About that Affidavit
The talking heads (media pundits, not David Byrne & Co.) say that the public “needs” to see the affidavit to prove that the Justice Department is acting in good faith. Those talking heads are wrong at best, dishonest at worst.
When Jim Comey announced that he was not going to recommend criminal charges against Hillary, he tarred her reputation without giving her a day in court. Should the DOJ do the same for Trump if he is not indicted? Absent a criminal charge, the affidavit, even with names and national secrets redacted, would do to Trump what Jim Comey did to Hillary. Should the A.G. describe all the things said by informants and all the evidence recovered and then leave the ex-President hanging? Certainly, the DOJ could say about Trump everything Comey said about Hillary. Hillary’s fans didn’t like what Comey did. Why should we expect Trump’s fans to like A.G. Garland doing the same thing to Trump by releasing the meat of the search warrant affidavit?
Demands for the full affidavit insist that the DOJ prove its good faith by breaking protocol, which is exactly the wrong thing to do. The DOJ proves its good faith by sticking to protocol. The search was made necessary by Trump’s refusal to turn over documents. The DOJ did not publicize the search; Trump did. The Department wouldn’t have commented on the search if Trumpists hadn’t demanded it do so. Based on the level of redactions approved by the magistrate, I doubt that any part of the affidavit would have been unsealed if Trump hadn’t demanded it be unsealed. He got nothing of substance because good practice and good faith demand that he see nothing of substance, at least not yet.
Should the DOJ blow an informant’s cover because the public “needs to know” that the DOJ had a good reason for the search? One talking head (a guest on Dan Abrams’s radio show) said that the names of the “witnesses” should be released because they will have to testify if there’s a trial. The guy was an ex-US attorney, so he should know better. The warrant may not have been based on testimony of “witnesses”; more likely, it’s based on tips from informants. The tipster who points the cop to the loot is not a “witness” in court. The cop is the witness and the loot is the evidence. The informant’s identity remains confidential. Whether or not the…