A new enemies list? Conservatives, Trump allies targeted by the DOJ
From Mike Flynn to Rudy Giuliani, a long list of Trump allies and Biden critics have been probed, raided, handcuffed, charged, and jailed by the Justice Department.
The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook
- two-tiered justice system
- double standards
- legal experts
- strong-arm tactics
- may not be enforcing the law impartially
- obtained and executed
- pre-dawn raid
- dropped its case
- no warrant
- cash payment
- reportedly expected
- other investigations
The Justice Department has come under intense scrutiny for allegedly weaponizing federal law enforcement to target allies of former President Donald Trump and critics of the Biden administration, stoking fears of a politicized, two-tiered justice system riddled with double standards.
In recent weeks, lawmakers, legal experts, and whistleblowers have decried the department for appearing to have an anti-conservative bias and using unnecessary, strong-arm tactics against those deemed political opponents.
The trend prompted longtime Republican David Bossie, the former deputy campaign manager to Trump, to declare Tuesday that it appeared America had another “enemies list” like the one made famous by Richard Nixon a half century ago.
"The enemies list consists of one name: Donald John Trump," Bossie told the Just the News, Not Noise television show. "…And then secondly, on the list is every single supporter of Donald John Trump.”
Here's a nonexhaustive list of people close to Trump or critical of the Biden administration who were targeted by the Justice Department, fueling growing suspicions that the department is not be enforcing the law impartially.
The FBI raided Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida earlier this month, seizing reams of documents as part of a government probe into whether he mishandled classified materials.
The Justice Department opposed requests to unseal the FBI affidavit revealing the stated reasons for the search. Some lawyers have demanded Attorney General Merrick Garland or FBI Director Christopher Wray explain why a raid and search warrant were necessary rather than subpoenas, especially since Trump has been cooperating with the investigation.
A federal jury last month found former Trump White House adviser Steve Bannon guilty on both counts of contempt for failing to comply with two subpoenas issued by the Democrat-led House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
Bannon's legal team argued he was negotiating with the committee about complying with the subpoenas when he was forced into court and was denied his constitutional rights in the trial by not being allowed to call House Democrats connected to the committee to the witness stand.
Former Trump White House trade official Peter Navarro was publicly arrested by FBI agents at Reagan National Airport just outside Washington, D.C. in June on misdemeanor charges that he acted in contempt of Congress by defying a subpoena from the Jan. 6 committee.
According to Navarro, the FBI put him in handcuffs, leg irons, strip-searched him, denied him a chance to call his lawyer, and deprived him of food and water. The Justice Department has said those claims are false. The federal judge overseeing the case questioned the decision of prosecutors to publicly arrest Navarro rather than just summon him to court.
Federal agents searched the Virginia home of former Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Clark in June, surprising the one-time Trump administration official in the morning.
CNN recently obtained and aired bodycam footage of the raid, which took place one day before a public hearing by the Jan. 6 committee examining Clark's role in supporting Trump's efforts to challenge the results of the 2020 presidential election.
The video showed federal agents forcing Clark to step outside his home in just a dress shirt and underwear, not allowing him to put on his pants first despite multiple requests to do so.
The feds also seized electronic devices from Clark's home.
Trump election attorney John Eastman said in a June court filing that FBI agents executed a search warrant to seize his phone as he left a restaurant in New Mexico. According to Eastman, agents refused to show him the warrant until after the device was taken.
The Justice Department later obtained a second warrant to search the contents of the phone as part of the government's Jan. 6 criminal probe.
Earlier this month, the Justice Department rejected an effort by Eastman to reclaim his cellphone.
Eastman was previously ordered by a judge to turn over more than 150 documents to comply with a Jan. 6 committee subpoena.
Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.), an ally of Trump, told Just the News earlier this month that FBI agents stopped him on family vacation and seized his cell phone just one day after the bureau raided Mar-a-Lago.
Rather than ask Perry's attorney for his phone, three agents approached the congressman with a search warrant while he was traveling with family and asked for the phone.
Jan. 6 prisoners
The Justice Department has arrested nearly 900 people for charges related to Jan. 6, imprisoning most without a trial. Several have said the FBI, Justice Department, and federal prison officials under the Biden administration violated their civil and constitutional rights. The vast majority weren't accused of carrying a weapon, assaulting law enforcement, or destroying property. Many didn't even enter the Capitol building.
James O'Keefe is an investigative journalist who founded the conservative media organization Project Veritas. Last November, federal prosecutors obtained and executed warrants for the FBI to raid the homes of O'Keefe and two of his Project Veritas colleagues. Agents seized their electronic devices. They also handcuffed O'Keefe and required him to stand in the public hallway of his apartment building in his underwear, according to court documents. The Justice Department is fighting to keep the warrant materials sealed.
