FBI Raid On Donald Trump's Mar-A-Lago Resort: Here's Everything You Need To Know

The FBI and the US Justice Department are yet to publicly comment.
Donald Trump claims the FBI raided his Florida home
Donald Trump claims the FBI raided his Florida home
via Associated Press

Donald Trump has claimed that the FBI raided his Florida home and broke open a safe – but just what does this mean for the former US president?

While the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the US justice department have not commented on Trump’s allegations, the supposed move has caused outrage among his supporters and electrified US politics.

Here’s what you need to know.

What happened?

FBI agents allegedly raided Trump’s home at 10am (local time) on Monday. According to CBS News, it had concluded by late afternoon, and agents removed several boxes.

The raid on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago property in Palm Beach is thought to be connected to an investigation into his handling of official papers during his time in the White House.

In a statement released on Tuesday, Trump claimed: “These are dark times for our nation. Nothing like this has ever happened to a president of the United States before.”

CBS News also reported that the former president was based in the Trump Tower in New York at the time of the FBI’s alleged raid.

Other sources told the news outlet that the Biden administration had no advance knowledge about the raid. The White House has said it is limiting its interactions with top justice department officials so that it stays apart from the incident.

Joe Biden, who beat Trump in the 2020 election, pledged in his campaign that he would stay out of justice departmental affairs.

Why did the FBI reportedly investigate?

Justice department spokeswoman Dena Iverson refused to comment on Trump’s claims, and did not say if the Attorney General Merrick Garland personally authorised it.

However, many believe the raid – which is yet to be confirmed by the FBI either – was related to Trump’s handling of official papers. Sources allege that agents were looking to see if the former president had additional presidential records or any classified documents on the state.

Federal law (Presidential Records Act) states US presidents have to transfer all of their documents – including letters and emails – to the National Archives. There are also statutes that mean it is a crime to remove any such material and leave it in an unauthorised location – such as Mar-A-Lago.

This isn’t the first time Trump’s handling of official documentation has been called into question.

Back in February, the National Archives announced it had retrieved 15 boxes of documents from Mar-a-Lago, including items “marked as classified national security information”. Trump was supposed to have handed these over when his presidency ended.

The National Archives asked the justice department to look into Trump at the time, with officials claiming he had illegally ripped up papers which then had to be taped back together.

A source told CBS that the raid was connected to the presidential records.

Such a raid has to be signed off by a judge, and law enforcement agencies have to prove they have probable evidence of illegality before it is approved.

The raid also comes after journalist Maggie Haberman claimed in her book, Confidence Man, that White House staff would find wads of paper clogging up toilets in the residence. They supposedly believed Trump was putting it down there, but he denies it.

It’s worth noting that the current FBI director Christopher Wray was appointed by Trump in 2017. He was a high-ranking official in the Republican-led Justice department.

What implications does this have for Trump’s future?

The search warrant does not suggest criminal charges are looming, or even expected.

But Trump was widely expected to try for a third presidential run, and the supposed raid comes just as the Republicans are gearing up for the next election.

This is also three months away from a poll which will decide the makeup of the next Congress.

How has Trump – and his supporters – responded?

Trump claimed the raid marked “dark times for our nation”.

He also declared any accusations that he had not acting appropriately with official records as “fake news” and that he had turned over presidential records in an “ordinary and routine process”.

Trump alleged that he has co-operated with all the appropriate government branches too, meaning the “unannounced raid” was neither “necessary or appropriate”.

He believes the raid was “political”, dubbing it “prosecutorial misconduct” and “the weaponisation of the justice system” to stop him from getting back into the White House.

His son, Eric Trump, shared his take on the raid in an interview with Fox News on Monday.

He said documents may have been moved out of the White House during “six hours” on Inauguration Day, as Biden prepared to move in.

“My father always kept press clippings. He had boxes, when he moved out of the White House,” Trump’s son said.

The former president has received back-up from other Republicans too.

Florida senator Marco Rubio tweeted: “Using government power to persecute political opponents is something we have seen many times from 3rd world Marxist dictatorships.”

Florida governor Ron DeSantis (considered a potential Republican candidate for the presidency) tweeted that it was “an escalation in the weaponisation” of US government agencies.

The House minority leader Kevin McCarthy tweeted that the Justice Department “has reached an intolerable state of weaponised politicisation”. He claimed that if Republicans win control of the US House, they will investigate the branch.

Trump’s fanbase have gathered outside the raided property as well, waving flags and expressing their fury.

This is the scene near Mar-A-Lago where some Trump supporters have gathered @nbc6 @NBCNewsNow pic.twitter.com/n9jsnKKO1J

— Cristian Benavides (@cbenavidesTV) August 9, 2022

Is this Trump’s only problem right now?

In short – no.

The former president is also being investigated by a US House of Representatives select committee over his response to the US Capitol riot on January 6 last year. He refused to call off the mob who swarmed the building in protest to the outcome of the democratic vote.

The US justice department is looking into the former president’s initial refusal to accept the 2020 presidential election results, too.

He is also being investigated by a Georgia prosecutor over whether he tried to interfere with the swing state’s results from the 2020 election.

These issues all stem from Trump’s claim that he won the election, and his call for his supporters to “stop the steal” and make sure he got back into the White House for a second term.


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