redactions last week, following a court battle, found evidence that classified documents might have been illegally stored at Trump’s home despite an order for him to return them after he left office.
Later a former Trump lawyer claimed that Trump could have stashed copies of classified documents in his office in Manhattan Trump Towers and his children’s home in New York to be used as a bargaining chip for escape from prosecution and his eventual freedom.
“The shameful raid and break-in of my home in Mar-a-Lago was a travesty of justice that made a mockery of America’s laws, traditions and principles,” Trump said at the rally, calling it “one of the most shocking abuses of power by any administration in American history.”
Trump also criticised President Joe Biden’s speech on Thursday in Philadelphia, Penn., rejecting the incumbent President’s claim that Trump is “a clear and present danger” to the country and calling Biden “the enemy of the state.”
“As you know, this week Joe Biden came to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to give the most vicious, hateful and divisive speech ever delivered by an American president, vilifying 75 million citizens plus another probably 75-150 if we want to be accurate about it, as threats to democracy and as enemies of the state,” he said.
The rally, with attendees including Republican figures Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Maryland gubernatorial candidate Dan Cox, featured comments by Oz and Mastriano. Oz criticized the Biden administration’s response to COVID-19, saying that “we saw ideas crushed” during the pandemic.
“We saw science weaponized,” he continued. Mastriano expressed similar discontentment with Biden and his allies. “The Democrats are trying to distract us with their dirty stinking laundry list of bad ideas,” he claimed. “We the people are pissed, I know I am,” Trump said.
Meanwhile, the Department of Justice was sitting on the horns of a dilemma whether to launch criminal proceedings against the former president following the classified documents seizure at his Florida residence as the 60-day rule could come into effect that blocks prosecutors from moving forward with criminal investigations of political figures just before an election in the case of Donald Trump.
Former US Attorney Joyce Vance referred to this situation on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Labour Day morning program and felt the DOJ probably would not continue the investigations but not overtly.
“It may not apply to Trump as he is not on the ballot but he is all over the ballot,” said the programme host on MSNBC.
Citing a report from the New York Times that DOJ officials are mulling their next move against Trump following the Mar-a-Lago search that turned up stolen top secret documents, Vance suggested investigators may keep moving forward — just not overtly.
“Former President Trump is not on the ballot but, in many ways, is all over the ballot,” host Jonathan Lemire prompted. “He shadows this entire race. What’s your assessment? What would be the appropriate course of action from the DOJ?”
Vance in his reply said: “This is an unwritten rule that the 60-day rule is something every prosecutor is aware of.”
“I spent 25 years at DOJ and, during many election years, not a surprise, we had open investigations on people who were going to be on the ballot, either in the primary or the general,” Vance said.
And the way the rule was typically understood in U.S. attorney’s offices across the country, as well as at main Justice in Washington, was that it meant you didn’t take any overt steps, steps in an investigation that would become public, during that 60-day grace period for a candidate on the ballot, Vance added.
Admitting, “It is, of course, an unwritten rule,” Vance said, “In thinking how to apply it here, rather than adhering to the strict contours of what was always understood about candidates on the ballot, DOJ will have to consider the purpose of the rule, which is to avoid interfering in influencing elections in any way.”
“I think there is an awfully good argument to say Trump doesn’t fall within this rule because he is not on the ballot in this campaign,” she elaborated.
“But folks at DoJ appreciate that the country, in many ways, is a powder keg; they’ll want to think through this carefully,” she said.
“At the same time, that doesn’t keep them from beginning or continuing to work internally,” Vance said.
“That might even include — we don’t know yet whether they’ll get here — but it could include beginning the process of drafting indictments or working with witnesses who might provide helpful information, even including speaking with some of the folks around Trump who could possibly have liability for what went on at Mar-a-Lago and finding ways to move the case forward without doing it in a public fashion.”