By Patricia Tolson
According to many on the right, the FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago was just another attempt by Democrats to prevent former President Donald Trump from running again in 2024. But according to Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), it was just the beginning.
The Equal Protection Clause
The Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment prohibits states from denying anyone within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the law. That means every person must be treated the same way in the application of the laws as someone else in similar conditions and circumstances.
On Aug. 11, Attorney General Merrick Garland admitted that he personally approved the warrant application authorizing the Aug. 8 raid on former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home. The warrant was based on alleged violations of the Espionage Act of 1917 (pdf) as well as three statutes: 18 U.S.C. section 793, on the mishandling of defense information; 18 U.S.C. section 1519, relating to the destruction of federal documents; and 18 U.S.C. section 2071, which punishes any effort to conceal, remove, mutilate, obliterate, or destroy federal documents.
However, these are the same laws Hillary Clinton potentially violated in 2016 when she deleted 33,000 subpoenaed emails from her personal server, used BleachBit to wipe her hard drives clean, and had government-issued mobile devices smashed with hammers. Moreover, while then-FBI Director James Comey even admitted that 110 of Clinton’s emails contained classified information, that her staff was “extremely careless” in their handling of classified information and it’s possible “hostile actors” could have gained access to the server, he asserted that “no reasonable prosecutor” would bring a criminal case against her.
An Aug. 29, 2019 report (pdf) issued by then-Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz said Comey himself violated Department of Justice and FBI policies when he leaked classified information to his attorneys.
The Espionage Act or Obstruction of Justice
While Gohmert agrees that Democrats are trying to use the Espionage Act to make Trump ineligible to run for president, he added that another idea being floated by Democrats is to charge him with “obstruction of justice.”
“That took me back to my grilling of Muller during one of our House Judiciary Hearings about the report,” Gohmert told The Epoch Times.
In July 2019, Gohmert blasted former special counsel Robert Mueller over his handling of the Russia investigation during a heated line of questioning before the House Judiciary Committee hearing, accusing him of “perpetuating injustice.”
“As I pointed out to him, that whole thing was a hoax,” Gohmert recalled. “The Steele Dossier was funded by the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign with help from the DOJ and the FBI.”
“The truth is that Donald Trump was not obstructing justice,” Gohmert stated, referring to Democrat accusations that Trump was working with Russia’s Vladimir Putin to steal the 2016 elections. “He was pursuing justice. He knew he was innocent and he was pursuing justice. Muller was the one obstructing justice and that’s what we’re seeing here with the current DOJ. Trump needs those documents to stay whole, to not be ‘disappeared,’ and to be available so he can review them and find out who was violating the law, who was committing crimes, and leaking information. He needs those documents to stay intact and the reason why he declassified those and was wanting to keep them safe is because he doesn’t want anything to happen to them.”
‘The Documents Were Safe With Trump’
According to Gohmert, the concerns expressed by the DOJ and the FBI that Trump was going to destroy those documents “is ridiculous because he had been trying to get those documents released to the public.”
“Like Schumer once said, the intel community has ‘six ways from Sunday’ to come after you,” Gohmert recalled, referencing the statement Democrat Sen. Chuck Schumer made during a 2017 interview with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow.
Schumer also said, “Trump’s being really dumb to do this.” When Maddow asked what Schumer thought the intelligence community would do in response to Trump’s actions, Schumer said, “I don’t know, but from what I am told that they are very upset by how he has treated them and talked about them.”
“They didn’t want Trump to be able to come after them,” Gohmert stated. “They want those documents out of Trump’s control and I think that’s what’s really at the bottom of this. The FBI and DOJ absolutely do not want him to be able to find out who was after him and who was really obstructing justice while he was president, so they do not want those documents in his possession.”
“I think the documents were safer with Trump because his incentive to keep them intact was stronger than that of the DOJ,” Gohmert added. “You could ask Ted Stevens about the DOJ and people like Muller, except he was killed in a plane crash after they prosecuted him a couple of weeks prior to his election in a totally fabricated case.”
In February of 2009, former Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) was awaiting sentencing, following his conviction on seven felony counts of failing to include on Senate financial-disclosure forms more than $250,000 in gifts and renovations to his Girdwood, Alaska, home.
