BUCK: We’re diving into it again. The huge news from the last 24 hours, about President Trump’s residence, Mar-a-Lago, raided by FBI agents. This is supposedly about documents that the president may have in his possession or at his home. He was not there. And we want to bring you up to speed with latest reporting on this but also look at, well, what comes next here? What are we expecting to happen in the days ahead?
One thing, Clay, interestingly, CNN is saying… I’ve seen a few things over there. The opposition media rooting for this, of course, and hoping that they finally got the smoking gun. Trump is their white whale. We all know this. President Trump, effectively, single-handedly forced CNN into journalistic self-immolation, the destruction of whatever credibility they have and then the destruction of their ratings along with it in the last year or so. They’re reporting that they think they — or rather that their sources say there were TS, meaning top secret documents. I had a top-secret clearance at one point so I know what the —
CLAY: How common…? So, you said you went through and would classify top secret documents. How common are classified and top-secret documents inside of a White House on a day-to-day basis in your experience?
BUCK: I mean, he’s gonna see the presidential daily briefing every day is gonna have TS and above TS, effectively, compartmented information. So, that’s regular, and obviously the White House… I mean, the Oval Office itself is cleared for the highest-level conversations ’cause you can only discuss certain things in certain parts of government buildings, right?
So, you would never have a classified discussion, say, in the West Wing where the reporters are. But, no, he would have come into contact with… In the presidential briefing and a number of different places he would have been seeing sensitive government information. But here’s the part of it that I’m now trying to process. So, they’re saying that, oh, the Secret Service got word from the FBI that they were coming. That has just been reported.
CLAY: They would have to, by the way, because otherwise you’d just have people storming the gates of Mar-a-Lago.
BUCK: Right and they would never let them in and then you’d get a conflict between the Secret Service and the FBI because they’re both trying to do their jobs. That would be a bad situation. So, yeah, so they gave them a heads-up about that. The notion of top-secret documents, this is interesting. And I see now CNN flashing on their screen, “Destruction of federal government documents.” Okay.
Well, this, then, brings me to — ’cause the critical question here is, putting aside that I still believe, Clay, the likeliest situation is that this is a pretextual slap in the face at Trump, a political hit, “You’re not above the law and we’re on to you and all this stuff,” but they actually don’t have the goods. They don’t have it. Because let’s think about this for a second. We were saying, what could he possibly have?
They broke into his safe. Other people have pointed out, usually you take custody of the safe and go to a judge for a separate warrant to break into the safe. Trump is claiming they broke into a safe for documents. Does anyone really think that the former president is keeping smoking gun documents that would undo him and put him in criminal jeopardy in his own safe? I mean, there are things called burn bags, right?
It’s where we used to go through the classified documents in there and they get burned up. There are a million different ways to destroy documents, which is why I think CNN’s now flashing this on the screen. Clay, if Trump took stuff that was so politically damaging to him or even criminally threatening to him, putting him in criminal liability, he would destroy it. He wouldn’t keep it.
CLAY: There would also be people…There would also be people testifying to those existences and we would have already heard about it throughout January 6th ’cause we’ve heard a lot of things in January 6th that are basically hearsay. If there were written physical documents that in some way created a connection between Trump and January 6th or some sort of criminal conspiracy, if those documents existed, someone would have written about or testified about them surrounding January 6th.
I actually think — you’re talking about forward thinking, Buck. I think they’re gonna charge him. And we talked to Andy McCarthy in the second hour, and he said 90% of the time in his experience, Southern District of New York, when the FBI goes in, they are planning on filing charges. I think Merrick Garland is an incompetent, impotent head of the Department of Justice. I think he’s afraid of his own shadow.
I think that he has got a tremendous amount of pressure, even though they won’t admit it, from the Biden White House to bring charges against their top political rival, Donald Trump. I think they want to walk Trump in, in handcuffs, for an arraignment in Washington, D.C., in a kangaroo the court there where you know you have the forum that is in favor of you and you can basically get a Republican convicted of anything.
