TIPP Insights: Anonymous leaks, shoddy journalism add smoke to Trump raid

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In his recent presser, Attorney General Merrick Garland assured Americans of professionalism by the DOJ: “…let me address recent unfounded attacks on the professionalism of the FBI and Justice Department agents and prosecutors. I will not stand by silently when their integrity is unfairly attacked. “

However, recent events, and leaks before and after his statement about the FBI raid, don’t increase our confidence in the DOJ. Consider what a Justice Department source told Newsweek: Americans were informed that the Attorney General was unaware of the raid and was not asked to approve it.

Newsweek Retraction

On August 10, two days after the raid, a Newsweek report said that Attorney General Merrick Garland was not the one to approve the raid. Newsweek reported: “The senior Justice Department Source says that Garland was regularly briefed on the Records Act investigation, and that he knew about the grand jury and what material federal prosecutors were seeking. He insists, though, that Garland had no prior knowledge of the date and time of the specific raid, nor was he asked to approve it.

But Garland, in his presser on August 11, contradicted the Newsweek report. He said, “I personally approved the decision to seek a search warrant in this matter.”

Newsweek corrected the quote on August 11 at 6:30 p.m.: A quote that mischaracterized Garland’s role was deleted. Newsweek regrets the error.

Many questions related to this episode linger in our minds. Did Newsweek’s source mislead the reporter? Or did the reporter misunderstand what he was being told? Or did AG Garland buckle under pressure and accept responsibility?

Newsweek lacked candor; its retraction was merely perfunctory. It is not a frivolous matter, and the magazine owes its readers a lengthier retraction that sheds more light on the day’s events.

Washington Post Bombshell

On August 12, the day after the presser, the mother of all leaks or speculation came from the Washington Post.

The story claimed the FBI searched Trump’s Florida residence for classified records related to nuclear weapons: “Classified documents relating to nuclear weapons were among the items FBI agents sought in a search of former president Donald Trump’s Florida residence on Monday, according to people familiar with the investigation.

So, “people familiar with the investigation,” who conclusively knew what the FBI was after, said the agents hunted for classified documents related to nuclear weapons. The FBI warrant released later did not refer to nuclear weapons specifically. The Post story amplified the raid’s purpose not mentioned in the warrant. In reality, the Post story could be true or could be a potential distracter to justify an extensive search. We wonder if someone planted it to add shock value to the raid and benefit the DOJ.

The Post cautioned: “Experts in classified information said the unusual search underscores deep concern among government officials about the types of information they thought could be located at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club and potentially in danger of falling into the wrong hands.

The surmisal, again, does not help and raises many questions. Who is the Post relying on? Are they DOJ experts? Outside experts? The text is so general it could be relying on an expert such as the former CIA Director Michael Hayden, who has publicly endorsed executing leakers of nuclear secrets after the Trump raid.

The word salad continued: “The people who described some of the material that agents were seeking spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation. They did not offer additional details about what type of information the agents were seeking, including whether it involved weapons belonging to the United States or some other nation. Nor did they say if such documents were recovered as part of the search. A Trump spokesman did not respond to a request for comment. The Justice Department and FBI declined to comment.

The above paragraph is a disclaimer and confounder. It is there to spew more smoke to create the fog. The subtext here is that the DOJ, the FBI, and Team Trump are not sources for the story.

What is interesting about this story is its shoddy reporting. Post deliberately confuses the reader about its source yet asserts the raid’s intent. It is not a story to inform the world accurately, and its intent is not in the spirit of good journalism. No wonder only 36% of Americans trust the media.

In addition to dealing with the tremors of an unprecedented action by law enforcement, Americans have to endure a media and deep state up to no good.

May God Save the Fourth Estate!



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