After the release of Judge Aileen Cannon’s decision to grant Donald Trump a “special master” to review documents seized during a search of Mar-a-Lago, right-wing media pundits have once again falsely claimed that President Joe Biden ordered the FBI raid on the compound.
This week an excerpt from Cannon’s ruling stating “as requested by the incumbent President” has reignited the disproven narrative that Biden was behind the search of Mar-a-Lago. The request by the president mentioned in the ruling was an official request by the Justice Department for the National Archives to share records with the FBI. The Presidential Records Act requires a request to be made by the current president to turn over the documents to the FBI.
An excerpt from the May 10 National Archives letter to Trump explains that Biden deferred all decisions regarding FBI involvement to acting archivist Debra Steidel Wall.
The Counsel to the President has informed me that, in light of the particular circumstances presented here, President Biden defers to my determination, in consultation with the Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel, regarding whether or not I should uphold the former President’s purported “protective assertion of executive privilege.”
As Politico’s Kyle Cheney explains, “There was no way a former president's claim could override an [incumbent] administration's need for the review. … Trump allies touted portions of this letter that were revealed by Solomon earlier in the evening, saying it showed Biden had been involved in the process. That's a requirement of any NARA matter involving privilege.”
The Gateway Pundit published an article titled “BOOM! Federal Judge Reveals Incumbent President Joe Biden Ordered FBI Access to Mar-a-Lago Documents” which included screenshots of Cannon’s decision supposedly revealing that Biden had ordered the search. Editor-in-Chief Jim Hoft appeared on War Room: Pandemic with Steve Bannon to discuss the article. During the segment Hoft claimed the judge’s decision was “proof” Biden lied to the American people about his knowledge of the raid.
Benny Johnson repeated the same false claims during his podcast, The Benny Show, saying, “The judge revealed this, that Biden knew.” Johnson repeatedly read the line from Cannon’s ruling stating that “the incumbent president” requested records, and continued to claim that “Joe Biden ordered the raid.” Johnson followed up the false claims by stating, “Joe Biden is going to jail. OK, I don’t know that. Joe Biden should be impeached for this. That’s what I do know.”
Right-wing conspiracy theory blog The Conservative Treehouse also cited Cannon’s ruling as evidence that Biden ordered the Mar-a-Lago search in an article implying Biden lied about his knowledge of the raid.
Cannon’s ruling has been called “deeply problematic” and “unprecedented” by legal experts. Cannon, a Trump appointee, is a longtime member of the Federalist Society.