The Mar-a-Lago raid came as the tycoon weighs a third run for the White House.
Donald Trump affirmed this Monday, through a statement, that FBI agents raided his Mar-a-Lago residence in Palm Beach, Florida. According to reports, the inspection was part of an investigation into the handling of highly classified presidential documents.
“Mar-A-Lago in Palm Beach is currently under siege, raided and occupied by a large group of FBI agents,” declared Trump in the statement, noting that “nothing like this has ever happened to a US president before.”
The record, according to Eric Trump, the tycoon’s third son, was focused on an investigation by the Department of Justice into the possible mishandling of government secrets, after the former president took several boxes with classified documents to his residence when he left the White House. .
“The purpose of the raid was, from what they said, because the National Archives wanted to verify whether or not Donald Trump had documents in his possession,” the former president’s son told Fox News. “And my dad has worked closely with them for months. In fact, the lawyer who’s been working on this was totally shocked. He says, ‘I have such an amazing relationship with these people and all of a sudden, without warning, they send 20 cars and 30 agents'”.
What do they say from the Government?
The National Archives and Records Administration discovered in January of this year that, at the end of his term, Trump had taken home to the Mar-a-Lago complex 15 boxes from the White House containing government documents, souvenirs, gifts and letters. The boxes included material subject to the Presidential Records Act, which requires that all documents and records related to official business be turned over to the archives.
After Trump returned the boxes to the National Archives, his archivists found documents containing “items marked as classified national security information,” the agency reported to Congress in February.
The House Oversight Committee, which is leading the congressional investigation into the mishandled documents, released a statement from its chair, New York Democratic Rep. Carolyn Maloney, stressing that “presidents have the solemn duty to protect the national security of the United States, and allegations that former President Trump put our security at risk by mishandling classified information warrant the utmost scrutiny.”
Even though the National Archives had recovered the White House records at Mar-a-Lago in recent months, multiple sources indicate the FBI had to verify that nothing had been left behind.
The search began early Monday morning and FBI agents appeared to be focused on the area of the club where Trump’s offices and personal quarters are located, a person familiar with the matter told CNN. However, several White House officials told the same outlet that the search was not notified and that President Joe Biden was not aware of it until it was reported in the news.
Separately, law enforcement sources told ABC News that the FBI’s activities at the Trump compound are authorized by the court. Also, a senior official briefed on the events said the Secret Service was only notified by the FBI shortly before the agents arrived. The Secret Service validated the search warrant and facilitated entry into the residence, in accordance with a court order, according to the official.
The former president was not present while the raid was carried out. He was at Trump Tower in New York, a person familiar with the situation told Politico. Trump was informed of the raid by his son Eric.
USA, a “banana republic”
The FBI search at Mar-a-Lago came as Trump weighs an increasingly likely third White House bid. In a statement, the tycoon denounced the raid as “weaponizing the justice system” and an effort to prevent him from running for president again in 2024.
The actions drew swift condemnation from some Republican governors, who were quick to back Trump’s message that the Justice Department was being used against him. They also criticized the poor performance of the US justice system when it comes to investigating people linked to the current administration, such as Hillary Clinton or Hunter Biden.
South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, a staunch Trump ally, described the record as an “unprecedented political instrumentalization of the Department of Justice” on Twitter. “Using the criminal justice system in this way is un-American,” she wrote.
Ron DeSantis, Governor of Florida, commented in networks that the raid “is another escalation in the use of weapons by federal agencies against political opponents of the regime, while people like Hunter Biden are treated with kid gloves”, and described the US as a “republic banana”.
“Hey FBI, any interest in Hunter Biden’s laptop? Asking about a friend of mine who was raided today,” commented on Twitter Kari Lake, candidate for Governor of Arizona.
Demonstrations in support of Trump
The FBI raid also prompted a couple dozen Trump supporters to gather outside his private Palm Beach residence in support of the former president.
🚨#BREAKING: Trump supporters gather outside Mar-A-Lago protesting the FBI raid📌#PalmBeach | #Florida Right now Multiple trump supporters have started to gather as large crowds grow near Mar-A-Lago Florida after the 45th president Donald trump was raided by FBI this evening pic.twitter.com/WHgWZFjsfr
— RAWSALERTS (@rawsalerts) August 9, 2022