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What To Do When You're Stopped By Police - The ACLU & Elon James White

What To Do When You're Stopped By Police - The ACLU & Elon James White

Know Anyone Who Thinks Racial Profiling Is Exaggerated? Watch This, And Tell Me When Your Jaw Drops.


This video clearly demonstrates how racist America is as a country and how far we have to go to become a country that is civilized and actually values equal justice. We must not rest until this goal is achieved. I do not want my great grandchildren to live in a country like we have today. I wish for them to live in a country where differences of race and culture are not ignored but valued as a part of what makes America great.

Monday, August 15, 2022

Giuliani Is Told He Is a Target of Trump Election Investigation in Georgia

Giuliani Is Told He Is a Target of Trump Election Investigation in Georgia

“Rudolph W. Giuliani, as former President Donald J. Trump’s personal lawyer, spearheaded efforts to keep Mr. Trump in power.

Rudolph W. Giuliani is set to appear in Atlanta on Wednesday after his lawyers had argued that he should be interviewed by video instead of appearing in person.
Justin Lane/EPA, via Shutterstock

ATLANTA — Lawyers for Rudolph W. Giuliani have been told that he is a target of a criminal investigation in Georgia into election interference by Donald J. Trump and his advisers, one of Mr. Giuliani’s lawyers said on Monday.

Mr. Giuliani, who spearheaded efforts to keep Mr. Trump in power as his personal lawyer, emerged in recent weeks as a central figure in the inquiry being conducted by Fani T. Willis, the district attorney of Fulton County, Ga., which encompasses most of Atlanta. Earlier this summer, prosecutors questioned witnesses before a special grand jury about Mr. Giuliani’s appearances before state legislative panels in December 2020, when he spent hours peddling false conspiracy theories about secret suitcases of Democratic ballots and corrupted voting machines.

For Mr. Giuliani, the former mayor of New York, the developments are the latest in a widening swath of trouble, though he got some good news recently when it emerged that he was unlikely to face charges in a federal criminal inquiry into his ties to Ukraine during the 2020 presidential campaign.

Mr. Giuliani is scheduled to appear before the special grand jury on Monday at a downtown Atlanta courthouse. His lawyer, Robert Costello, disclosed in an interview that prosecutors told him Monday that Mr. Giuliani was a target.

Mr. Costello said Mr. Giuliani would probably invoke attorney-client privilege if asked questions about his dealings with Mr. Trump. “If these people think he’s going to talk about conversations between him and President Trump, they’re delusional,” Mr. Costello said.

Also on Monday, a Federal District Court judge in Atlanta, Leigh Martin May, rejected efforts by South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham to avoid appearing before the special grand jury. Mr. Graham is set to testify on Aug. 23. The judge found that prosecutors had shown that there is “a special need for Senator Graham’s testimony on issues relating to alleged attempts to influence or disrupt the lawful administration of Georgia’s 2022 elections.”

Saturday, August 13, 2022

Nuclear or not, classified or not, Mar-a-Lago files spell out jeopardy for Trump | Donald Trump | The Guardian

Nuclear or not, classified or not, Mar-a-Lago files spell out jeopardy for Trump

A receipt for property seized by the FBI in the search of Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate
A receipt for property seized by the FBI in the search of Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate.  Photograph: Jim Bourg/Reuters

"Over the course of Friday, the circumstances of Monday’s FBI search of Donald Trump’s home at Mar-a-Lago have come into much sharper focus, which makes them look much worse for the former president.

The unsealed search and seizure warrant shows that it was carried out, in part, under the Espionage Act, a set of statutes dating to 1917 that have been used aggressively to go after leakers, whistleblowers and the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange. The code quoted in the warrant carries a maximum penalty of 10 years’ imprisonment.

The inventory of material taken out of Mar-a-Lago leaves in no doubt the importance of the documents discovered there. They included top secret and “sensitive compartmented information” (SCI) meaning there were restrictions on its circulation over and above its top secret status. It should normally only be in a special facility, a SCIF. A SCIF was established at Mar-a-Lago, but it operated as a secure facility only during the Trump presidency.

