Fox News responded to the release of an FBI affidavit supporting the search of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence by claiming that the search was unnecessary in the first place, arguing the new court document offered no additional information, and ignoring the new information that was included in it.
Several Fox News personalities have either claimed that the FBI should have issued an additional subpoena or otherwise taken less dramatic action in searching Trump’s residence and membership club. The line of questioning implies that Trump and his team were cooperating with the FBI, when in reality they had dragged their feet every step of the way, including by ignoring a grand jury’s subpoena in May.
“There was a level of cooperation and continual communications, and then there’s also the possibility of other means,” argued Fox News commentator Jonathan Turley. “You could get some type of injunction from the court, you could get a second subpoena that is quite specific to turn these things over, and it also does not explain why they had this open-ended search where they could literally vacuum up everything in the room.
Co-anchors Bret Baier and Sandra Smith each suggested that the FBI had overreached as well.
“What is the purpose, what is the goal of the DOJ?” anchor Bret Baier asked. “Where does the negotiation stop, why is there not another subpoena?”
“Was there room here for another subpoena to happen before the raid of a former president's home and to that, that's the question you've had since the release of this redacted affidavit,” Smith said.
Smith returned to the argument later in the segment, asking Fox News commentator Karl Rove, if “the president's legal team was stiff-arming authorities' requests for those documents, couldn't, many are wondering, another subpoena have been -- couldn't a subpoena have been issued after those multiple attempts?”
Fox News anchor John Roberts took a different approach, arguing that since the documents had been at Trump’s residence for a year and a half, maybe there was no real cause for concern at all.
“Maybe they had a legitimate concern that it could fall into the wrong hands or maybe the concern was overblown because it had been there for, you know, 18 months and hadn't fallen into the wrong hands,” Roberts said.
When the network wasn’t pretending that the raid was unnecessary, they played down what was included in the affidavit.
Turley found the disclosure underwhelming because the unredacted sections didn’t contain the word “nuclear.”
As of this writing, Fox News hasn’t mentioned that the affidavit claims that some of the classified material was marked “Human Control System,” a label that typically refers to a report from a CIA officer based on a human source, like a spy or informant.
The New York Times reported shortly after the affidavit was released that Trump took more than 700 pages of highly classified documents with him to Mar-a-Lago, including “some related to the nation’s most covert intelligence operations.”