Trump's Florida home Mar-a-Lago raided by the FBI as part of presidential records probe

Secret service members stand guard outside former U.S. President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago home after Trump said that FBI agents raided it, in Palm Beach, Florida, U.S., August 8, 2022. REUTERS/Marco Bello

Former President Donald Trump stated that FBI agents raided his Mar-a-Lago estate on Monday and broke into his safe as part of an investigation into Trump's removal of official presidential records from the White House to his Florida resort. His son confirmed that the raid was part of an investigation into Trump's removal of the documents.

The unusual search of a former president's residence would represent a dramatic escalation of the investigation of the records, one of the numerous investigations Trump is facing during his time in office and private business.

The U.S. Department of Justice declined to comment on the search, which Trump described as a "raid" with a "large group of FBI agents." The FBI's Washington headquarters and Miami field office both declined to comment.

Eric Trump, one of the former president's adult children, told Fox News that the search involved boxes of records the former president carried with him from the White House and that his father had been collaborating with the National Archives for months.

A person who knew the situation also verified to Reuters that the raid looked connected to Trump's removal of secret documents from the White House.

Trump stated that the property "is currently under siege, raided, and occupied." He did not specify the reason for the raid.

"After working and cooperating with the relevant Government agencies, this unannounced raid on my home was not necessary or appropriate," Trump claimed, adding, "They even broke into my safe!"

Fox News Digital said that Trump was not present at the time since he was in New York on Monday, posting a photo of Trump that a Fox reporter claimed showed him exiting the Trump Tower.

Trump, who has resided at his club in Palm Beach since leaving the White House in January 2021, has typically spent the summers at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, while Mar-a-Lago closes for the season.

The U.S. Presidential Records Act mandates the retention of memoranda, letters, notes, emails, faxes, and other written communications about the president's official duties.

Any search of a private residence would require judicial approval after the investigating law enforcement agency demonstrates reasonable cause that an investigation is warranted.

It would be approved by FBI Director Christopher Wray, a Trump appointee, and Attorney General Merrick Garland, who was chosen by President Joe Biden, Trump's successor and political foe.

Biden's Democratic backers have attacked Garland for being unduly cautious in his investigation into Trump's efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss to Biden. A White House spokesperson stated that Biden was not informed of the search in advance and referred questions to the Justice Department.

Phillip Halpern, a former federal prosecutor, specializing in public corruption prosecutions, stated, "Make no mistake, the attorney general had to authorize this," adding that Wray and several other prosecutors will also be engaged.

"This is as important as it gets," Halpern said. "Every single person in the chain would have had to sign off on this."

Biden has moved to separate himself from the Justice Department, while Trump supporters have accused the Democrats of using the federal bureaucracy as a weapon against Trump.

Missing Records

In February, Archivist David Ferriero informed United States House of Representatives members that the National Archives and Records Administration had been in contact with Trump throughout 2021 over the return of 15 boxes of records. He returned the items in January 2022.

The National Archives was still performing an inventory at the time but noted that several boxes contained "marked as classified national security information."

Trump previously acknowledged that he had agreed to submit specific papers to the National Archives, describing the procedure as "an ordinary and routine process." He also asserted that the Archives "did not 'find' anything."

In April, a source familiar with the case stated that the Justice Department had initiated an inquiry into Trump's removal of documents from his Florida resort.

Lara Trump, the former president's daughter-in-law, said he only took memorabilia with legal permission.

Lara Trump said to Fox News, "Look, my father-in-law, as anybody knows who's been around him a lot loves to save things like newspaper clippings, magazine clippings, photographs, documents that he had every authority to take from the White House,"

Several dozens of Trump supporters congregated near the oceanfront estate of Mar-a-Lago, where several men stood watch next to a black SUV. The police cars were parked in the roadway with their lights flashing while police officers diverted traffic and prevented bystanders from entering the gates.

Some Trump fans waved Trump or American flags while honking their horns and playing music from their cars.

Jim Whelan, 59, an advertising executive, stated, "It's another unjust thing like the made up impeachment hoaxes," He hoisted a giant sign that said, "Fake News is CNN."

Trump supporters anticipated his arrival as one cop proclaimed over a megaphone: "Tonight, Trump will not return to Mar-a-Lago. His travel plans have been canceled."

Publish : 2022-08-09 09:57:00

Give Your Comments