Altogether, there are five sets of top secret documents listed, three sets of secret, and three sets of confidential documents, as well as binders of photos, and intriguingly, information about the French president, Emmanuel Macron.

It was the warrant that was unsealed by court order on Friday, not the supporting affidavit from law enforcement which would have provided a lot more detail. So there is no confirmation one way or another on the Washington Post report that there were nuclear weapons documents among the trove.

Nuclear or not, that is an awful lot of classified stuff, especially in view of the fact that 15 boxes of documents had already been removed in January after discussions between the National Archives and Trump’s representatives, and then again in June under a grand jury subpoena.

The papers removed on Monday were held back even after that subpoena, and their continuing presence at Mar-a-Lago was confirmed to the FBI by an informant. In the wake of all that focus on the documents, the possibility that they were retained by accident is extremely small.

It also looks significant that, in seeking a warrant, the FBI did not invoke code 1924, which is normally used in the case of government employees who hang on to documents they should not have. Instead the justice department used code 2071, relating to the “concealment, removal, or mutilation” of documentation, and code 1519, concerning the “destruction, alteration, or falsification of records in federal investigations”.

“That suggests that the government has reason to believe that President Trump has done more than just hold on to these documents,” Stephen Vladeck, a law professor at the University of Texas, said.

The Trump defence strategy appears to be twofold. One part is the catch-all claim that anything bad must have been planted by the FBI. That is an extraordinary scorched-earth path to take in the absence of any evidence, particularly considering there has already been an attempt by a Trump supporter on a FBI field office leading to the attacker being killed by police.

It may also be legally untenable as there appears to have been footage of the search that was available to Trump’s representatives on closed circuit television at the time. The Trump camp may not care about that, of course, as long as it muddies the waters.

The second strand of the Trump defence, quite contradictory to the first, is that while he was still in the White House, he declassified all the material in question by presidential fiat.

That would be unusual to say the least, and would not be how declassification is supposed to work.

“Whatever [the president’s] ‘powers’ might be to declassify docs, there are good policy and practical reasons for them to follow a process, and for that process to be documented and reflected on the document markings themselves,” Asha Rangappa, a former FBI special agent, said on Twitter.

The Trump defence counsel could argue that is not how Trump rolled. His style was to do things informally. But to a great extent it is a moot point anyway. The Espionage Act predates the system of classification introduced by executive order after the second world war, so it makes no reference to it. It talks about “national defence” information. It does not distinguish between classified and declassified materials – unauthorized retention of any document relevant to the statute remains a crime.

It is, however, a leap from Trump having a poor legal defence to the prospect of his arrest or criminal charges, steps that would have dramatic political consequences to say the very least.

Although it is called the Espionage Act, it does not necessarily mean that Trump took the documents with the intention of passing them to a foreign power. The statute also covers more minor offences – for example, someone who is lawfully in possession of documents, photos and so on and passes them to anyone not entitled to receive it, or fails to hand it over to officials who ought to have it.

It can also apply to someone who “through gross negligence permits the same to be removed from its proper place of custody” and fails to report it.

Fines can be imposed, and the justice department may be satisfied with getting the secret documents back under lock and key.

“I still think an arrest and a prosecution are low probability,” Vladeck said. “From the government’s perspective, it seems like at least part of this exercise was about just removing things from President Trump’s possession, and that’s been accomplished, whereas arresting him and prosecuting him raise a whole different slew of political complications.”

One of three statutes cited in the search warrant, code 2071, contains a clause stating that anyone who “willfully and unlawfully conceals, removes, mutilates, obliterates, falsifies, or destroys” government documents shall be “disqualified from holding any office under the United States”. Here again, Vladeck is sceptical over whether this can be enforced for this kind of offence.

“There are questions about whether Congress can disqualify someone from the presidency through such a statute,” he said. “I think there would be a serious constitutional challenge to Congress’s power to disqualify by statute unrelated to the 14th amendment – unrelated to insurrection.”


