Three people with knowledge of the situation told CNN that the FBI carried out a search warrant at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, on Monday as part of an investigation into the handling of presidential documents, including classified documents, that may have been brought there.
The former president stated that “they even broke into my safe” and acknowledged that FBI agents were present at Mar-a-Lago. According to a person familiar with the situation, he was in Trump Tower in New York when the search warrant was carried out in Florida.
In a statement released late on Monday, Trump claimed that his “beautiful home, Mar-A-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, is currently under siege, being invaded, and occupied by a big group of FBI agents.”
The remarkable decision by the Justice Department to conduct a search of a former president’s residence elevates the stakes for the agency and comes as Trump’s legal issues persist on numerous fronts. Trump is also anticipated to declare in the upcoming months that he will run for president again in 2024.
There are two known ongoing investigations by the Justice Department concerning the former President: one focuses on the attempt to rig the 2020 election and January 6, 2021, and the other is about the handling of confidential data.
According to a person familiar with the situation, the search got underway early on Monday and it looked like law enforcement officers were concentrating on the portion of the club that houses Trump’s offices and personal rooms.
Another individual familiar with the inquiry said that boxes of goods were taken during the FBI search, which also included looking through the places where documents were stored. Following the recent recovery of White House records from Mar-a-Lago by the National Archives, the FBI was required to make sure that nothing was left behind on Monday.
Trump’s son, Eric, told Fox host Sean Hannity that “the National Archives wanted to, you know, authenticate whether or not Donald Trump had any documents in his possession from what they alleged was the objective of the raid.”
Trump’s lawyer Christina Bobb claimed that the FBI had taken documents. “Every step of the way, President Trump and his legal team have cooperated with FBI and DOJ investigators. In fact, the FBI conducted an unauthorized raid and seized documents “Bobb said.
Prior to the search warrant’s execution on Monday, there was communication between the FBI and US Secret Service, according to a person with knowledge of the situation, which made it simple for the FBI to enter the estate. When Trump is not at Mar-a-Lago, there is hardly any Secret Service presence there.
The FBI has been contacted by CNN for comment. To CNN, the Justice Department refused to comment.
Officials from the White House said that they were not informed of the search. A senior administration official claimed that President Joe Biden was not made aware of the Mar-a-Lago search until it had been published in the press.
Examination of the Documents
At least 15 boxes of White House records, some of which were classified, were retrieved from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club, according to the National Archives, which is in charge of gathering and categorizing presidential material.
Early in June, a small group of investigators paid the property a rare visit in an effort to learn more about any possibly sensitive documents that Trump had taken to Florida while in the White House. According to a source present at the meeting, the four investigators met down with two of Trump’s attorneys, Bobb and Evan Corcoran, as well as Jay Bratt, the head of the Justice Department’s counterintelligence and export control unit.
Trump greeted the investigators outside a dining room at the start of the meeting. The investigators questioned the lawyers to see where Trump was keeping the documents after he left without responding to any inquiries. According to the source, the investigators were taken to the basement area where the boxes of materials were being stored by the attorneys, where they got a tour before departing.
According to a second person, Trump walked in to say hello and strike up a conversation before leaving while the lawyers met with the investigators. Some of the documents handed to investigators, according to the source, were marked as top secret.
Investigators wrote to Trump’s attorneys on June 8—five days later—requesting that they tighten security in the area where the documents were kept. The room was then given a padlock by assistants.
According to a person with knowledge of the situation, the FBI interviewed Trump’s Mar-a-Lago staff members in April and May as part of the investigation into the management of presidential records.
“The improper removal of secret documents is a federal offense. Therefore, if you have to specify the crime on the affidavit, you can list that as the offense “Elie Honig, a senior legal expert for CNN and a former federal and state prosecutor, said.
On “OutFront,” Honig said on CNN that the timing of the search was consistent with the department’s longtime policy not to carry out politically sensitive actions within 90 days of an election.
Republicans support Trump.
Republican lawmakers defended the former President on social media after Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel alleged that Democrats “continually weaponize the bureaucracy against Republicans.”
Republican Kevin McCarthy, the minority leader in the House, said in a statement that he had “seen enough.”
“Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the Republican leader in the House, suggested that he intended to investigate Attorney General Merrick B. Garland if Republicans took control of the House in November.” https://t.co/hovj2pJMKk
— Shashank Joshi (@shashj) August 9, 2022
Attorney General Merrick Garland, please keep your records safe and free up your schedule. Enough of what I saw. The Republican leader said that the politicization of the Justice Department had reached an unsustainable level. “When Republicans regain control of the House, we will immediately oversee this agency, follow the truth, and exhaust all possibilities,”
We need answers NOW, according to Florida’s Republican Senator Rick Scott. The FBI must describe their actions today and their justifications.
However, the head of the House Oversight Committee, which is looking into how Trump handled papers, urged the Justice Department to “completely investigate” how the previous administration handled the information.
According to Democratic Rep. Carolyn Maloney of New York, “Presidents have a solemn duty to defend America’s national security, and charges that former President Trump placed our security in danger by mishandling classified material merit the highest examination.”
Despite the fact that more information is still being revealed about today’s events at Mar-a-Lago, it is obvious that the Department of Justice needs to look into President Trump’s potentially serious handling of sensitive information.