Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Lindsey Graham Challenges FBI Director Wray

Gateway Pundit has reported that the new Senate Judiciary chairman, Lindsey Graham, is challenging the FBI's tactics in the arrest of Roger Stone. And well he should. Before I get to the substance of Graham's letter to Wray, it might be useful to take a quick look at Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, in relevant part:

Rule 41. Search and Seizure
(a) Scope and Definitions. 
(2) Definitions. The following definitions apply under this rule: 
(B) “Daytime” means the hours between 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. according to local time.
(e) Issuing the Warrant. 
(1) In General. The magistrate judge or a judge of a state court of record must issue the warrant to an officer authorized to execute it. 
(2) Contents of the Warrant. 
(A) Warrant to Search for and Seize a Person or Property. Except for a tracking-device warrant, the warrant must identify the person or property to be searched, identify any person or property to be seized, and designate the magistrate judge to whom it must be returned. The warrant must command the officer to: 
(i) execute the warrant within a specified time no longer than 14 days;
(ii) execute the warrant during the daytime, unless the judge for good cause expressly authorizes execution at another time; and
(iii) return the warrant to the magistrate judge designated in the warrant.

According to CNN, the arrest took place at 6:03 AM. That obviously means that the arrest was timed to occur while it was still dark, but to technically evade Rule 41's requirement that the judge who issued the warrant should expressly authorize what was, in reality, a non-daylight arrest of a non-violent subject who was represented by counsel. Clearly this was done to maximize the terror factor as well as to maximize the possibility of tainting the juror pool. The fact that the judge then released Stone on his own recognizance and a surety bond shows exactly what the judge thought of the FBI and Special Counsel's shabby tactics.

With all that in mind, Graham wrote to Wray as follows:

“Since his appointment, I have supported Special Counsel Mueller’s ability to conduct his investigation without interference. Moreover, I have always been a strong admirer and supporter of the FBI. However, while I firmly support law enforcement taking into account threats to officer safety, flight risk, and the need to ensure evidence is preserved, I am leery that a subject of the Special Counsel’s investigation, who had retained counsel, had publicly stated that he believed that he would at some point be indicted, and was apparently willing to surrender voluntarily, was arrested in a pre-dawn raid at his home.”
“Although I am sure these tactics would be standard procedure for the arrest of a violent offender, I have questions regarding their necessity in this case. The American public has had enough of the media circus that surrounds the Special Counsel’s investigation. Yet, the manner of this arrest appears to have only added to the spectacle. Accordingly, I write to seek justification for the tactics used and the timing of the arrest of Mr. Stone.” 
... prior to that briefing, pleae provide the Committee with answers to the following questions ... : 
1) Why was it necessary to arrest Mr. Stone at his home in the early morning hours, rather than working through his attorneys to permit him to surrender voluntarily? 
2) Was the manner of Mr. Stone’s arrest consistent with the arrests of, and procedures for the arrests of, similarly charged individuals? 
3) Were usual procedures for obtaining and executing arrest and search warrants followed with regard to Mr. Stone? 
4) Did the Special Counsel’s office issue a press release and release the indictment to the press prior to informing Mr. Stone’s attorneys of the arrest? 
5) Did anyone at the FBI, DOJ, or the Special Counsel’s office alert CNN, any other media outlet, or anyone outside of law enforcement that the arrest was going to occur on the morning of January 25, 2019?

It will be interesting to see how vigorously Senator Graham follows through on this. The FBI followed the rules to the letter, as Graham, a former federal prosecutor, is well aware. But Graham surely has ways to manifest his displeasure and that of a great many Americans who have legitimate concerns about the direction the FBI has been headed in recent years.

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