And I think they’re gonna charge Hunter Biden. I’m sticking to what my prediction is. Merrick Garland is an intensely political person. And the only way that you can charge Trump is if you also charge Hunter Biden and argue — I’m sticking to it, argue — president’s son and former president aren’t above the law. I think they’re gonna charge both.
BUCK: I don’t see those two things as necessarily linked. I don’t think so, because, Clay, charging Hunter Biden to look fair-minded to whom? The Democrats don’t care. And Republicans aren’t gonna say, “Oh, well, the crackhead who’s selling his dad’s office. He got charged, too; so, I guess this is fair.”
CLAY: I think Merrick Garland cares in this sense. I think that when you are a lawyer and a judge, you argue these are not my choices; I’m bound by the sanctity of the law. When I was practicing law, Buck, one of the things I used to love talking about is, there are people who would always brag about how much they love the law. When you go to law school, you’ll hear people, you know, sanctimoniously be like:
“Oh, I love the law more than anything.” You know, I was okay with the law. The reason I’m not a lawyer is I didn’t, like, cartwheel into my law firm office every day excited to practice law. Like, much of it is procedural and boring and plodding, and every attorney out there knows exactly what I’m talking about. It ain’t A Few Good Men where you’ve got Colonel Jessup on the stand and you’re trying to prove something.
BUCK: It’s document review. I have a lot of friends who do the law.
CLAY: Oh, yeah. So, there’s the dramatic idea of what this is. And so I think that a lot of these guys do want the cover. I think that Merrick Garland looking at the fact that he’s the attorney general —
BUCK: From who?
CLAY: From other lawyers. I think he… Some people are gonna think this is crazy, but many lawyers, in the same way that writers who are at the New York Times, they write for other New York Times writers. They write for other Washington Post writers. If Merrick Garland is going to bring the first ever charges against a former president and potential future candidate president as a member of an opposing party Department of Justice, he’s going to feel like it was historically imperative and he was applying the law and it was not being brought in some way — I’m going into his mind — it was not being brought in some way in an entirely —
BUCK: — gonna announce the charges within, like, a week of each other? Because otherwise how does —
CLAY: Yeah. I think so.
BUCK: We’re gonna have to bet some steaks on this one. No way. Their job no chance.
CLAY: I think Hunter will get charged first and then I think Trump will get charged.
BUCK: But if he makes them close together then it’s too obvious that these are decisions he’s making for political reasons and not actually —
CLAY: Well, I think if he makes them close together at this point the reason is they’re gonna argue we’re trying to avoid making arrest. This is one thing that hasn’t been talked about very much, either. We’re 90 days from an election. They’re already now making this political to a certain degree even more so than it otherwise would be in close proximity to a midterm. So, I’m not sure that they come within a week of each other, but I think the way that he provides cover for himself in his own mind and in the mind of other attorneys who claim to —
BUCK: I get it. The bigger challenge he’s gonna have, Clay, is if he brings charges, period, full stop, against Trump for anything relating to a document offense, Hillary Clinton was facing clear violation of the statute.
CLAY: I know.
BUCK: That’s the big… So, you’re talking about, oh, but Hunter Biden will give him cover. Where’s the Hillary cover? Where’s the explanation for how you could have a presidential candidate with over a hundred instances, clear and defined, classified, marked information on her personal server that she tried to scrub. You want to talk about destruction of government documents, by the way —
CLAY: I get it. I get the argument. It’s a good one.
BUCK: He’s gonna need a much bigger explanation handy for why Hillary can do that and just be told by James Comey, no charges because we say so, and then they’re gonna bring a charge against…? So, that’s the only reason that I think if they do it, it’s so brazen, when to give a you know what about what you think, what I think, what anyone listening to this, thinks about how unfair it is.
