On May 9th, 2022, just three days after the National Archives made its final written demand for all documents from Mar-a-Lago, Donald Trump flew from Mar-a-Lago to Bedminster, New Jersey. Twitter was inundated over the weekend with video of Trump unloading bankers boxes from the plane, with a post from former FBI agent Peter Strzok making the most waves. There are no facts available as to what the boxes contained, if anything:
Better check Bedminster…
On May 6, NARA emails Trump to say material is missing and may be at MAL.https://t.co/XbEWvl9WdX
— Peter Strzok (@petestrzok) September 10, 2022
Caution about leaping to conclusions is warranted. Trump was leaving for the season, and he does a lot of business concerning his properties, including hosting a golf tournament in the summer. There are many innocent explanations for taking the boxes from Mar-a-Lago to Bedminster.
There is one not-so-innocent reason, and, again, it was buzzing on the net this weekend. This morning, NBC News reporter Ken Dilanian told “Morning Joe” that while it is somewhat suspicious and disturbing, on its own, it won’t trigger a search warrant:
Obviously, we don’t know the inner workings of this investigation, but what’s required is more than just a theory that some evidence might be at a place. They need actual hard evidence and in the case of this Mar-a-Lago search, they had witnesses who were telling them that not only was there classified information there, but that they were misled, they were lied to essentially by the Trump side, and that’s all blacked out in the affidavit, but we’re aware that it exists, and they used that to go to a judge and say, ‘Judge, we need to do a search.’
This is exactly right and would be correct in any investigation. The investigation of Trump is so politically divisive that the FBI would surely want certainty regarding records or files kept at Bedminster. Video of files going to Bedminster means next to nothing. Again, they could pertain to a mere golf tournament. But one can also be sure that the FBI’s investigation includes asking witnesses about whether files are kept at Bedminster.
Dilanian went on:
A search is a very intrusive thing. You’re trampling someone’s Fourth Amendment rights for good reason. You have evidence of a crime at this location. Absent that, like, for example, there’s a social media theory going around. There’s some video of Trump aides loading boxes on to a private jet heading for Bedminster, and I have to say, I mean, when I first saw that on Twitter over the weekend, I thought, oh, another conspiracy theory.
Well, it’s not a “conspiracy theory” so much as what it is, video of boxes going into and out of a plane. It could be a clue that the FBI uses to interview people on the plane, we cannot know. Interestingly, after warning us about conspiracy theories, Dlianian said that the video is disturbing:
The more you look at it, the more it’s pretty disturbing. The banker boxes are the same kinds of boxes that the classified documents were found in. Absent any other kinds of evidence, they would need witnesses telling them, yes, there were classified documents in the boxes, and they were taken to Bedminster. They’re not just going to do it based on a video or a theory.
Again, Dalianian is correct regarding needing far more. Under any circumstances the FBI would look hard at Trump’s move from Mar-a-Lago to Bedminster even absent the video. The FBI believes that Trump may still be hiding more files (In DOJ’s last motion to the court, they noted that Judge Cannon’s stay on the criminal investigation is hampering the search for more records). So Trump’s seasonal move was and is going to be thoroughly investigated. The video is one brick in a wall of evidence that the FBI needs to collect if it wants to search Bedminster.
@JasonMiciak believes a day without learning is a day not lived. He is a political writer, features writer, author, and attorney. He is a Canadian-born dual citizen who spent his teen and college years in the Pacific Northwest and has since lived in seven states. He now enjoys life as a single dad of a young girl, writing from the beaches of the Gulf Coast. He loves crafting his flower pots, cooking, and currently studies philosophy of science, religion, and non-math principles behind quantum mechanics and cosmology. Please feel free to contact with any concerns.