Nuclear or not, classified or not, Mar-a-Lago files spell out jeopardy for Trump | Donald Trump | The Guardian

The Washington Post - Breaking news and latest headlines, U.S. news, world news, and video



The Washington Post - Breaking news and latest headlines, U.S. news, world news, and video

Trump Lawyer Told Justice Dept. That Classified Material Had Been Returned - The New York Times

Trump Lawyer Told Justice Dept. That Classified Material Had Been Returned

"The lawyer signed a statement in June that all documents marked as classified and held in boxes in storage at Mar-a-Lago had been given back. The search at the former president’s home on Monday turned up more.

An inventory of the material taken from Mar-a-Lago on Monday showed that F.B.I. agents seized 11 sets of documents with some type of confidential or secret marking on them.
Marco Bello/Reuters

At least one lawyer for former President Donald J. Trump signed a written statement in June asserting that all material marked as classified and held in boxes in a storage area at Mr. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence and club had been returned to the government, four people with knowledge of the document said.

The written declaration was made after a visit on June 3 to Mar-a-Lago by Jay I. Bratt, the top counterintelligence official in the Justice Department’s national security division.

The existence of the signed declaration, which has not previously been reported, is a possible indication that Mr. Trump or his team were not fully forthcoming with federal investigators about the material. And it could help explain why a potential violation of a criminal statute related to obstruction was cited by the department as one basis for seeking the warrant used to carry out the daylong search of the former president’s home on Monday, an extraordinary step that generated political shock waves.

It also helps to further explain the sequence of events that prompted the Justice Department’s decision to conduct the search after months in which it had tried to resolve the matter through discussions with Mr. Trump and his team.

An inventory of the material taken from Mr. Trump’s home that was released on Friday showed that F.B.I. agents seized 11 sets of documents during the search with some type of confidential or secret marking on them, including some marked as “classified/TS/SCI” — shorthand for “top secret/sensitive compartmented information.” Information categorized in that fashion is meant to be viewed only in a secure government facility.

The search encompassed not just the storage area where boxes of material known to the Justice Department were being held but also Mr. Trump’s office and residence. The search warrant and inventory unsealed on Friday did not specify where in the Mar-a-Lago complex the documents marked as classified were found.

Mr. Trump said on Friday that he had declassified all the material in his possession while he was still in office. He did not provide any documentation that he had done so.

A spokesman for the former president, Taylor Budowich, said on Saturday, “Just like every Democrat-fabricated witch hunt previously, the water of this unprecedented and unnecessary raid is being carried by a media willing to run with suggestive leaks, anonymous sources and no hard facts.”

The search warrant said F.B.I. agents were carrying out the search to look for evidence related to possible violations of the obstruction statute as well as the Espionage Act and a statute that bars the unlawful taking or destruction of government records or documents. No one has been charged in the case, and the search warrant on its own does not mean anyone will be.

Last year, officials with the National Archives discovered that Mr. Trump had taken a slew of documents and other government material with him when he left the White House at the end of his tumultuous term in January 2021. That material was supposed to have been sent to the archives under the terms of the Presidential Records Act.

Mr. Trump returned 15 boxes of material in January of this year. When archivists examined the material, they found many pages of documents with classified markings and referred the matter to the Justice Department, which began an investigation and convened a grand jury.

In the spring, the department issued a subpoena to Mr. Trump seeking additional documents that it believed may have been in his possession. The former president was repeatedly urged by advisers to return what remained, despite what they described as his desire to continue to hold onto some documents.

In an effort to resolve the dispute, Mr. Bratt and other officials visited Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla., in early June, briefly meeting Mr. Trump while they were there. Two of Mr. Trump’s lawyers, M. Evan Corcoran and Christina Bobb, spoke with Mr. Bratt and a handful of investigators he traveled with, people briefed on the meeting said.


What we consider before using anonymous sources. How do the sources know the information? What’s their motivation for telling us? Have they proved reliable in the past? Can we corroborate the information? Even with these questions satisfied, The Times uses anonymous sources as a last resort. The reporter and at least one editor know the identity of the source.

Mr. Corcoran and Ms. Bobb showed Mr. Bratt and his team boxes holding material Mr. Trump had taken from the White House that were being kept in a storage area, the people said.

