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'Logically laughable': Steve Baker puts final nails in coffin of Mar-a-Lago assassination narrative
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

'Logically laughable': Steve Baker puts final nails in coffin of Mar-a-Lago assassination narrative

Baker, no fan of the DOJ or FBI, made clear that while the raid was a 'reprehensible political attack,' it was no assassination attempt.

A number of lawmakers and pundits on the right concluded last week that the FBI's Aug. 8, 2022, Mar-a-Lago raid had all the makings of an assassination attempt on former President Donald Trump.

They appear to have done so, at least at the outset, on the basis of a RealClearInvestigations contributor's framing of a court filing in the federal classified documents case against Trump, which intimated that FBI agents had been uncustomarily authorized to use deadly force against the former president.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) tweeted, "The Biden DOJ and FBI were planning to assassinate Pres Trump and gave the green light. Does everyone get it yet???!!!!"

Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) asserted, "Biden ordered the hit on Trump at Mar-a-Lago."

Former Trump adviser Steve Bannon said on his show, "War Room," that this was an "assassination attempt on Donald John Trump or people associated with him. They wanted a gun fight."

The Trump campaign circulated a fundraising email claiming that "BIDEN'S DOJ WAS AUTHORIZED TO SHOOT ME!"

The trouble with these claims is that they rested largely on an apparent misconstruence of critical facts and gloss over decades of precedent.

Antipathetic toward various federal outfits and having himself been on the receiving end of politicized lawfare, Blaze News investigative reporter Steve Baker said, "You know, under normal circumstances I would probably just say, 'Leave it.' You know what, under normal circumstances I wouldn't even have addressed it."

However, Baker indicated that a failure to address the misleading framing of an automatically filled FBI form and the excerpts spun without context could alternatively lead to rash decisions or even violence — to what Blaze Media co-founder Glenn Beck refers to the "Bubba Effect."

'You outrage them unnecessarily so many times and then people take action.'

"Anytime you force artificial or manufactured rage on your audience, then there's always that element — it doesn't matter if we're talking about the left or the right — who will respond with violence," said Baker. "The worst among us that commit these types of acts are the people that are most outraged by their own group's rhetoric. ... You outrage them unnecessarily so many times and then people take action and they do crazy things — whether it's transgenders shooting up schools or it's some right-wing militia nut who's snapped."

Baker said the erroneous suggestion in this case that the FBI "was ordered by the president to assassinate Trump is not just irresponsible — it's dangerous."

Baker has recently noted in multiple interviews as well as on X that a review of the pertinent FBI documents in the case — the "Law Enforcement Operations Order" form FD-888 and FD302 in particular — paint "an entirely less 'mind-blowing' picture than the artificial rage storm that was unleashed last week."

Not only was Trump not present at the time of the raid, the documents indicate that "FBI leadership informed and coordinated with local United States Secret Service (USSS) leadership. Local USSS facilitated entry onto the premises, provided escort and access to various locations within, and posted USSS personnel in locations where the FBI team conducted searches."

Instead of a "gun fight," the raid appeared to be an exercise in federal hand-holding.

Baker highlighted that on page 8 of Form FD-888, the plan all along was for the DOJ and FBI to "contact FPOTUS' retained counsel, [redacted] on 8/8/2022, to notify him of the search warrant and request collaboration and assistance."

"After a reasonable time period, FBI WF/MM will execute the search warrant with the Case Team, MM Filter Team, and MAL/USSS representatives, as deemed necessary," says the form. "This execution will require coordination with USSS and may include coordination with MAL Guest Services to ensure a fulsome understanding of spaces occupied as designated in the search warrant."

Baker told Blaze News that the initial framing of the documents especially lacked clarity around the FD-888 form, particularly its use-of-force statement.

'Now, we can argue all day whether it should happen or not, but once the protocols are put in place, this form is filled out.'

"FD-888 is a blank form. Almost every single page of that form are lines to be filled out. There's promptings, for instance, there's a handling of the injured section. There's a handling of the prisoners section. And, by the way, the handling of prisoners was all marked 'not applicable,' 'not applicable,'" said Baker. "But if anybody is injured, there's a place on the form where they have to fill out the trauma center, the hospital, ... additional emergency medical information, and they actually 100% of the time are required to provide a map, which they did as per protocol."

"This is what they do every single time, 1,000s upon 1,000s of times, regardless of whether it's a white-collar crime, blue collar, gang-related, drug-related, documents, President Biden or President Trump," continued Baker. "Now, we can argue all day whether it should happen or not, but once the protocols are put in place, this form is filled out."

"There's one section of that form that is pre-printed. It's the only section on the entire form that's pre-printed," said Baker.

Contrary to its characterization last week as a deliberate and targeted use of force authorization against the former president of the United States, Baker emphasized that "it's not. In every single FD-888, the only section that is pre-printed is the policy statement use of deadly force and has been that way for decades."

'To say that they were going to send these guys into battle with each other on a surprise raid is complete bullshit.'

Beside the customary auto-fill of that section, Baker suggested there was one more piece of the assassination narrative that did not compute.

"It's less likely that there was going to be use of force [on Aug. 8, 2022] than in any other raid the FBI has ever done," said Baker. "The last thing that the FBI wants to go up against is the training of the Secret Service. Right? And versa."

"It's logically laughable. ... There's plenty of reason for us to hate on the Biden administration, on Merrick Garland, the Department of Justice and the FBI. But to say that they were going to send these guys into battle with each other on a surprise raid is complete bullshit. And that's what it is: bullshit," added Baker.

Baker highlighted that there have been instances where the FBI has overstepped its bounds and used unnecessary force, but stressed, "This was not one."

Blaze News previously reported that the FBI responded to the assassination claims by noting the offending policy is standard procedure.

"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," the bureau said in a statement obtained by the New York Post. "No one ordered additional steps to be taken and there was no departure from the norm in this matter."

Frank Figliuzzi, the FBI's former assistant director of counterintelligence, noted that "every FBI operations order contains a reminder of FBI deadly force policy. Even for a search warrant. Deadly force is always authorized if the required threat presents itself."

"We all want to win," said Baker. "But the most important weapon in our quiver, though, is the truth, the whole truth, nothing but the truth. People laugh at us when we make mistakes. That's why it's so imperative to go through so many layers of protection — through editors' and legal review and everything else."

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Joseph MacKinnon

Joseph MacKinnon

Joseph MacKinnon is a staff writer for Blaze News.
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