Posted 54 days ago
Legal scholars are questioning whether the FBI's raid on former President Donald Trump's Florida home over classified White House documents was necessary.
Some experts told Fox News Digital the basis for the raid, which centers on Trump's purported failure to hand over potentially classified documents to the National Archives, is unprecedented.
"Based on what we now know, it was totally unjustified, even one FBI agent would have been too many," said Alan Dershowitz, a professor at Harvard Law School who served on Trump's legal team for the president's first impeachment case. "The whole process was wrong and Trump was away at the time, so they can't say he was going to destroy anything."
Legal scholars note that when individuals previously violated the law regarding classified documents, the Justice Department has opted to either not prosecute or settle for lesser charges.
"The Presidential Records Act is not commonly a subject of criminal prosecution, even in the most egregious cases," said Johnathan Turley, a professor at the George Washington University Law School. "These incidents have generally been handled administratively."
In 2004, for instance, the DOJ prosecuted former Clinton-era National Security Adviser Sandy Berger for the unauthorized removal and destruction of classified material from the National Archives. The former NSA adviser removed from the National Archives five copies of a report detailing the Clinton administration's handling of a series of unsuccessful terror attacks planned by al Qaeda for the 2000 millennium.
Berger, who removed copies of the report by stuffing them in his pants and socks, was sentenced to only two years probation and stripped of his security clearance for three years.
"These cases overall have not been subject to aggressive criminal prosecution in the past," said Turley.
A large group of FBI agents raided Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate Monday with search warrants. The raid was reportedly related to materials the former president brought to the residence after leaving the White House in January 2021.
The Presidential Records Act of 1978 and other federal laws bar the removal of classified documents from unauthorized locations. For months, the National Archives has sought to obtain documents pertaining to Trump's White House tenure from Mar-a-Lago.
In February, Trump handed the record-keeping agency 15 boxes of documents from the estate, including official correspondence between Trump and foreign heads of state.... (Read more)