Fox News personality Judge Andrew Napolitano is by no means a “Trump apologist.”
He has both defended the President from spurious attacks and he has attacked the President for actions that run counter to his constitutional job description.
Napolitano is a libertarian who generally does his best to land on the side of smaller government, and greater freedom, which is why we should listen to him when he speaks.
This week he’s been pointing out the very different tactics being used by the FBI to investigate Trump associate, Paul Manafort, than the tactics the FBI used when investigating Hillary Clinton.
“This is so much more aggressive than the investigation of Mrs. Clinton. The investigation of Mrs. Clinton didn’t even use a grand Jury,” Napolitano said on Fox & Friends. The judge then pointed out the most egregious misbehavior from the FBI,
“They had to use this extraordinary tool of a pre-dawn raid, the most forceful thing the FBI can do to you, short of an arrest in the middle of the night. Which they can only use when all other means of acquiring information have failed. Probable cause means that FBI agents went to a federal judge in secret and persuaded her that it was more likely than not that in Mr. Manafort’s house they would find evidence of a crime,” Napolitano explained. The problem with the FBI’s mid-night raid on the Manafort home is that the warrant was for information that the government already possessed, making the raid an unnecessary use of force.
The so-called no-knock warrant, which was first reported by The Washington Post, was served at Manafort’s home in Washington’s northern Virginia suburbs on July 26, the day after Manafort met with Senate intelligence committee investigators.
The tactic appears unusual for a case that has been under investigation for months and for which Manafort has already turned over hundreds of pages of documents to Senate investigators. The source told CNN the documents seized included financial and tax records and at least some of the information had already been provided to Senate investigators.
So the FBI raided Manafort’s home to get information they already had? The point of the raid had nothing to do with gathering “new” evidence, and everything to do with making a statement. Manafort has not “flipped” on anyone else, yet, and the FBI seems to be exerting pressure in an effort to get him to do just that.
Still, while this may just be a witch hunt, or an effort to apply pressure on “Trump world,” that doesn’t mean that there isn’t something there too.
In fact, as Judge Napolitano explains, the only way that the FBI could get a search warrant of Manafort’s home is by displaying probable cause that a crime has been committed.
“The more people they can bring in and hold the sword over them … that’s the way they put together the puzzle of a case against whoever their true target is. Whether it’s President Trump or somebody else. A federal judge would not authorize this extraordinary tool without something there.”
A few days later Judge Napolitano doubled-down and argued that the raid is evidence that “there is a there there.”
So, the investigation into Manafort – is it an overly aggressive prosecution, or was the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s crimes not aggressive enough?