Sunday, 2 Oct 2022

Opinion | Should Merrick Garland Reveal More About the Mar-a-Lago Search?

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To the Editor:

Re “Attorney General Stays Quiet, as Critics Raise the Volume” (news article, Aug. 10):

The Justice Department really needs to explain to the American people why the F.B.I. searched former President Donald Trump’s home, given the precedent-shattering nature of what happened. It should do so for three reasons.

First, given that such an act has never occurred before in American history, the public deserves to know why a former president was sufficiently suspect that the F.B.I. felt it had no choice but to conduct a search of his living quarters.

Second, the silence will be interpreted and misinterpreted on the basis of partisan biases. Already right-wing leaders have deemed this an act of war, while liberals perceive it as justified, given the president’s predilection to illegally hold onto classified materials. To correct misperceptions, the D.O.J. needs to explain its rationale.

Third, there is precedent for this. In 2016, James Comey, then the F.B.I. director, sent a letter to Congress to explain why the bureau was investigating Anthony Weiner’s email messages, which bore on Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

If a Justice Department official went public in a case like that, surely it should offer an explanation for a case this precedent-breaking and important.

Richard M. Perloff
Cleveland
The writer is a professor of communication and political science at Cleveland State University.

To the Editor:

Like many other Americans, I’m curious to know more about the Justice Department’s investigation of Donald Trump. But I think Attorney General Merrick Garland is right to keep silent about the details at this point. Mr. Khardori cites “exceptions” to the prosecutorial rule about not commenting on ongoing investigations, but none of them apply particularly well here.

We already know what it’s appropriate for us to know at this point, such as that the search of Mar-a-Lago had to have happened only after a federal judge agreed that evidence of a serious crime was likely to be found there.

In due time, I suspect, we’ll know a lot more. For now, let’s be patient and let the Justice Department do its job. The list of reasons for it to avoid public comment at this stage is longer than the list of reasons for it to do the opposite.

Jeff Burger
Ridgewood, N.J.

To the Editor:

“He Wielded a Sword. Now He Claims a Shield” (news analysis, front page, Aug. 11) certainly gets it right when it notes that the current outrage of the former president and his supporters over the F.B.I.’s execution of a search warrant at his Mar-a-Lago estate brings up echoes of his past behavior.

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