Donald Trump putting law enforcement in danger: Attorney

Former Deputy Assistant Attorney General Harry Litman warned on Saturday that Donald Trump‘s misleading claims about President Joe Biden‘s Department of Justice (DOJ) and the FBI‘s raid on the former president’s Mar-a-Lago residence in August 2022 pose “a true danger for current agents.”

Earlier this week, the search warrant used in the raid on Mar-a-Lago was unsealed in relation to Trump’s classified documents criminal case. The raid led to the search and seizure of hundreds of documents containing classified information, which resulted in dozens of felony counts against the former president. He is accused of illegally keeping classified documents that he took with him after leaving the White House in 2021 and then obstructing the government’s efforts to retrieve them. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges and denied any wrongdoing.

On Tuesday, Trump posted on his Truth Social account that the DOJ “AUTHORIZED THE FBI TO USE DEADLY (LETHAL) FORCE.” In addition, a Trump campaign email sent to supporters earlier this week claimed that FBI agents were “authorized to shoot” Trump, claiming Biden was “locked & loaded and ready to take me out.”

However, the FBI said in a statement that the wording of the warrant was standard and the phrase “deadly force” was also included when agents searched Biden’s Delaware home for classified materials.

“The FBI followed standard protocol in this search as we do for all search warrants, which includes a standard policy statement limiting the use of deadly force. No one ordered additional steps to be taken and there was no departure from the norm in this matter,” the agency’s statement said.

Speaking with MSNBC host Alex Witt on Saturday, Litman, an attorney and political commentator, said that law enforcements’ “standard circular here is actually meant to keep things safe and inhibit the use of force except when there’s really a deadly danger to agents.”

Litman also called the former president’s comments “pernicious” and “dangerous” because they make “people who are going to be the subject of searches in the future think, ‘Oh, they’re coming at me with deadly force.'” He added that is “exactly the kind of circumstance that can prompt standoffs with the FBI and endangers the lives of agents.”

Newsweek reached out to Litman for comment via email on Saturday. Newsweek also submitted a media request form with the DOJ’s Office of Public Affairs on Saturday.

Former President Donald Trump speaks on April 12 in Palm Beach, Florida. Former Deputy Assistant Attorney General Harry Litman warned on Saturday that Trump’s misleading claims about President Joe Biden’s Department of Justice (DOJ) and…

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Discussing Trump’s claim about the search warrant, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said at a press conference on Thursday that the “allegation is false and it is extremely dangerous,” reiterating that the document in question is standard policy.

On Saturday, Litman noted the precedent for some of Trump’s inflammatory remarks and said, “We know that once he [Trump] made a statement one of his lone wolf supporters was shooting up an FBI office in Cincinnati thereafter,” in reference to Ricky Shiffer who died in a shootout in August 2022 after trying to get inside an Ohio FBI office following the raid on Mar-a-Lago.

“It’s a true danger for current agents when he makes comments like this,” Litman added.

In response to Trump’s commentary, DOJ special counsel Jack Smith filed a motion on Friday to Judge Aileen Cannon to bar Trump from speaking about law enforcement agents involved in the case and its prosecution.

The motion says Trump’s comments make “a grossly misleading impression about the intentions and conduct of federal law enforcement agents—falsely suggesting that they were complicit in a plot to assassinate him—and expose those agents, some of whom will be witnesses at trial, to the risk of threats, violence, and harassment.”

Cannon, a Trump appointee who has been criticized for a series of recent rulings favoring the former president, is overseeing the federal case.

“Cannon is now forced to confront the lie of it, there is no two ways about it, and the danger of it,” Litman said. He explained that “unless she somehow finds a way not to rule,” then she is going to have to acknowledge Trump has “done something false and dangerous.”