BUCK: The biggest thing obviously right now in the whole country is the situation of the raid on former president Trump, the documents at Mar-a-Lago. Reading about this all weekend. I was speaking to legal experts. There were a lot of conservatives, believe it or not, in the media and government folks head to the beach out on Long Island over the weekend. So I had some good company out there and was able to speak to them about where they all think this is going, Clay. And here’s one part of it.
You know, on politics we had been asking for months what’s coming, right? There’s gotta be a plan. We’ve been saying this. It can’t just be this decrepit Biden administration and decrepit Biden himself doddering around, looking confused, high inflation, saying things that aren’t true, deploying Kamala — would he talk about the latest Kamalaism later this hour — deploying Kamala Harris to just spew gibberish. I mean, I don’t even know what she thinks she’s trying to say. There had to be something else going on, and it feels like this is now the plan, we’re seeing it. This was coming all along. This is their version of going on offense.
This is either a distraction at minimum, right, a distraction from what a bad job the Biden administration — or it is in their minds the most recent offensive they can pull off against former president Trump to stop him, of course, from becoming future President Trump. I’m just gonna put this to you, Clay, and then we can dive into the documents ’cause I was reading a lot about what they have and what they’re saying. And sure enough, “Oh, the nuclear stuff, it’s all nuclear.” Oh, they choose the scariest sounding thing. I’ll discuss what I think is likely going on there. Clay, every person that I spoke to over the weekend in person, including a former attorney general, legal experts from across the media spectrum, say they think President Trump is getting indicted by this Merrick Garland, Biden DOJ.
CLAY: What’s interesting about the indictment potentially that might be coming is the timing, right? Because the whole thing is interesting in that aspect. First of all, I think the vast majority of sane people are going to recognize this for what it is: a political persecution designed to weaken Donald Trump in advance of 2024. And January 6th — I don’t know if you saw the data. They did a big Morning Consult I think it was deep dive on whether the summer of January 6th has impacted anybody’s beliefs —
BUCK: Nobody cared just like —
CLAY: Nobody cared.
CLAY: Nobody cared. It had zero impact in terms of Donald Trump’s overall standing in the Republican Party and nationwide. And so I think they also have recognized — to me what this raid represents, Buck, is a default acknowledgment that there is no case to be made on January 6th. And so you’re kicking around trying to find whatever you possibly can, if you’re Merrick Garland and everybody on the left wing in this country is holding your feet to the fire and in general you are a fairly weak man, because I think he is, who has spent much of his career in sort of the political mainstream trying to avoid offending anyone. And so you’re going to bring charges having to do with what the raid was at Mar-a-Lago. And I think that’s the intent.
Now, I do think the political pressure could get ratcheted up on Merrick Garland to such an extent, and people like you and me who are rational and reasonable and are looking at all the evidence can point out, well, wait a minute. Hillary Clinton totally escaped all prosecution for mishandling way more documents. You’ve got the history of not prosecuting people very aggressively under many of the statutes they’re potentially citing. But what they want is to destroy Donald Trump politically. And that’s why I think it will be some time after the midterms ’cause I think, Buck, it will be way too political to charge him, I think, before the midterms in 90 days or whatever the heck it is now ’til the official midterms. But I think sometime in December — I would say probably right after the first of the year, that they will charge Trump.
BUCK: Now, a lot of this is premised or in the background of all this, I should say, we should remember that they’re asking us, is the people that are saying this is an enormous breach of the public trust and the nuclear secrets and Trump was basically writing down his golf scores next to the nuclear codes and the people —
CLAY: That’s right.
BUCK: — that are all going to the absolute maximum level of hysteria on this, they are also simultaneously asking us to trust them, whether it’s Merrick Garland or the FBI or the Biden White House or the people in the media.
I mean, you can go — there is a direct correlation — I want everyone to know this right now — a direct correlation. If someone right now is telling you in the national news media, somebody who has some kind of following in public life, that Donald Trump should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and you need to trust them on this, the documents, they have them, it’s so serious, these are the same people who are telling you that Donald Trump stole the 2016 election with some nefarious Kremlin plot that was never actually rooted in anything other than innuendo, fantasy, and outright lies. They haven’t admitted that, by the way, but we all know that to be the case.
