Yahoo Finance’s Rick Newman joins the Live show to discuss the FBI searching Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home in Palm Beach, Florida.
- All right, let's move on to the third thing that we're watching this morning, and that's the FBI executing a search warrant of former President Donald Trump's Mar a Lago resort in Palm Beach yesterday. They raided his home. They searched the safe. And Trump said that in a statement. That's how we know about it. And all of this comes as the US Justice Department accelerates its investigation into the January 6 attack on the Capitol. This is a live picture of Mar a Lago. Things look quiet, steamy there this morning in Florida.
- Yahoo Finance's Rick Newman is here with us. And Rick, you know, I mentioned January 6. But we don't know that this has to do with January 6, right? It could have to do with documents that perhaps Trump took from the White House, which you're not supposed to do according to the Financial Records Act. This is still sort of shrouded in mystery. As I mentioned, we probably wouldn't even know about this-- the FBI doesn't exactly put out press releases-- unless Trump told us.
RICK NEWMAN: Right, and the reason Trump is telling everybody is this fits into his witch hunt narrative. So everybody's after Trump. The government is after Trump. The deep state is after Trump. That's all bogus, of course. This is probably pretty serious, Julie.
But look, the range of possibilities here, probably the most minor thing that could be going on, as you mentioned there, is the Presidential Records Act, the FBI going to see if Trump still has any documents that he should not have and that should be in the government's possession. But that is probably not enough to justify an FBI search, which a judge would have to sign off on a warrant for.
So this could be into something that involves suspected criminal activity. It could be related to January 6. Let's not forget, Donald Trump is a big Vladimir Putin fan. What if, to make this as extreme It was it could possibly be, what if Donald Trump is slipping classified US government documents to Vladimir Putin or to the Saudis or any foreign government?
I mean, that's the kind of far end of how extreme this could be. There's no indication that that is what's going on. But as you pointed out, we don't know what this is all about. So we will find out in time. I think everybody would everybody would like to know today what's really going on here. That's not going to happen. But this will unravel eventually.
- OK, so I guess from this point, if we are to get any of the details that comes about what they did find, who do you expect would start to announce that? And what kind of time frame might we even hear anything about what was found in this?
RICK NEWMAN: It would not be announced, assuming that the Justice Department follows proper procedures, which I think they are almost certain to do here because they're under intense scrutiny. But what would happen if this is part of a criminal investigation that actually becomes a prosecution, there would be charges at some point.
And then the way these things usually go is the prosecuting authority, which if it were the Justice Department, would file charges. It would say enough to get the case started, and then we would learn more over time. And I think the timetable for this is pretty open-ended, Brad. I think from a political perspective, it's unlikely that something like that would happen before the midterm elections because the timing would just look terrible.
But once the midterm elections are over and we get beyond any kind of electoral impact, I would say any time from the end of November into the last two years of Joe Biden's first term, that could be when we find out more. It's not going to happen as fast as everybody wants. But it will come eventually.
- And Rick, maybe this is a better question for our legal reporter, Alexis Keenan, but once Trump formally declares his intention to run for the presidency again, is he then not subject to prosecution?
RICK NEWMAN: No because he's not a government official. Just because you say you're running for office, that doesn't change anything about your legal status. And the real legal status that matters here, it's not whether Trump would be a candidate for office or a government employee. It's whether he would actually be president.
That's where this executive privilege clouds the picture. And we had all kinds of questions about how much can you prosecute or pursue a sitting president for possible crimes. That is not a problem when the sitting president is now a former president.
I think if Trump were to declare candidacy, it would be for political reasons, not for legal reasons. He would basically be trying to either capitalize on the notoriety and the victimhood of the government going after him. And we know that that's something Trump loves to tell his followers about. And he also could just be doing it to deflect attention.
- All right, golf carts swirling in the Mar a Lago live shot right now. Rick Newman, appreciate the time here this morning breaking this down for us.
RICK NEWMAN: Bye, guys.