In a sweeping attack on constitutional rights, the Joe Biden administration ordered a pre-dawn raid on former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, carried out by 30 or more heavily armed FBI and Secret Service agents. During the nine-hour raid, they refused to allow Trump’s attorneys to enter the premises and ordered the security cameras turned off, but Trump’s representatives refused.
Federal agents claimed they were looking for evidence that Trump had illegally stored classified documents there. But virtually all former top White House officials, including Hillary Clinton in 2016, have been in disputes over what they can and cannot keep. In fact, the FBI, with Trump’s permission, had already gone through many of the same files at Mar-a-Lago they confiscated during the raid.
Though the warrant the agents produced only mentioned the records, they searched all throughout the 3,000-square-foot home. This included rummaging through Melania Trump’s wardrobe and the former president’s personal dressers. Agents broke into his safe.
The reverberations of this brazen attack on constitutional rights will be felt widely for years in crisis-wracked U.S. politics today.
There’s a long history of politically motivated police raids against the Socialist Workers Party, Communist Party and many others over decades, including, the raid and murder of Black Panther Party leader Fred Hampton.
Dangerous trend against rights
The Aug. 8 FBI raid follows on a dangerous trend carried out over the last several years of investigations, indictments and home invasions that often try to smear their targets with spurious charges of acting as “foreign agents.” This includes the baseless charge that Trump is a pawn of Moscow that has been pushed by the Democrats, FBI officials, the liberal press and others ever since 2015.
The Democrats’ campaign against Trump is aimed at either railroading him to prison or preventing him running for president or any other office ever again.
Beginning in 2015, growing numbers of Democratic Party backers, the liberal press, like-minded FBI officials and others began fabricating charges to smear and damage Trump. The Clinton campaign paid for the so-called Steele dossier, a hash of false and lurid charges that the presidential candidate was a pawn of Moscow. This morphed into probes and impeachment efforts run by former FBI heads James Comey and Robert Mueller.
This concerted drive spawned an endless series of early-morning raids against those associated with him. On July 26, 2017, FBI agents raided the home of Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman, carting off boxes of documents, including many already provided to Congress for its witch hunt against the White House.
On June 22 of this year, federal cops raided the home of former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark, marching him out of his house in pajamas after refusing to allow him to put on pants, allegedly looking into Trump’s role in the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol. They confiscated all his electronic devices.
Other FBI raids
Middle-of-the-night armed FBI raids were also carried out on two Black organizations and their leaders July 29.
These raids grew out of a Florida grand jury indictment filed July 26 that indicted Moscow resident Aleksandr Viktorovich Ionov on charges of conspiring to act as an unregistered agent of the Russian Federation. Ionov had organized a “Dialogue of Nations” conference in Moscow in 2015 that was attended by political groups from around the world, including members of the African People’s Socialist Party and other groups from the U.S.
Three days after the indictment, FBI agents raided the offices of Black political groups Uhuru and the African People’s Socialist Party in St. Petersburg, Florida, and St. Louis. The FBI broke down doors, set off flash-bang grenades, and temporarily detained leaders of the groups at gun point. Snipers with laser scopes aimed at African People’s Socialist Party’s leader Omali Yeshitela while FBI agents searched their homes and offices, confiscating computers, cellphones and financial records.
“We can have relationships with whoever we want to,” Aliké Anai of the Uhuru Movement told the press, adding that the group never made a secret of its backing of Moscow’s war against Ukraine.
This is a clear example of government moves to victimize people simply because of their views and political activities.
On Aug. 1, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio from Florida publicly demanded the FBI investigate and charge Puentes de Amor (Bridges of Love), an organization that opposes Washington’s economic war on Cuba, and its organizer, Seattle school teacher Carlos Lazo, for “acting as unregistered foreign agents of the Cuban regime.”
His “evidence”? The group has been part of organizing “political demonstrations” calling for lifting the embargo, and Lazo has met with Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel!
Rubio’s demand for Lazo and Puentes de Amor to be branded and monitored as Cuban government agents is utterly spurious. While so far there is no indication that the FBI plans to take up Rubio’s demand, his call for a witch hunt is a dangerous threat.
Rubio has been demanding Washington take more drastic measures against the Cuban Revolution and its defenders in the U.S. for years, with disdain for constitutional rights.
Puentes de Amor founder Lazo said Aug. 4 that Rubio’s allegations “have one purpose: to silence the voices of the Cuban American community in southern Florida who want better relations between Cuba and the United States.” As part of responding to the slander, Lazo called on opponents of the U.S. embargo to turn out for an Aug. 28 anti-embargo caravan in Miami. These monthly caravans have attracted many Cuban Americans, among others.
These charges — and FBI raids that could have led to physical harm or murder — are reminiscent of witch hunt tactics used by the government for many decades. They are a gross violation of constitutional rights.
The unprecedented raid against a former U.S. president strengthens the hand of the government in its frame-ups and attacks on the labor, communist, Black rights and other popular movements.
The move against Trump opens a new stage in the attack by the Democrats, backed by the Justice Department and FBI, on constitutional rights won in struggle. It is in the interests of the labor movement and all working people to protest this attack.