According to two people briefed on the visit, Mr. Bratt and his team left with additional material marked classified, and around that time also obtained the written declaration from a Trump lawyer attesting that all the material marked classified in the boxes had been turned over.

A short time after the meeting, according to people briefed on it, Mr. Bratt sent Mr. Corcoran an email telling him to get a more secure padlock for the room. Mr. Trump’s team complied.

The Justice Department also subpoenaed surveillance footage from Mar-a-Lago, including views from outside the storage room. According to a person briefed on the matter, the footage prompted concern among investigators about the handling of the material. It is not clear what time period that footage was from.

Over recent months, investigators were in contact with roughly half a dozen of Mr. Trump’s current aides who had knowledge of how the documents were handled, two people briefed on the approaches said. At least one witness provided the investigators with information that led them to want to further press Mr. Trump for material, according to a person familiar with the inquiry.

Concern about Mr. Trump’s cavalier handling of classified information dates back to the early days of his administration. When Mr. Trump left office, President Biden quickly took the extraordinary step of barring him from receiving the intelligence briefings traditionally provided to former presidents, saying that Mr. Trump could not be trusted because of his “erratic behavior.”

The security of classified information at Mar-a-Lago was also a concern for government officials even while Mr. Trump was in office. During his presidency, the government built what is known as a SCIF — a sensitive compartmented information facility — for Mr. Trump’s use while he was at the club.

On Thursday, Attorney General Merrick B. Garland made a public statementsaying he had personally authorized the decision to seek the search warrant for Mr. Trump’s property, and he indicated that the Justice Department would have made such a move only after trying less invasive measures.

Shortly before Mr. Garland made the announcement, a person close to Mr. Trump reached out to a Justice Department official to pass along a message from the former president to the attorney general. Mr. Trump wanted Mr. Garland to know that he had been checking in with people around the country and found them to be enraged by the search.

“The country is on fire” was the message that Mr. Trump wanted conveyed, according to a person familiar with the exchange. “What can I do to reduce the heat?”

The following day, as a judge unsealed the warrant and the inventory of items that the F.B.I. took, Mr. Trump alternately claimed he did nothing wrong and also made the baseless statement that officials may have planted evidence on him.

Katie Benner contributed reporting."

Trump Lawyer Told Justice Dept. That Classified Material Had Been Returned - The New York Times

Attorney Shoots Down Trump’s ‘Insane’ New Document Defense

Friday, August 12, 2022

Insider

Trump’s Declassification Defenses Won’t Hold Up In A Criminal Trial Says...

FBI searched Trump’s home to look for nuclear documents and other items, sources say

FBI searched Trump’s home to look for nuclear documents and other items, sources say


“The former president said on social media that he won’t oppose a Justice Dept. request to unseal the search warrant

Classified documents relating to nuclear weapons were among the items FBI agents sought in a search of former president Donald Trump’s Florida residence on Monday, according to people familiar with the investigation.

Experts in classified information said the unusual search underscores deep concern among government officials about the types of information they thought could be located at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club and potentially in danger of falling into the wrong hands.

The people who described some of the material that agents were seeking spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation. They did not offer additional details about what type of information the agents were seeking, including whether it involved weapons belonging to the United States or some other nation. Nor did they say if such documents were recovered as part of the search. A Trump spokesman did not respond to a request for comment. The Justice Department and FBI declined to comment.

Attorney General Merrick Garland said Thursday that he could not discuss the investigation. But in an unusual public statement at the Justice Department, he announced he had personally authorized the decision to seek court permission for a search warrant.

Garland spoke moments after Justice Department lawyers filed a motion seeking to unseal the search warrant in the case, noting that Trump had publicly revealed the search shortly after it happened.

“The public’s clear and powerful interest in understanding what occurred under these circumstances weighs heavily in favor of unsealing,” the motion says. “That said, the former President should have an opportunity to respond to this Motion and lodge objections, including with regards to any ‘legitimate privacy interests’ or the potential for other ‘injury’ if these materials are made public.”

Late Thursday night, Trump said on social media that he agreed the document should be made public.

