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We Should Not Become Inured to the Shock
The Department of Justice has released the affidavit it used to obtain permission to search Mar-a-Lago and seize files from Donald Trump. The document fills in some details but leaves many questions unanswered, largely because it is heavily redacted — as it should be. The sanctity of the investigation demands it. So does the security of the nation.
What we knew before has been further confirmed — Trump absconded with hundreds of classified documents. We now know these were incredibly sensitive and included information on clandestine human sources and secrets not to be shared with foreign governments. We may never know the documents' exact contents — that’s how sensitive this material is.
What is so striking, as many others have observed, is that as president, Trump was notoriously uninterested in details. He doesn’t read. He certainly doesn’t pore over policy details. He is famous (or infamous, depending on who is assessing) for “not getting into the weeds.” So why these documents? Why did he care so much? What, if anything, do they have in common? Can they point to a motive? We can speculate on what that might be, understanding that he has long ago lost any benefit of the doubt.
The government said it gleaned the information it included in the affidavit from “a significant number of civilian witnesses.” This detail will undoubtedly fuel Trump’s paranoia, but it also suggests just how unsafe these national secrets were at Mar-a-Lago.
As we learn more, as we look for clues, as we wonder and question, we should be careful not to lose track of the big picture.
At the very minimum, this situation represents a major breach of national security. Do we really believe that any other citizen of this country, which is who post-presidency Trump is, would be walking free if found in possession of these documents? Rather than being persecuted, as Trump self-servingly claims, this affidavit makes it clear that the Department of Justice was extraordinarily patient — possibly to a fault. They gave Trump every opportunity to hand these over. And yet he didn’t. Why not?
At this moment, around the world, women and men are risking their lives for our country. We have a system of secrecy that protects the most sensitive aspects of our national security. It is in place for a reason. Because the lives of Americans and the future health and safety of the nation depend on it.
That this saga has become “partisan” is not a reflection on the seriousness of these documents. Rather, it is a reflection of how unserious the Party of Trump is when it comes to our national wellbeing.
As shocking as this episode is, we must not become inured to it. Shock like this should not wear off. It should propel us forward to ensure that justice is served and nothing like this ever happens again.
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