Former President Donald Trump has reported that the FBI “raided” his home at Mar-a-Lago in Florida and even cracked his safe on Monday, August 8th. The search was reportedly tied to classified information Trump allegedly took with him from the White House to his Palm Beach resort in January 2021. The search was as part of an investigation into the handling of presidential documents, including classified documents, that may have been brought there when he left the White House, media reports stated.
Trump said in a statement that Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach was “occupied by a large group of FBI agents”. Monday’s search was reportedly connected to an investigation into Mr Trump’s handling of official papers. “These are dark times for our nation,” Mr Trump’s statement said. “Nothing like this has ever happened to a president of the United States before.”
Neither the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) nor the justice department have commented on the reported search. According to reports, the former President was at Trump Tower in New York when the search warrant was executed. In February, the National Archives previously said at least 15 boxes of White House records were recovered from the resort — including some that were classified.
According to BBC reports, an unnamed law enforcement official has reportedly told CBS News, that the Secret Service was notified shortly before the warrant was served around 10:00 local time (14:00 GMT), and that agents protecting Trump helped the FBI investigators.
BBC report also stated, several boxes were taken away, the source said, adding that no doors were kicked down and that the raid had concluded by the late afternoon. A federal search warrant must be signed by a judge. Though such a warrant does not suggest that criminal charges are expected, law enforcement agencies must first demonstrate the possibility that evidence of illegality will be found.
Trump said he had co-operated with all relevant government agencies and so the “unannounced raid on my home was not necessary or appropriate”. He said it amounted to “prosecutorial misconduct” and “the weaponisation of the justice system” to prevent him from running for the White House again. “Such an assault could only take place in broken, Third-World countries,” he said. “Sadly, America has now become one of those countries, corrupt at a level not seen before.
There has never been a search warrant quite like this in American history, Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg told the BBC, describing it it as “a big deal”. American presidents are required by the Presidential Records Act (PRA) to transfer all of their letters, work documents and emails to the National Archives (NA).
Trump lawyer Christina Bobb, who said she was present for Monday’s search, told NBC News that Trump and his team have been “cooperative with FBI and DOJ officials every step of the way,” while adding that the bureau “did conduct an unannounced raid and seized paper.”
A senior law enforcement official in Florida confirmed that there was “law enforcement activity” at Mar-a-Largo on Monday. The White House said it was not given a heads up. “We did not have notice of the reported action and would refer you to the Justice Department for any additional information,” a White House official said.
There are also other federal laws regarding the handling of classified documents. In February, the National Archives said it had retrieved 15 boxes of papers from Mar-a-Lago, which Mr Trump should have turned over when he left the White House. The agency later told Congress the boxes included “items marked as classified national security information”.
In addition, photos have apparently revealed Trump’s habit of flushing key White House documents down the toilet. The extraordinary move to search the home of a former president comes as Trump’s legal problems continue on multiple fronts. Trump is also expected in the coming months to announce he will launch another bid for the White House in 2024.