By Jack Phillips
Tea Party Patriots Action filed a federal complaint against the judge who approved the FBI search of former President Donald Trump’s Florida home.
“Judge [Bruce] Reinhart has a conflict of interest and a pattern and history of hostility to President Trump,” said the filing (pdf).
The lawsuit then listed several examples including purported Facebook posts that show Reinhart had criticized Trump while praising the late Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.). Reinhart also reportedly donated to former President Barack Obama and to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush when he was running against Trump in 2015, the lawsuit said, citing publicly available reports.
The lawsuit seeks to have Reinhart, a U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida judge, removed from the case or even removed from his position.
“Judge Reinhart should be disciplined and removed as a federal magistrate because of his failure to meet the standards of ethical conduct and character necessary for the public to have confidence in the nonpartisan role of a judge in a matter of this extreme public interest,” the suit contended.
“Clearly,” it further said, “Judge Reinhart is a partisan and has publicly expressed his partisan views against former President Trump” and that his “antipathy for the former President is such that he should have recused when presented with the search warrant for the highly problematic search of President Trump’s home in Florida.”
Days after signing off on the FBI search warrant, Reinhart ultimately released the warrant and property receipt to the public.
During a hearing last week and on Monday, Reinhart suggested that he would release the affidavit the Department of Justice used to seek the warrant after the agency submits the document with redactions. He gave the Justice Department, which has sought to block the release of the affidavit, until Thursday at 12 p.m. to submit the redacted version.
The Tea Party lawsuit also cited a case involving Hillary Clinton in which Reinhart had recused himself, arguing that he should have done so with the FBI search warrant.
“The entire episode of the unprecedented search of the former president’s home, authorized by a political appointee of President Trump’s successor, and approved by a federal magistrate who has been outspoken in his opposition to and loathing of President Trump threatens the principle of ‘equal justice under law’ and the confidence of the American people in an unbiased judiciary,” the complaint said.