Material about nuclear weapons is especially sensitive and usually restricted to a small number of government officials, experts said. Publicizing details about U.S. weapons could provide an intelligence road map to adversaries seeking to build ways of countering those systems. And other countries might view exposing their nuclear secrets as a threat, experts said.

One former Justice Department official, who in the past oversaw investigations of leaks of classified information, said the type of top-secret information described by the people familiar with the probe would probably cause authorities to try to move as quickly as possible to recover sensitive documents that could cause grave harm to U.S. security.

“If that is true, it would suggest that material residing unlawfully at Mar-a-Lago may have been classified at the highest classification level,” said David Laufman, the former chief of the Justice Department’s counterintelligence section, which investigates leaks of classified information. “If the FBI and the Department of Justice believed there were top secret materials still at Mar-a-Lago, that would lend itself to greater ‘hair-on-fire’ motivation to recover that material as quickly as possible.”

The Monday search of Trump’s home by FBI agents has caused a political furor, with Trump and many of his Republican defenders accusing the FBI of acting out of politically motivated malice. Some have threatened the agency on social media.

As Garland spoke Thursday, police in Ohio were engaged in a standoff with an armed man who allegedly tried to storm the Cincinnati office of the FBI. The man was killed by police later that day; authorities said negotiations had failed.

State and federal officials declined to name the man or describe a potential motive. However, a law enforcement official identified him as Ricky Shiffer.

According to another law enforcement official, agents are investigating Shiffer’s possible ties to extremist groups, including the Proud Boys, whose leaders are accused of helping launch the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. Both officials spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation.

A person using Shiffer’s name on TruthSocial, Trump’s social media site, posted a “call to arms” message shortly after Monday’s FBI search became public.

“People, this is it,” the message reads. “Leave work tomorrow as soon as the gun shop/Army-Navy store/pawn shop opens, get whatever you need to be ready for combat. We must not tolerate this one. They have been conditioning us to accept tyranny and think we can’t do anything for 2 years. This time we must respond with force.”

The Washington Post could not confirm whether the account actually belonged to Shiffer.

In his statement on Thursday, Garland defended FBI agents as “dedicated, patriotic public servants” and said he would not “stand by silently when their integrity is unfairly attacked … Every day they protect the American people from violent crime, terrorism and other threats to their safety while safeguarding our civil rights. They do so at great personal sacrifice and risk to themselves. I am honored to work alongside them.”

It was Garland’s first public appearance or comment since agents executed the warrant at Mar-a-Lago Club, taking about a dozen boxes of material after opening a safe and entering a padlocked storage area. The search was one of the most dramatic developments in a cascade of legal investigations of the former president, several of which appear to be growing in intensity.

The investigation into the improper handling of documents began months ago, when the National Archives and Records Administration sought the return of material taken to Mar-a-Lago from the White House. Fifteen boxes of documents and items, some of them marked classified, were returned early this year. The archives subsequently asked the Justice Department to investigate.

Former senior intelligence officials said in interviews that during the Trump administration, highly classified intelligence about sensitive topics, including about intelligence-gathering on Iran, was routinely mishandled. One former official said the most highly classified information often ended up in the hands of personnel who didn’t appear to have a need to possess it or weren’t authorized to read it.

That former official also said signals intelligence — intercepted electronic communications such as emails and phone calls of foreign leaders — was among the type of information that often ended up with unauthorized personnel. Such intercepts are among the most closely guarded secrets because of what they can reveal about how the United States has penetrated foreign governments.

A person familiar with the inventory of 15 boxes taken from Mar-a-Lago in January indicated that signals intelligence material was included in them. The precise nature of the information was unclear.

The former officials and the other individual spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive intelligence matters.

The FBI searched former president Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club on Aug. 8 as part of an investigation into whether presidential documents were mishandled. (Video: Blair Guild/The Washington Post)

This spring, Trump’s team received a grand jury subpoena in connection with the documents investigations, two people familiar with the investigation, who also spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss details, confirmed to The Post on Thursday. Investigators visited Mar-a-Lago in the weeks following the issuance of the subpoena, and Trump’s team handed over some materials. The subpoena was first reported by Just the News, a conservative media outlet run by John Solomon, one of Trump’s recently designated representatives to the National Archives.

