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Trump says his Florida home has been 'raided' by the FBI

The FBI declined to comment on whether the search was happening or what it might be for.

Image: Morry Gash/PA

Updated Aug 9th 2022, 9:09 AM

FORMER US PRESIDENT Donald Trump has said that his Mar-A-Lago residence in Florida was being “raided” by FBI agents in what he called an act of “prosecutorial misconduct.”

The FBI declined to comment on whether the search was happening or what it might be for, nor did Trump give any indication of why federal agents were at his home – a situation that adds to the legal pressure on the ex-president.

Mr Trump and his allies sought to cast the search as a weaponisation of the criminal justice system and a Democratic-driven effort to keep him from winning another term in 2024 — even though the Biden White House said it had no prior knowledge of it.

“These are dark times for our Nation, as my beautiful home, Mar-A-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, is currently under siege, raided, and occupied by a large group of FBI agents,” Trump said in a statement posted on his Truth Social network.

Aerial footage of Mar-a-Lago showed police cars outside the property.

“It is prosecutorial misconduct, the weaponization of the Justice System, and an attack by Radical Left Democrats who desperately don’t want me to run for President in 2024,” said the former president, who was not present during the raid, according to The New York Times.

“Such an assault could only take place in broken, Third-World Countries. Sadly, America has now become one of those Countries,” Trump said, adding: “They even broke into my safe!”

Though a search warrant does not suggest that criminal charges are near or even expected, federal officials looking to obtain one must first demonstrate to a judge that they have probable cause that a crime occurred.

Trump ally and Florida governor Ron DeSantis said on Twitter that the raid was “another escalation in the weaponization of federal agencies” under Joe Biden.

The former president’s son Eric Trump said on Fox News on Monday night that he had spent the day with his father and that the search happened because “the National Archives wanted to corroborate whether or not Donald Trump had any documents in his possession”.

Asked how the documents ended up at Mar-a-Lago, Eric Trump said the boxes were among items that got moved out of the White House during “six hours” on Inauguration Day, as the Bidens prepared to move into the building.

Multiple US media outlets cited sources close to the investigation as saying that agents were conducting a court-authorised search related to the potential mishandling of classified documents that had been sent to Mar-a-Lago.
palmbeachfl-april72017presidentdonaldtrumphosted Trump's Mar-A-Lago estate Source: Shutterstock/FloridaStock
The National Archives said in February that it had recovered 15 boxes of documents from Trump’s Florida estate, which The Washington Post reported included highly classified texts, taken with him when he left Washington following his reelection defeat.

The documents and mementos – which also included correspondence from Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama – should by law have been turned over at the end of Trump’s presidency but instead ended up at his Mar-a-Lago resort.

The recovery of the boxes raised questions about Trump’s adherence to presidential records laws enacted after the 1970s Watergate scandal that require Oval Office occupants to preserve records related to administration activity.

The Archives had requested then that the Justice Department open a probe into Trump’s practices.

‘Accountable’
White House staff also regularly discovered wads of paper clogging toilets, leading them to believe Trump was trying to get rid of certain documents, according to a forthcoming book by New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman.

Since taking his last Air Force One flight from Washington to Florida on 20 January last year, Trump has remained the country’s most polarising figure, continuing his unprecedented campaign to sow falsehoods that he actually won the 2020 election.

For weeks, Washington has been riveted by hearings in Congress about the January 6 storming of the Capitol by a mob of Trump supporters and his attempts to overturn the election.

The US Department of Justice is also investigating the attack.

While Attorney General Merrick Garland has declined to comment on growing speculation that Trump could face criminal charges, he has insisted that “no person is above the law” and that he intends to “hold accountable every person who is criminally responsible for trying to overturn a legitimate election.”

Trump is also being investigated for his efforts to alter the 2020 voting results in the state of Georgia, while his business practices are being probed in New York in separate cases, one civil and the other criminal.

The real estate mogul has not yet officially declared his candidacy for the 2024 presidential election, though he has dropped strong hints over the past few months.

With President Joe Biden’s approval rating currently below 40 percent and Democrats forecast to lose control of Congress in November midterm elections, Trump is apparently bullish that he could ride the Republican wave all the way to the White House in 2024.

© AFP 2022

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