David Axelrod, a CNN commentator and former senior advisor to President Barack Obama, said Monday on CNN that the raid on former President Donald Trump’s estate in Palm Beach, Florida by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had “never been done before in the history of this country.”
When asked about the political perils for the FBI and the Department of Justice (DOJ), Axelrod laid out how the political consequences were “huge.”
“I mean, this has never been done before in the history of this country, and so the idea that they would raid the home of a former president and search the home of a former president is obviously as big stakes as you can have. And, you know, Merrick Garland is a notoriously cautious person.” Axelrod explained. “He would not have authorized it unless they believed they had significant evidence that a crime had been committed, and a federal judge wouldn’t have signed off on it, they were aware of the stakes as well.”
“I was just by coincidence speaking to a former Trump administration official this morning and I asked ‘would he be more or less likely to run if these prosecutions move forward?’ And he said without hesitation ‘more,'” he continued. “This is not just an electoral strategy, this is a legal strategy on his part. He wants to rouse the American people, perhaps he can feel that he can prolong this legal entanglement until he is President of the United States again.”
“If you are going to prosecute a former president of the United States, you’d better be pretty darn sure that you have an open-and-shut case. And I’m sure that a lot of discussion among prosecutors took place,” Axelrod added.
“I do agree, I would be stunned if anybody in the White House, including the president, knew. I mean, think of all the criticism that the president laid against Donald Trump for his intervening and trying to shape what the Department of Justice did,” he concluded.
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Former President Trump issued a press release Monday night announcing the raid, where he argued the FBI was being politicized.
“It is prosecutorial misconduct, the weaponization of the Justice System, and an attack by Radical Left Democrats who desperately don’t want me to run for President in 2024,” the release read. “Especially based on recent polls, and who will likewise do anything to stop Republicans and Conservatives in the upcoming Midterm Elections. Such an assault could only take place in broken, Third-World Countries.”
“Sadly, America has now become one of those Countries, corrupt at a level not seen before,” the statement continued. “They even broke into my safe! What is the difference between this and Watergate, where operatives broke into the Democrat National Committee? Here, in reverse, Democrats broke into the home of the 45th President of the United States.”
Axelrod would later tweet: “Trump’s statement today on the search of his home was a shrill anti-government, anti-FBI, ‘I’m a victim’ dog whistle like we’ve heard from him before. Only more urgent. And judging from the early response on the Right, the message was received.”
“One thing is very clear. Garland would not have authorized this raid, and no federal judge would have signed off on it, if there weren’t significant evidence to warrant it,” he wrote about the raid.
This operation carried out against Mar-a-Lago has likely motivated Trump to double-down on a reelection bid in 2024 as the Justice Department continues to pursue investigations into the president and the January 6 Committee puts increasing political pressure on Attorney General Merrick Garland to take expanded actions — against the Republican leader.
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