Trump Warrant Suggests Espionage Act, Same Law Hillary Clinton Dodged

0
316

The search warrant issued Monday for Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence suggests that he is under investigation under the Espionage Act of 1917. This law was also used by Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Thursday’s admission by Attorney General Merrick Garland that he personally approved the warrant request for Trump’s search of his home, based on three statutes: 18 U.S.C. section 793 on mishandling defense information; and 18 U.S.C. section 793, on mishandling of defense information; 18 U.S.C. section 2071, which penalizes hiding, moving or destroying federal papers. Section 793 comes from the 1917 Espionage Act, which was passed during World War I.

Hillary Clinton, former Secretary of State, was accused of violating the law when she used an unsecured private email server at her home to manage her communications (including classified information) during her time in office.

Section 793, the relevant section, punishes “gross negligence” when it comes to the handling of defense information and failures to report loss or destruction. Clinton was charged with both. Her staff even destroyed her mobile phones.

James Comey, then-Director of the FBI, intervened in the matter after Loretta Lynch, then-Attorney General, was captured meeting with Bill Clinton on the asphalt of an Arizona airport. He stated that Hillary Clinton had been “extremely negligent” in handling classified information but she didn’t intend to break the statute. Conservative critics claim that Comey was trying to exonerate Hillary Clinton because the statute doesn’t require intent.

Many in the media were eager to defend Clinton and argued that the Espionage Act was too weak to be enforced. Slate.com put this in a simple statement:

Email scandal exposes all that is wrong with outdated legislation used for prosecution of whistleblowers and spies.

The Espionage Act, in other words, is both too broad and too narrow. It gives the government too many and too few options in situations where individuals misuse national security secrets maliciously or not.

It is unclear what section of section 793 is being used by the federal government to investigate Trump. There are many other sections, but they require that the defendant have good reason to believe that the information could harm the U.S. and help a foreign power.

The left delights in Trump’s being under investigation for violating the same statute he suggested Hillary Clinton should face. He was president, but she had no classification authority as Secretary of State.

There was also circumstantial evidence to suggest that Hillary Clinton used a private computer to conceal communications with potential donors to Clinton Foundation. However, no evidence has been found linking Trump to any wider scheme of wrongdoing.

Clinton was not the subject of secretive FBI raids. The FBI did not seize the server from Clinton’s home nor take truckloads full of documents from her house. The FBI didn’t want to interfere in a presidential election.

It caused political turmoil later in 2016, when Comey declared that the agency would reopen its investigation into Clinton’s email scandal, following the discovery on the laptop of disgraced former Rep. Anthony Weiner of thousands of emails.

The Department of Justice claimed that it learned a lesson from this whole episode: It didn’t want to be perceived as having an influence on campaign season. It is still pursuing Trump, despite Hillary Clinton being given a pass for the same law. This comes just three months before the 2022 midterm elections and Trump likely to be running for president again in 2024.