CLAY: I think as soon as you have this raid, it becomes very difficult to not have some criminal charges follow it. I mean, Andy McCarthy was just saying 90% chance, based on his experience. We’ll talk to Julie Kelly probably later in the week who was adamant that there was going to be charges brought. Buck, I just don’t think, given the expectations that exist inside of the Democrat Party, Trump has been Lucy with the football over and over again to Democrats, and Charlie Brown, Democrats come running as hard as they can up towards the football and then Lucy pulls it away and there’s nothing left there. I think if Merrick Garland does this raid and nothing comes of it, I just don’t buy into the idea, Buck, that this is a brushback pitch theoretically ’cause I don’t know what you gain by the brushback —
BUCK: What are they saying? Let’s really look at this for a second. What do you think they’re saying on CNN and the pages of New York Times, the Washington Post in 30 days’ time with respect to what’s happened here with Trump? I mean, are they talking about the criminal indictment of Donald Trump?
CLAY: They’ll be talking about like Mueller forever, right? Like Robert Mueller was supposed to be the savior of the Democrat Party, he’s gonna bring charges.
BUCK: That’s why they’re whole “trust the process” thing, the process is the punishment. That’s the whole point. Right, as long as they keep the cloud going, as long as they say, “Oh, we did this,” they stretch out the investigation as long as they possibly can, that, I think, is their end goal here. Unless… It’s either that or it’s criminal charges against Trump.
CLAY: Well, see, here’s the deal. If the end goal is just another never-ending investigation, this is the biggest miscalculation that the Biden Justice Department could have possibly made because they have brought together Trump questioners and Trump die-hards in a way that I have not seen in years. Because you know, for years it was, “Everybody’s after Trump,” and then January 6th happens, and there’s a little bit of a fraying. Let’s say half of the Republicans want Trump. I think this unites Republicans around Trump more fervently than anything I can remember in the last couple of years, honestly.
BUCK: It shows he’s not paranoid. They are out to get him.
BUCK: That is obvious.
CLAY: It confirms everything that he’s been saying about the deep state, about the Department of Justice, about the corrupt nature of the Biden administration. And I gotta be honest with you. The people that I’m hearing from, a lot of them are not die-hard Trump people, and they’re like, you know what? I feel like we need to be allied together and stand up to what’s happening to Trump because if they can raid the home of the former president of the United States under these pretexts, what’s to stop the Biden Justice Department from coming after you or me or anybody else out there at all when push comes to shove?
BUCK: The Democrat line on this, their mantra is going to be, “Trust the process and no one’s above the law,” and they’ll extend this out. And when nothing is happening, they’ll just keep saying that. And, in essence, it becomes a President Trump is under criminal… You’re going to start hearing, “He’s under criminal investigation.” That’s going to be the phrase that they use.
CLAY: But does that register anymore?
BUCK: The Mueller probe was about Russia collusion. It was more broad. Individually targeted. Remember Trump fought with them over this. “Am I an individual target?” And he says Comey told him “No.” They’re going to start saying, Trump is an individual criminal investigative target. And they keep that going because this is what they want to feed the base.
CLAY: And then Trump runs for president, wins, pardons himself, and fires half of the Department of Justice and the FBI.
BUCK: I like that prediction.
CLAY: But I mean that’s actually a narrative arc that I think benefits Trump. Giving him credence to all of his complaints, this is, to me, if they don’t bring charges, the biggest miscalculation of all of the miscalculations —
BUCK: Which is why I think the chance of them bringing charges, everyone has to understand, is very real. It is at least 50-50 right now. And our friend Julie Kelly said two weeks ago, it’s 99 for her.
CLAY: Didn’t you say you thought like 10% so, you’re up to 50-50 now on Trump?
BUCK: I think I said 20% a few weeks ago.
BUCK: But now I’m moving more toward coin-flip status. Yeah.
CLAY: I think they’re gonna bring charges against him.
BUCCK: And, by the way, he will be convicted if they do. Just so everyone understands, if they bring charges, they will bring them in D.C., there will be an anti-Trump jury of lunatics, and it will be probably Obama-appointed federal judge who handles the case who thinks that Trump is a threat to the republic and will make sure that this goes down very easily for him. And then what happens?
CLAY: Well, and then how long can Trump drag it out? ‘Cause he could theoretically drag out the criminal charges years , potentially, depending on when the charges would come down, how much discovery there would be, challenges. He’d take it all the way to the Supreme Court. Whether he’s charged with this, right? I mean, this would be a legal battle the likes of which we have never really seen.