Justice Department needs to give Americans 'details' about Trump FBI raid, argues New York Times guest essay

Author Ankush Khardori argued lack of information about the Mar-a-Lago raid could fuel 'politically motivated speculation'

A New York Times guest essay argued on Thursday that the Department of Justice "would be wise" to provide "details" about the raid at former president Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago home.

"But at the moment, they are doing little, if anything, to counter the overwhelming condemnation from the right or, more important, to address the understandable questions that people throughout the country have about what happened at Mar-a-Lago," Ankush Khardori, a former federal prosecutor, wrote in the New York Times on Thursday. 

Khardori wrote that the people deserved more details about the raid and said that the lack of information has caused "public confusion" over a serious matter. 

"The American people deserve answers, and the Justice Department would be wise to give them some details, not only about the possible mishandling of records, which appears to have prompted the Mar-a-Lago search, but also about its investigation into the efforts to overturn the 2020 election. The lack of authoritative information has created public confusion and uncertainty about a law enforcement matter of the utmost seriousness," he argued. 

Former President Donald Trump (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Former President Donald Trump (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

TRUMP RAID LINKED TO DOJ, NATIONAL ARCHIVES PROBE INTO CLASSIFIED DOCS ALLEGEDLY TAKEN TO MAR-A-LAGO

Khardori argued that the usual standards for "investigative secrecy" don't have as much weight with regard to the former president. 

"The standard reasons for investigative secrecy apply with much less force here. One of those reasons is that the department does not want to tip people off to the existence of an investigation, which might allow them to hide evidence, coordinate cover stories or flee the country. But these matters, to varying degrees, have already been publicly aired, discussed and reported on," he said.

Khardori noted that lawyers told him that the public will have a better idea of what's going on "if (or perhaps when) prosecutors start filing charges that more directly implicate" Trump. He said that there is a possibility the government won't charge anyone because it decided to leave it to a local prosecutor or because it considers the matter to be closed.  

"If that is what happened, the public deserves to know in order to assess both the performance of the Justice Department and the extent to which federal law enforcement officials have reviewed Mr. Trump’s conduct," Khardori said. 

Former U.S. President Donald Trump claps as the crowd cheers him on during a rally in Washington Township, Michigan, U.S. April 2, 2022.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump claps as the crowd cheers him on during a rally in Washington Township, Michigan, U.S. April 2, 2022. (REUTERS/Emily Elconin)

FBI AGENTS, GARLAND AND WRAY SEE INCREASED DEATH THREATS AFTER TRUMP MAR-A-LAGO RAID: SOURCES

The former president's Mar-a-Lago home was raided by FBI agents executing a search warrant on Monday related to documents Trump allegedly brought with him to his private residence after leaving the White House. 

"Furthermore, the department’s fully ceding ground here could create a void easily filled with inaccurate information and politically motivated speculation," Khardori wrote. 

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President Donald Trump speaks after awarding the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor, to Olympic gold medalist and former University of Iowa wrestling coach Dan Gable in the Oval Office of the White House, Monday, Dec. 7, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

President Donald Trump speaks after awarding the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor, to Olympic gold medalist and former University of Iowa wrestling coach Dan Gable in the Oval Office of the White House, Monday, Dec. 7, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

"Mr. Trump’s supporters have decried the supposedly unwarranted, heavy-handed tactics of the department, portraying him as the victim of a political witch hunt at the hands of the opposing party. And much of the liberal legal commentary on Mr. Trump that you’ll find on the cable news networks turned out to be wrong before," Khardori wrote. 

He also called on Garland to speak out and provide oversight with regard to their investigation into the former president and "allow the public to gauge whether the current administration is fulfilling its duty to ensure that serious misconduct at any level is investigated thoroughly and fairly."