If it weren’t for one honest FBI agent who swore in an affidavit that evidence was concealed, Gohmert said Stevens “would have gone to prison instead of just losing his seat.” Stevens, 86, was killed in a single-engine plane crash along with four other people on Aug. 9, 2010.
Democrats Try ‘Insurrection’
Along with the Espionage Act and obstruction of justice, there is a third idea Democrats are toying with to get rid of Trump—insurrection.
Federal statute says it’s a crime to willfully and intentionally remove official records and that such a crime would disqualify the defendant from “holding any office under the United States.” But one law professor says the statute can’t be used to prevent Trump from running for another term as president in 2024.
Just like Gohmert, Rick Hasen, Professor of Law at UCLA School of Law also said he doesn’t see a conviction for violating 18 U.S. Code 2071 preventing Trump from running for office.
“That statute cannot trump the Constitution, which sets the exclusive qualifications for President,” Hasen wrote Aug. 8 on his election law blog. “So this is not a path to making Trump legally ineligible to run for office.”
However, citing an Oct. 14, 2021, blog post by fellow Election Law Blogger Ned Foley, Hasen did suggest “there is a way to disqualify Trump for office, and it should have already happened.”
“Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment explicitly bars from the presidency, as well as any other ‘office, civil or military, under the United States’ anyone who ‘having previously taken an oath … as an officer of the United States … to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection … against the same,” Foley suggested.
“Given all that we now know about Trump’s role in fomenting the insurrection at the Capitol this past January 6,” Foley asserted, “there’s already a powerful case to be made that Trump ‘engaged in insurrection’ within the meaning of this constitutional clause, thereby making Trump ineligible to be inaugurated again as president on January 20, 2025. This ineligibility argument may grow even stronger after the House select committee completes its ongoing investigation.”
However, while being accused in the media and by members of the Jan. 6 committee of “insurrection,” Trump has not been formally charged. For that matter, nor has anyone who has been arrested for their participation in the protests of January 6, 2021, which has been repeatedly labeled by Democrats and the liberal media as an “insurrection.”
According to Influence Watch, Hasen, who is also director of the Safeguarding Democracy Project, “has criticized voter identification laws and accused Republicans of using the COVID-19 pandemic to keep Democrat voters from voting.”
Foley is director of Election Law at the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law and a member of the Safeguarding Democracy Project.
The Epoch Times reached out to Hasen and Foley for clarification of their allegations.
“I will not speak with the Epoch Times,” Hasen replied by email. “Sorry.”
Foley did not respond.
About the Missing Video Footage
Gohmert also revealed for the first time to The Epoch Times that he finally received a response to his letter.
In an exclusive Aug. 7 report, The Epoch Times revealed that Gohmert sent a letter to Capitol Police Board Chair William J. Walker, demanding the release of footage captured on Capitol Hill security cameras on Jan. 6, 2021, currently being withheld under “sovereign immunity.”
“As you must be aware,” Gohmert wrote in his July, 29, 2022 letter, signed by an additional 23 GOP lawmakers, “2 U.S.C. § 1979 states that ‘any Member … of either House of Congress’ can ‘obtain information from the Capitol Police regarding the operations and activities of the Capitol Police that affect the Senate and House of Representatives.’ Subsection (c) makes clear that nothing in that law may be construed to prevent us, as Members of the House of Representatives from our ability to obtain those videos.”
While offering excuses like, they “can’t allow the public release of all 15,00 hours” of surveillance video because they would then have to change their security measures and the location of all of the cameras, Gohmert said Capitol Police were forced to concede that “Subsection (c)” indeed has the power to force them to allow any member of Congress to view those missing hours of video footage. Their stipulation, Gohmert noted, is that “any member of Congress who wants to view the videos may do so” as long as no pictures or recordings are taken.
Gohmert is now talking to the other members of Congress who signed the letter, “and even some who didn’t,” to come up with the most efficient and effective way to review the missing footage.
As The Epoch Times reported on July 5, attorneys of Jan. 6 prisoners and defendants have provided evidence in several cases that indicate the government is manufacturing evidence to arrest and incarcerate people who attended the protest at the Capitol. In the meantime, Gohmert says the government is also hiding evidence that could be used in the defense of these people. He believes the same is being done in the effort to take down Donald Trump.
Ultimately, Gohmert said his primary goal was achieved. “As the law requires,” he said, “we will now be allowed to review the videotapes.”