People familiar with the probe have said it is focused on whether the former president or his aides withheld classified or other government material that should have been returned to government custody earlier. The people, who also spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the investigation, said that as authorities engaged in months of discussions on the subject, some officials came to suspect the Trump team was not being truthful.

Pressure had been building for Garland to say something so the public could understand why the Justice Department — and a federal magistrate judge — believed the extraordinary step of executing a search warrant at the home of a former president was necessary. But Garland has stuck with his practice of not discussing ongoing investigations.

“Upholding the rule of law means applying the law evenly without fear or favor,” Garland said Thursday. “Under my watch, that is precisely what the Justice Department is doing.”

Trump and his allies have refused to publicly share a copy of the warrant, even as they and their supporters have denounced the search as unlawful and politically motivated but provided no evidence to back that up.

Lawyers for the former president can respond to the government’s filing with any objections to unsealing the warrant, leaving it to the judge overseeing the case to decide. Trump also could publicly release the warrant himself.

The judge ordered the Justice Department to confer with lawyers for Trump and alert the court by 3 p.m. Friday as to whether Trump objects to the unsealing.

Trump’s social media post, shortly before midnight, said he supported the release of the search warrant and the list of seized items “even though they have been drawn up by radical left Democrats and possible future political opponents, who have a strong and powerful vested interest in attacking me.”

Trump’s statement railed against what he called “the unprecedented political weaponization of law enforcement.” He did not address The Post’s reporting that agents had sought to recover classified documents about nuclear weapons from his home.

If made public, the warrant would probably reveal a general description of what material agents were seeking at Mar-a-Lago and what crimes they could be connected to. A list of the inventory that agents took from the property would also be released. Details could be limited, however, particularly if the material collected includes classified documents.

For years, former president Donald Trump stressed safeguarding classified documents when talking about Hillary Clinton. Then he improperly took some to Florida. (Video: JM Rieger/The Washington Post, Photo: Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post)

In addition to the anti-law enforcement threats and vitriol on social media sites and elsewhere this week, the furor over the search warrant has led to threats against the judge who approved the warrant request.

The Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association — the professional association representing 31,000 federal law enforcement officers and agents — said in a statement Wednesday evening that its agents had received “extreme threats of violence” this week.

“All law enforcement understand their work makes them a target for criminal actors,” wrote the group’s president, Larry Cosme. “However, the politically motivated threats of violence against the FBI this week are unprecedented in recent history and absolutely unacceptable.”

Republicans around Trump initially thought the raid could help him politically, but they are now bracing for revelations that could be damaging, a person familiar with the matter said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.

Jacqueline Alemany, Spencer S. Hsu, Meryl Kornfield and Rosalind S. Helderman contributed to this report.“

OPINION MICHELLE GOLDBERG The Absurd Argument Against Making Trump Obey the Law

The Absurd Argument Against Making Trump Obey the Law

Alex Brandon/Associated Press

“This article has been updated to include new information about a man who attempted to breach an F.B.I. field office.

It took many accidents, catastrophes, misjudgments and mistakes for Donald Trump to win the presidency in 2016. Two particularly important errors came from James Comey, then the head of the F.B.I., who was excessively worried about what Trump’s supporters would think of the resolution of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails.

First, in July 2016, Comey broke protocol to give a news conference in which he criticized Clinton even while announcing that she’d committed no crime. He reportedly did this because he wanted to protect the reputation of the F.B.I. from inevitable right-wing claims that the investigation had been shut down for political reasons.

Then, on Oct. 28, just days before the election, Comey broke protocol again, telling Congress that the Clinton investigation had been reopened because of emails found on the laptop of the former congressman Anthony Weiner. The Justice Department generally discourages filing charges or taking “overt investigative steps” close to an election if they might influence the result. Comey disregarded this because, once again, he dreaded a right-wing freakout once news of the reopened investigation emerged.

