FBI seems to be treating Trump's document scandal like it's a bigger deal than Joe Biden's: legal analyst
Donald Trump speaks to a large crowd at "An Address to Young America" an event hosted by Students for Trump and Turning Point Action. (Nuno21 / Shutterstock.com)

Legal analyst Lisa Rubin, who advises MSNBC and host Rachel Maddow's team, explained that from her observations, the FBI sees Donald Trump's document scandal as more significant simply based on watching the DOJ's actions.

"My fidelity is to the rule of law, and if the facts here change, I can assure you my legal analysis will too," Rubin said about the severity of Biden's documents issues. "But based on what we’ve seen so far, the Biden administration and his personal legal team has followed DOJ’s lead at every turn, even to his political detriment."

By not obstructing efforts to retrieve his classified documents, Biden contrasted Trump's "18-month odyssey" with the National Archives (NARA) and then the Justice Department to get the documents back.

It has been reported that the conversation about document retention began in late 2020 with the Trump White House and it continued for well over a year. The NARA knew specific documents were missing because they were the ones that were the biggest stories.

"Before Trump’s team returned the first 15 boxes in January 2022, at least two former WH lawyers serving as his representatives with NARA tried to persuade him to return them, to no avail. Ultimately, he went through the boxes himself," Rubin continued. "By May, NARA wrote to Trump’s lawyers again. Why? To override Trump’s invocation of executive privilege, which had thwarted the FBI’s review of those boxes. And then the DOJ served a subpoena for all remaining classified docs in Trump’s office."

She recalled that when the DOJ came to collect the documents from Trump in June, the 38 classified documents in a Redweld file folder along with a letter signed by a "custodian-of-records in name only" refused to allow the DOJ access to examine the storage room where Trump reportedly kept the documents.

That fact, along with the testimony of witnesses, helped the DOJ realize that there were more classified documents in Trump's possession. As a consequence, they subpoenaed video surveillance tapes from Mar-a-Lago, Rubin explained. What they found was "evidence of a former White House Oval Office valet moving boxes in and out of that storage room."

In Aug. 2022, a full 18 months after the National Archives asked for Trump to hand over the documents, a search warrant was sought. It found 100 more classified documents in a storage room and even in Trump's personal desk drawer.

"That’s when Trump went on the legal offensive and found a judge willing to appoint a special master and preclude the FBI and DOJ from using any classified materials retrieved in the meantime. That effort ultimately failed but not until after DOJ’s core investigative team was derailed and delayed by litigating that special master process in multiple courts on multiple issues over multiple months," wrote Rubin.

The Trump legal team was telling the court that they believed that they'd handed everything over. It wasn't true.

"Of course, Trump’s team neither offered to have DOJ conduct its own searches of Trump’s other properties, nor could they even find a lawyer willing to certify no further classified documents were outstanding," said Rubin. "Instead of letting the FBI do the searches, they insisted on having a private firm do them — and lo and behold, they turned up two more classified documents in a West Palm Beach storage facility in/around Thanksgiving."

The DOJ is still asking for more information, she noted. In the past few weeks, the special counsel team won a court battle to force Trump to disclose the company that he hired to do the search.

"Why? So DOJ can question them," explained Rubin.

The Biden probe is just starting, but thus far he hasn't shown any "willful concealment or retention" of the records.

"But the pattern of obstruction by Trump and his enablers is as long as it is brazen, with all kinds of evidence: documents, all kinds of witnesses, even surveillance tape. There’s a reason we say the cover-up is worse than the crime, kids," she closed.

Read the full thread by Lisa Rubin here.