By M.D. Kittle
MADISON — Is America moving dangerously close to a Police State? Many Americans believe so following this week’s FBI raid on former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home, according to a new poll by Convention of States Action.
The poll of 1,000 likely voters, conducted Aug. 9-10 by renown pollster The Trafalgar Group, shows nearly 77% of Republicans and 54% of Independents believe Trump’s political enemies are behind the raid. Just 12% of Democrats surveyed said the FBI’s actions were driven by the former president’s enemies, with more than 70% saying it was the impartial justice system at work.
“Independent and Republican voters are united in their outrage about this unprecedented and tragic event in American history. It’s clear to voters that the FBI raid is designed to punish the primary political enemy of the regime in power,” said Mark Meckler, President of Convention of States.
On Thursday, Trump posted that his team had been cooperating with investigators before dozens of federal agents armed with a warrant swarmed his home Monday while he was away and removed about a dozen boxes of documents.
“My attorneys and representatives were cooperating fully, and very good relationships had been established,” Trump posted. “The government could have had whatever they wanted, if we had it.”
After remaining silent for days, Attorney General Merrick Garland held a brief press conference to say that he personally signed off on the search warrant for the raid, and to defend the Department of Justice’s actions and agents. He pledged to provide more information.
“Just now, the Justice Department has filed a motion in the Southern District of Florida to unseal a search warrant and property receipt relating to a court-approved search that the FBI conducted earlier this week,” Garland said.
Garland added: “The department filed the motion to make public the warrant and receipt in light of the former president’s public confirmation of the search, the surrounding circumstances and the substantial public interest in this matter.”
As Fox News reported, a federal judge on Thursday gave the Justice Department until 3 p.m. today to certify whether Trump supports or opposes unsealing the warrant and property receipt from the FBI’s search.
”The United States shall immediately serve a copy of its Motion on counsel for former President Trump,” Magestrate Judge Bruce Reinhard wrote in an order on the DOJ’s motion to unseal the warrant and property receipt. “On or before 3:00 p.m. Eastern time on August 12, 2022, the United States shall file a certificate of conferral advising whether former President Trump opposes the Government’s motion to unseal.”
The order and Garland’s hasty press conference follow three days of growing concern that the Biden administration is politically weaponizing federal law enforcement against a political enemy.
Republicans have called the raid a politically motivated witch-hunt. Garland’s defense of his agency rings hollow after incidents of liberal politics infused in federal law enforcement — like the Department of Justice siccing agents on parents who speak out against liberal public school policies.
“AG Garland’s statement about the integrity of the FBI/DOJ would have far more credibility if he at least acknowledged the recent corruption at the Bureau/Dept responsible for eroding public trust,” Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-S.C., wrote on social media. “The public’s declining confidence in the FBI/DOJ hasn’t happened without cause.”
The raid reportedly was in connection to an ongoing DOJ probe into whether the former president kept classified government documents after leaving the White House in January 2021. But critics say the unprecedented action by the Biden administration is tainted with the worst kind of politics.
“Merrick Garland personally approved a search warrant to take down Joe Biden’s top political opponent,” said Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn. “This is a politically-motivated witch hunt.” Garland, of course, could be a U.S. Supreme Court justice today had Trump not defeated Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.
U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Oshkosh), ranking member of the Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, sent a letter Wednesday to Garland and FBI Director Christopher Wray demanding a complete explanation for the raid. Wisconsin’s senior senator also called on whistleblowers inside the DOJ and FBI to step forward and hold the agencies accountable.
The raid came a couple weeks after Johnson sent a letter to federal law enforcement chiefs about whistleblower claims that suggest FBI officials participated in a scheme to undermine derogatory information connected to Hunter Biden by falsely suggesting it was disinformation.
“The FBI’s unprecedented actions against former President Trump, without any stated justification, only add to the mounting evidence of corruption within our federal law enforcement agencies and is yet another example of a multi-tiered system of justice and federal agencies being weaponized against the left’s political opponents,” Johnson wrote.
Many Americans have the same concerns.
The Convention of States Action poll found 83% of Republican voters and 72% of Independent voters are more motivated to vote in the midterms following the raid on Trump. About 55% of Democrats says the raid has increased their motivation to vote.
“This gestapo-style injustice has created a voting surge that is so significant, the polling doesn’t even begin to reflect what is coming from grassroots voters in November,” Meckler said.