So we sit here Clay, trying to analyze things — on the one hand we can’t see ’cause they won’t let us see the documents, and that’s part of the game. Part of the issue here for us is that they’re never going — if it’s super-secret stuff, the people that are gonna press charges against Trump will never be able to publicly release it because the public release of the documents of that level of high classification, TSSCI, New York Times writing about this, top secret and secret compartmented information, right, that means sensitive stuff — if that is what is going on here — and I do not believe that is the case — we’re going to have to take their word for it.
CLAY: That’s right.
BUCK: And that’s the part of this where, I’m sorry. The rational response is an extended solitary finger at the people who are saying, “We know we’ve lied to you constantly to try to take down Trump. We know he’s their white whale, but we promise captain Ahab has been has gotten on the straight and narrow now.”
CLAY: Think about this for a minute, Buck, ’cause I was thinking about — I like to go down the road and think about what happens if there are charges brought. We know they would probably be brought — where? — in Washington, D.C., where you have a forum that certainly would favor a conviction of Donald Trump for something or other.
What happens if Trump is the nominee, and couldn’t he run for president and pardon himself from all of the — like, have you thought about this? Just, I want everybody out there listening, you too, like everybody out there, illegal this is such an unbelievable mess that we are proceeding down, because you could end up with a situation where getting charged actually strengthens Trump politically because it confirms for his base what he’s been saying for a long time, which is the deep state is aligned against him.
Simultaneously, it could also strengthen things for the left wing in the country because it confirms their narrative that Trump was an awful human being and needed to be charged with crimes. So you could have both of the bases of the Democrat and Republican parties strengthened by charges. And then we got into 2024, and 2024 basically becomes a referendum on Trump again. If he were to win, couldn’t he come out with this pardon ability and pardon himself from any conviction that might have been levied against him? This is such newfound legal territory, I’m not sure there’s really well grounded legal philosophy here. But this is where we’re headed, in my mind, as I work through it.
BUCK: You’re going to see a lot of back-and-forth over where does the power to declassify really exist? Because there are statutes that they’re now claiming Trump violated. So if you violated the presidential directive about classified information and the handling of it ’cause Congress doesn’t actually set forth all these rules and regulations about who gets what. Security clearances don’t come from the Congress, right? There’s not some statute. It goes through the executive branch. So the executive function is involved here at the very top level. And it’s really executive branch information. It doesn’t belong to Congress.
This is getting into this weird place where Congress passes laws about it, but the top authority, the top declassification authority is the executive — is considered to be the president and the head of the executive branch. So now we’re gonna have Kash Patel joining who was senior — he was acting chief of staff for the secretary of defense for President Trump and somebody who was being talked about for an even more senior intelligence role Trump administration, right? He’s a guy, he knows this game backwards and forwards. We’re gonna talk to him about what happens when the president says this stuff — there’s a standing declassification order for any of these documents? Essentially, what does the law say about a president who goes, “Okay. This box of information, I deem it declassified”?
They’re going to see, “Oh, no, there’s a process that involves notification” or something. But that’s an executive branch process. Meaning, the president sets that. It’s almost like it’s an executive order or something the president has decided previously. If he decides that he’s declassifying, and I can tell you there have been presidents in the past including when I was in the CIA, Clay, who said something and we — and people in the community or people with clearances went, “Ooh. That’s actually technically not something you’re supposed to let rip like that.: We call that real-time declassification, which is not a statutory thing, but it’s the way it goes.
CLAY: Well, and I think what you’re hitting at — and this is why it’s going to be such a black hole of legality in many ways is because there aren’t a lot of precedents for what the Department of Justice under Merrick Garland is trying to do to President Trump. So, you know, there’s always this situation when you’re in law school — I’ll talk about this a little bit when I come back — but you get hypotheticals on uncertain law and have to analyze what might happen. We’re in uncharted territory here, and that’s where everyone is.