In a court filing this week, a lawyer who assisted former President Donald Trump in investigating potential fraud in the 2020 election during his final weeks in the Oval Office described an incident in which federal agents approached him outside a restaurant and seized his cell phone using a defective search warrant and in a manner he says was contrary to law.
According to the Associated Press, attorney John Eastman contends that the agents who accosted him declared themselves to be with the FBI, but appeared instead to be serving a warrant created under the auspices of the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General.
In Eastman’s filing, he disputes the legitimacy of the warrant presented at the time of the search, declares its subject to be over broad, and demands the return of the phone, which he says contains privileged communications with his clients.
Furthermore, Eastman claims, the warrant at issue does not give any indication of a crime for which the government might expect relevant evidence to be contained on the seized phone.
Eastman has been embroiled in recent months in a dispute with the House committee probing the events of Jan. 6, 2021 over documents he claimed were subject to attorney-client privilege and could therefore rightly be withheld from their review.
As Scott Johnson of Powerline notes, Eastman’s run-in with the FBI comes close on the heels of similar encounters experienced recently by former Trump DOJ official Jeffrey Clark and Nevada Republican Party chair Michael McDonald, who also had phones and other devices seized by agents.
Suggesting that the aforementioned events were far from coincidental, Johnson lamented that “[t]he FBI appears to have taken up the role of the ruling party’s enforcement arm.”
Johnson was not alone in that highly skeptical take, with the Claremont Institute tweeting in reference to the Eastman phone seizure, “Our increasingly totalitarian government seems to have adopted the infamous mantra of Levrentiy Pavlovich Beria, the Chief of Josef Stalin’s Secret Police, the NKVD: ‘Show me the man and I’ll show you the crime.’”
Though it remains to be seen whether Eastman will prevail in fighting the government’s action against him and securing the return of his phone and the data it contains, it is increasingly clear that the Democrats’ growing desperation to crush their opponents and eliminate any trace of Trump from the political landscape once and for all is driving them to rather terrifying extremes that must be put in check.