Meanwhile, it was revealed in March that for over a year the government had been secretly seizing and reviewing Project Veritas' emails and other electronic information through sweeping search warrants, seizing nearly 200,000 files.
The Justice Department has contended there's probable cause to believe Project Veritas was involved in stealing the diary of Biden's adult daughter, Ashley Biden, and transporting it — a claim denied by O'Keefe's legal team and Project Veritas' sources who say they founded the diary abandoned at her old Florida house.
In 2019, the FBI executed a pre-dawn raid at the Florida home of longtime political consultant and ex-Trump adviser Roger Stone. He was taken into custody after being indicted by a grand jury as part of former Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling and now-debunked allegations of collusion with the Trump campaign during the 2016 presidential election. More than a dozen FBI agents raided the then-66-year-old Stone's home donning tactical gear.
Stone was later sentenced to prison, but Trump pardoned him about a month before leaving office.
Former Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort's home was raided by the FBI in 2017 as part of the Trump-Russia probe. Similar to the Stone operation, it was a pre-dawn raid that resulted in the seizure of troves of documents.
The government prosecuted Manafort for his consulting work for the Ukrainian government as well as obstruction of justice and witness tampering. He was sentenced to prison but later pardoned by Trump.
Retired Army Lt. Gen. and onetime Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn initially pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI in January 2017, when two agents interviewed him at the White House about his communications with Russian officials.
In 2020, however, the Justice Department dropped its case against Flynn as more evidence indicated the FBI may have entrapped him. The department said the FBI's interview of Flynn was "untethered to, and unjustified by, the FBI's counterintelligence investigation into Mr. Flynn" and not "conducted with a legitimate investigative basis."
The judge presiding over the case later formally dismissed the prosecution but expressed skepticism about the Justice Department's reasons for dropping the case.
The federal government infamously used the Steele dossier, which contained several salacious and since-debunked claims about Trump and his alleged ties to Russia, to obtain a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant to surveil onetime Trump campaign aide Carter Page in 2016.
Mueller found no connection between Page and Russia's interference in the 2016 election. Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz later concluded the FBI made numerous errors or omissions in its FISA applications
Former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, who was in the government's sights for alleged Trump-Russia ties, was arrested at Dulles International Airport on a return trip from abroad. Prosecutors had no warrant, indictment, or criminal complaint ready.
Papadopoulos has accused the government of entrapping him, arguing a cash payment given to him while abroad at the time — of which he was suspicious and left with his lawyer before traveling back to the U.S. — was meant to set up a charge of violating the Foreign Agent Registration Act.
In October 2017, Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to lying about his interactions with British professor Joseph Mifsud, who claimed the Russians had dirt on Hillary Clinton. He served 12 days behind bars.
Later, Papadopoulos said he felt vindicated after Mueller found no evidence he colluded with Russia and added he wouldn't have pleaded guilty had he known then what he knows now.
FBI agents raided then-Trump attorney Michael Cohen's home, office, and hotel room in 2018. The feds seized business records, emails, and documents, at least some of which were protected by attorney-client privilege.
Renowned civil liberties lawyer Alan Dershowitz argued the raid violated the U.S. Constitution. "As soon as an FBI agent reads material that's lawyer-client privilege, the Sixth Amendment has been violated and the Fourth Amendment has been violated," he told Fox News at the time.
The raid was related to the Trump-Russia probe.
FBI agents last year raided the home and office of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, seizing computers and cellphones as part of a Justice Department criminal probe into his business dealings and communications with Ukrainians.
Dershowitz said a subpoena would have been more appropriate than a search warrant for Giuliani's apartment, describing the raid as reminiscent of conduct seen in authoritarian countries.
Victoria Toensing and Joe DiGenova
Last year, the FBI raided the home of married attorneys and Giuliani associates Victoria Toensing and Joe DiGenova, seizing the former's electronic devices. The move came around the same time as agents raided Giuliani's home.
Billionaire Tom Barrack, the former chairman of Trump's 2017 inaugural committee, must wear his ankle monitor during his criminal trial, a Brooklyn federal judge decided last week.
Barrack Is awaiting trial on federal charges he conspired to influence Trump's foreign policy to benefit the United Arab Emirates. He's also charged with obstructing justice by lying to the FBI.
Allen Weisselberg, the longtime chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, is reportedly expected to plead guilty as part of an ongoing investigation by the Manhattan District Attorney's Office into Trump's businesses.
Prosecutors described an "off the books" scheme over 15 years "to help top officials in the Trump Organization avoid paying taxes." Weisselberg allegedly avoided paying taxes on $1.7 million of income, according to NBC News.
The DA's office has not accused Trump of any wrongdoing in relation to the alleged scheme, although Trump and his businesses are the subject of multiple other investigations.