‘The Ultimate Authority’
As for the Democrats’ efforts to use the Espionage Act to preclude Trump from seeking another term as president, the immediate challenge to that charge will be the United States Constitution.
According to what Gohmert refers to as “the ultimate authority,” the United States Constitution only provides for two qualifications to qualify for the office of President; that they are at least 37 years old and that they were born a United States citizen. There is nothing in the Constitution that precludes someone from seeking the office of president or being elected to that office and no law or statute enacted since has the power to overrule that “ultimate authority.”
In fact, someone convicted of crimes under the Espionage Act already ran for president—from prison.
As The Epoch Times reported on May 26, Eugene V. Debs—who had already sought election as president of the United States five times on the Socialist Ticket—ran for a sixth time from behind bars in 1920. Debs had been imprisoned in the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary for speaking out against World War I and criticizing the government for arresting anti-was activists. Under the Sedition Act of 1918, crafted primarily by Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer under President Woodrow Wilson, such language was considered treasonous. The Sedition Act was an amendment to the Espionage Act of 1917, also enacted under Wilson, which sought to silence anyone who wrote or spoke out against the war or the government. Debs was unsuccessful in his bid, a fate Gohmert fears would befall Trump, should he be convicted under the Espionage Act.
‘Don’t Be Goaded Into Doing Anything Violent’
While Gohmert is still extremely concerned that the DOJ is trying to prevent Trump from having a full review of the documents to find out who was breaking the law while he was president, he also believes the raid used to confiscate the records is yet another effort to further agitate Trump’s already angered supporters and to “provoke conservatives into doing something violent.”
In another exclusive report, The Epoch Times reported that a 20-year military and former Special Ops veteran named Adam Hardage was “calling on fellow veterans and Americans of all walks to join him Sunday 8/14 at the FBI HQ in Washington DC to protest the out of control FBI and its actions against President Trump.”
Amid warnings that the protest might become “a trap,” Hardage canceled his plans.
“I will continue to implore conservatives, Trump supporters and Republicans to not do anything violent,” Gohmert reiterated. “Don’t be goaded into doing anything violent. We have to fight this out in the courts and in the court of public opinion. But we have to make sure the truth gets out there.”
A Venue Change
While Gohmert is not convinced that a conviction of any sort would dissuade Trump’s supporters from voting for him in 2024, he is fully confident that Trump—just as the Jan. 6 defendants and prisoners—would not get a fair trial in Washington.
“This DOJ is not to be trusted and it’s very very sad,” Gohmert said,” adding that “we’ve also already seen that no Trump supporter is going to get a fair trial in Washington.”
“I am proposing a venue change to allow someone who is being prosecuted to choose a venue in their own state instead of the District of Columbia. so they can actually be tried by their peers instead of people who just hate conservative Republicans.
“I am hoping that will be picked up and put into law next year. It would make it a more fair system because heaven knows this DOJ has twisted law into a direction most of us never would have expected in our lifetime.”
Gohmert is also convinced that, despite the efforts by Democrats to take Trump down since before he even announced his candidacy for president on the escalator at Trump Tower in 2015, Gohmert believes it’s just the beginning.
“It’s not close enough to the 2024 elections for this to be the full avalanche,” Gohmert surmised. “This is probably just the start of the snowball rolling.”
‘Coming After the DOJ’
If conservatives can avoid engaging in violence and if election integrity measures help prevent “massive unfair voting,” Gohmert predicts Republicans will take control of both the House and Senate in the November midterms. He also issued a warning to the DOJ.
“I don’t know if the Senate will be as aggressive as needed,” Gohmert confessed, “but knowing the guys I serve with on the Judiciary Committee, they are not going to let this rest. They’re coming after the DOJ. They’re going to get to the bottom of who the crooks are in the DOJ and the FBI.”
If Republicans don’t take back control of the House and Senate, Gohmert said he does not see the injustice in the DOJ and corruption of the intelligence community ever being corrected.
“That’s third-world stuff,” Gohmert said. “That’s the kind of thing Chaves did in Venezuela and now Maduro is doing in Venezuela, and it’s the kind of thing Castro did in Cuba and Putin is doing in Russia.”
In closing, Gohmert offered some advice—and a promise—to frustrated Republicans.
“It’s so critical that we get this right,” he admonished. “Just don’t get provoked into violence, and we will straighten this out in January.