Additionally, we saw Attorney General Merrick Garland behave as if the FBI had committed an unprecedented act that reeked of politics. Garland then made an attempt to prevent the affidavit for the search warrant from being unsealed. He still won’t say why they carried out their raid at that particular time.
We have said that there is a significant contrast between how they are handling Trump and how they handled Hillary Clinton, who used a full private server to evade examination, whose staff deleted emails, and whose staff destroyed Blackberries. She never had a raid. Despite possessing secret papers on her server, she was not charged.
However, it seems that there is still another crucial parallel to highlight the disparity in treatment that exists in this instance—a comparison to Bill Clinton.
During his term as president, Clinton recorded conversations with historian Taylor Branch, and they were even stored in his sock drawer.
“Branch made 79 audiotapes that saved not just President Clinton’s views and opinions on current affairs and difficulties he was confronting in office, but, in some cases, captured actual occurrences such as presidential telephone calls.”
To get the recordings added to the National Archives, Judicial Watch filed a lawsuit.
However, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson determined that the Presidential Materials Act did not include any clause requiring the National Archives to take records belonging to a former president. The case is intriguing because of what it has to say about a president’s extensive control over records.
“However, other broad assertions made in Jackson’s judgment and the Justice Department’s arguments that came before it are more directly related to the FBI’s choice to confiscate the documents and handwritten notes Trump brought to Mar-a-Lago. The most important is that a president has complete discretion over whose documents are personal vs. official and over whether or not to declassify or delete data.”
Jackson said in her March 2012 judgment, which was never challenged, “Under the legislative framework created by the PRA, the decision to separate personal materials from Presidential records is taken by the President, during the President’s term, and in his exclusive discretion.”
“Since the President is fully empowered to manage and even dispose of Presidential documents throughout his term in office, it would be difficult for this Court to draw the conclusion that Congress intended for him to have less discretion over what he sees as his personal records, the judge noted.”
The court also said that it would be improper to take Clinton’s recordings because doing so would be “exceptional,” “contrary to the PRA’s explicit wording,” and “contrary to accepted norms of administrative law.” The Court concurs.