“The prospect of oversight hearings, led by restive Republicans investigating an F.B.I. ‘cover-up,’ made everyone uneasy,” The New Yorker reported. In Comey’s memoir, he admitted fearing that concealing the new stage of the investigation — which ended up yielding nothing — would make Clinton, who he assumed would win, seem “illegitimate.” (He didn’t, of course, feel similarly compelled to make public the investigation into Trump’s ties to Russia.)

Comey’s attempts to pre-empt a conservative firestorm blew up in his face. He helped put Trump in the White House, where Trump did generational damage to the rule of law and led us to a place where prominent Republicans are calling for abolishing the F.B.I.

This should be a lesson about the futility of shaping law enforcement decisions around the sensitivities of Trump’s base. Yet after the F.B.I. executed a search warrant at Trump’s beachfront estate this week, some intelligent people have questioned the wisdom of subjecting the former president to the normal operation of the law because of the effect it will have on his most febrile admirers.

Andrew Yang, one of the founders of a new centrist third party, tweeted about the “millions of Americans who will see this as unjust persecution.” Damon Linker, usually one of the more sensible centrist thinkers, wrote, “Rather than healing the country’s civic wounds, the effort to punish Trump will only deepen them.”

The Atlantic’s Tim Alberta described feeling “nauseous” watching coverage of the raid. “What we must acknowledge — even those of us who believe Trump has committed crimes, in some cases brazenly so, and deserves full prosecution under the law — is that bringing him to justice could have some awful consequences,” he wrote.

In some sense, Alberta’s words are obviously true; Trumpists are already issuing death threats against the judge who signed off on the warrant, and a Shabbat service at his synagogue was reportedly canceled because of the security risk. On Thursday, an armed man tried to breach an F.B.I. field office in Ohio, and The New York Times reported that he appears to have attended a pro-Trump rally in Washington the night before the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. The former president relishes his ability to stir up a mob; it’s part of what makes him so dangerous.

We already know, however, that the failure to bring Trump to justice — for his company’s alleged financial chicanery and his alleged sexual assault, for obstructing Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation and turning the presidency into a squalid influence-peddling operation, for trying to steal an election and encouraging an insurrection — has been disastrous.

What has strengthened Trump has not been prosecution but impunity, an impunity that some of those who stormed the Capitol thought, erroneously, applied to them as well. Trump’s mystique is built on his defiance of rules that bind everyone else. He is reportedly motivated to run for president again in part because the office will protect him from prosecution. If we don’t want the presidency to license crime sprees, we should allow presidents to be indicted, not accept some dubious norm that ex-presidents shouldn’t be.

We do not know the scope of the investigation that led a judge to authorize the search of Mar-a-Lago, though it reportedly involves classified documents that Trump failed to turn over to the government even after being subpoenaed. More could be revealed soon: Attorney General Merrick Garland announced on Thursday that the Justice Department had filed a motion in court to unseal the search warrant.

It should go without saying that Trump and his followers, who howled “Lock her up!” about Clinton, do not believe that it is wrong for the Justice Department to pursue a probe against a presidential contender over the improper handling of classified material. What they believe is that it is wrong to pursue a case against Trump, who bonds with his acolytes through a shared sense of aggrieved victimization.

The question is how much deference the rest of us should give to this belief. No doubt, Trump’s most inflamed fans might act out in horrifying ways; many are heavily armed and speak lustily about civil war. To let this dictate the workings of justice is to accept an insurrectionists’ veto. The far right is constantly threatening violence if it doesn’t get its way. Does anyone truly believe that giving in to its blackmail will make it less aggressive?

It was Trump himself who signed a law making the removal and retention of classified documents a felony punishable by up to five years in prison. Those who think that it would be too socially disruptive to apply such a statute to him should specify which laws they believe the former president is and is not obliged to obey. And those in charge of enforcing our laws should remember that the caterwauling of the Trump camp is designed to intimidate them and such intimidation helped him become president in the first place.

Trump shouldn’t be prosecuted because of politics, but he also shouldn’t be spared because of them. The only relevant question is whether he committed a crime, not what crimes his devotees might commit if he’s held to account.“