Turley says FBI has ‘every right’ to collect ‘classified material,’ but need for Mar-a-Lago raid still unclear

Language games abound as the justification for the raid of former President Donald Trump’s Florida home remains unknown with one legal scholar defending the Justice Department of having “every right to collect” documents another expert argued couldn’t exist.

(Video: Fox News)

George Washington University Law School professor Jonathan Turley joined Fox News Tuesday where he spoke with “America Reports” anchor Sandra Smith about the FBI search warrant that was executed at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence in Palm Beach, Florida Monday. Though he questioned the raid itself, the constitutional scholar contended the DOJ was in the right if they made a legitimate case of probable cause to the magistrate judge who signed the warrant.

“There is authority here, obviously,” Turley told Smith, “if there’s classified material present at Mar-a-Lago, they have every right to collect it. And the former president has no right to retain it.”

The professor was referencing the perceived violation of the Presidential Records Act that the National Archives and Records Administration had leveled against Trump before he had turned over 15 boxes of “mementos, gifts, letters from world leaders, and other correspondence.”

“But there are these mounting questions. You know, we’re learning more that there were ongoing negotiations, meetings at least in June, to turn over additional documents,” Turley stated as he challenged the measures taken. “And it once again raises the question of why you needed a raid. I mean even if negotiations broke down, why wouldn’t a subpoena suffice?”

“This was a finite amount of material. It was located in the residence. The subject was not even in the residence. Why did you require this battalion of FBI agents to descend upon the former president’s home?” he reiterated. “So, those are types of questions that will be raised. Now, this doesn’t mean that there was not a basis for the application for the raid.”

However, Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) challenged the entire premise that Turley had laid out when he joined “The Glenn Beck Program” by phone Tuesday and said of the idea that Trump had classified documents, “That doesn’t make any sense.”

“You know, if you think about it, he would have had such documents, if he has classified documents,” the senator stipulated, “he would have had them and obtained them as of the moment he was president of the United States.”

“The president of the United States is in charge of…declassifying classified documents, which means he had discretion to decide what he could and couldn’t have. It baffles me to consider how this means he could have violated the law,” Lee concluded.

Of course, the notion that the raid was indeed related to those documents remains conjecture as the warrant has remained sealed. Even Turley noted, “we still have to learn what was represented to the magistrate as the need for this raid. Did they suggest that they were afraid that there would be destruction of records or some other urgency that required this type of extreme action?”

The professor also took affront to the idea that President Joe Biden or anyone within the White House knew in advance that the raid was going to happen. Only, when he did so, the legal scholar was careful to qualify his statement, “Well, I would be surprised if the White House was given any type of formal notice. That would be highly inappropriate. It would be a violation of a host of policies at the Department of Justice.”

Trump himself did not tiptoe around the matter when he outright accused Biden of being in the loop as he wrote on Truth Social, “Biden knew all about this, just like he knew all about Hunter’s ‘deals.'”


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