The opinion on last night’s FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago around which many in the media seem quickly to have coalesced is that it was, indeed, a “dramatic” and “norm-breaking” event, but that this fact implies that it “must” therefore have been warranted. On CBS last night, Major Garrett confirmed that such action “is without precedent in American history, a former president of the United States now subject to a search of his primary residence by the FBI.” This morning’s Politico Playbook describes it as “the most aggressive law enforcement action ever taken against a former American president.” The BBC notes that “there has never been a search warrant quite like this in American history.”
In response, the most prominent among our pundits seem to have responded, “. . . and that’s just how bad Trump is!” On CNN this morning, George Conway said that “they’ve crossed the Rubicon here. Not even Richard Nixon’s house in San Clemente was searched by the FBI, as far as I know.” Then he said, “You have to conclude there’s something behind the curtain that would surprise us.” On Twitter last night, David Axelrod said, “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.” This seemed to be the takeaway on most of the cable news shows, too.