Over the past few years, the FBI has acted politically often enough that many Americans now struggle to trust it, Letts said. Letts runs In-Vest USA, a non-profit that provides bulletproof vests to police departments.
Without explanations, acts like the Mar-a-Lago raid create distrust between local and federal law enforcement, he said. They also create civilian distrust for law enforcement in general. “Mar-a-Lago is just another nail in the coffin,” he said.
American law enforcement runs on trust, Letts said. Without trust, the system collapses into “Third-World status,” where police serve power instead of enforcing the law.
“Then, you have coup d’états, you have overthrows, riots. And then, whatever power happens to win at that particular day tries to solidify. The forces that it controls run out and eliminate everybody that’s not on their bandwagon,” he said.
Lack of Transparency in Politically Sensitive Case
The FBI made several decisions at Mar-a-Lago that could catastrophically damage trust in law enforcement, Letts said.
First, the raid itself shouldn’t have happened, he said.
Presidents often take many documents with them when they leave the White House. Often, staff accidentally pack at least a few secret documents by mistake. Most of the time, the federal government doesn’t punish this mistake, he said.
Former president Donald Trump’s predecessor, former president Barack Obama, turned over 30 million documents to the National Archives.
“More often than not, they look at and realize [the document] no longer needs to be classified anymore,” he said.
But the FBI raided Trump’s home for the documents.
Next, the FBI refused to let Trump’s lawyer observe the search. Without someone else present, law enforcement could potentially plant fake evidence or steal a suspect’s property, Letts said. This has led many now to wonder whether the FBI demanded secrecy for alleged misconduct. “They should have never provided fodder to the American people to have these kinds of questions,” Letts said.
Finally, FBI and DOJ leaders have failed to provide the public with a clear explanation as to why the raid had to happen, he said.
Although the government released the warrant and receipt for property taken, these things didn’t provide enough of an answer, Letts explained.