The World’s Worst Client
On August 8, the FBI executed a search to retrieve classified documents being stored, apparently illegally, at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago mansion in Florida. Bear in mind that Trump removed these documents, not to a presidential library managed by the National Archives, as Barack Obama did when leaving office, but was storing them in the basement of his personal residence.
This raid has set off the usual hyperventilating from the Trumpists about how the FBI has gone rogue and is abusing its power in an attempt to keep Trump from running for president again—all in the well-established paranoid style in which conspiracy theories come and go but the one constant is that Trump is The Real Victim Here.
All of this depends on automatically giving Trump the benefit of the doubt and assuming that he would not have mishandled classified documents and definitely would not be lying to us about it. Given Trump’s track record, such an assumption would be foolish in the extreme. But it fits a partisan imperative: the need to denounce any criticism of Trump—and even more, any attempt to hold him legally accountable—as illegitimate.
The first rule of objective law is that A is A. A thing is what it is. The law does not mean one thing for you and another thing for your political opponents. It does not mean one thing for the powerful, such as a former president, and another thing for a junior official in an obscure government agency.