The FBI raided Trump's club in Mar-a-Lago: they were looking for secret documents that he allegedly took from the White House

On Aug. 8, the FBI issued a search warrant at Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, as part of an investigation into the handling of presidential documents, including classified documents that may have been brought there. CNN.

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Trump confirmed that FBI agents were in Mar-a-Lago and said "they even broke into my safe." He was at Trump Tower in New York when a search warrant was executed in Florida.

“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 August 8 evening.

The extraordinary move to raid Trump's home raises the stakes for the Justice Department as Trump's legal troubles continue on multiple fronts.

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The Justice Department has two known active investigations related to Trump, one about an attempt to cancel the 2020 presidential election and the events of January 6, 2021, and the other is related to the processing of classified documents.

The searches began in the early hours of August 8, and according to a person familiar with the matter, law enforcement officials appeared to be concentrated in the area of ​​the club, where Trump's offices and private quarters are located.

According to another person familiar with the investigation, the FBI search included examining the place where documents were kept and seizing boxes of things. After the National Archives recovered White House papers from Mar-a-Lago in recent months, the FBI had to make sure nothing was left on Aug. 8. Trump's son Eric told Fox host Sean Hannity that "The National Archives wanted to, you know, confirm whether Donald Trump had any documents in his possession."

Christina Bobb, Trump's lawyer, said the FBI seized the documents. “Trump and his legal team have cooperated with FBI and Justice Department officials every step of the way. The FBI did conduct an unannounced raid and confiscated documents,” Bobb said.

There was communication between the FBI and the US Secret Service before the search warrant was executed on Aug. 8, allowing the FBI to gain access to the estate without any complications, according to a person familiar with the matter.

A White House spokesman said he was not notified of the search. President Joe Biden, a senior administration official said, did not know about the Mar-a-Lago raid until it was reported on the news.

Document research

The National Archives, which is tasked with collecting and sorting presidential materials, previously said at least 15 boxes of White House documents, including some classified, were found at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort.

In early June, several investigators made a visit to the property looking for more information about potentially classified material from Trump's time in the White House that was flown to Florida. Four investigators, including Jay Bratt, head of counterintelligence and export control at the Justice Department, met with two of Trump's lawyers, Bobb and Evan Corcoran, according to a source who was present at the meeting.

At the beginning of the meeting, Trump stopped and greeted the investigators outside the cafeteria. After he left without answering any questions, investigators asked the lawyers if they could see where Trump kept the documents. According to the source, the lawyers took the investigators to the basement where the boxes of materials were stored, and the investigators examined the room before leaving.

A second source said Trump came in to say hello and have a little chat but left while the lawyers were talking to investigators. The source said some of the documents shown to investigators were classified as "top secret."

Five days later, on June 8, Trump's lawyers received a letter from investigators asking them to further secure the room where the documents were kept. Subsequently, the assistants added a padlock to the room.

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In April and May, Trump aides in Mar-a-Lago were questioned by the FBI as part of an investigation into the handling of presidential documents, according to a source familiar with the matter.

“The improper seizure of classified documents is a federal crime,” said Eli Honig, a former federal and state attorney.

Republican MPs support Trump

Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel said Democrats are "constantly arming the bureaucracy against Republicans," and a number of Republican lawmakers came to Trump's defense on social media.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a Republican from California, wrote that he had "seen enough."

“I have seen enough. The Justice Department has reached an unbearable state of armed politicization, the Republican leader wrote. “When the Republicans return the House of Representatives, we will exercise direct oversight of this department, follow the facts and leave no stone unturned.”

Republican Senator Rick Scott of Florida said "we need answers now - the FBI needs to explain what they did today and why."

But the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, which is investigating Trump's handling of the documents, called on the Justice Department to "fully investigate" Trump's handling of the information.

"Presidents have a solemn duty to protect America's national security, and allegations that Trump has compromised our security by mishandling classified information require the utmost attention," said Democratic Rep. Carolyn Maloney of New York.

"While details of today's actions in Mar-a-Lago are still surfacing, it is clear that the Department of Justice must fully investigate President Trump's potentially serious mishandling of classified information," she added.

Trump and documents

Trump has been known to tear apart official papers handed to him, forcing officials to glue them together, reports NewYorkTimes. And a forthcoming book by a New York Times reporter says that employees found scraps of torn paper in the toilet and thought he threw them in.

The question of how Trump handled classified material is tricky because, as president, he had the power to declassify any government information. It is unclear if Trump declassified the materials found in the boxes before leaving office. Under federal law, he no longer retains the right to declassify documents after leaving office.

While in office, he invoked declassification powers several times because his administration published materials that helped him politically, especially on issues such as investigating his campaign's ties to Russia.

Near the end of the administration, Trump tore out intriguing photos from the president's daily briefing -- a compilation of often classified information about potential national security threats -- but it's unclear whether he took them to the residence with him. In one of the clearest examples of his handling of classified material, Trump took a highly classified spy satellite image of an Iranian missile launch site in 2019, declassified it, and then posted the photo on Twitter.

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“Trump has declassified entire sets of material in anticipation of leaving government that he believes the American public should have the right to read on their own,” said Kash Patel, a former senior Defense Department official and Trump supporter whom Trump named as one of his spokesmen for the interaction. with the National Archives.

Local television broadcasters showed Trump supporters gathered near Mar-a-Lago, with some of them showing aggression towards journalists.

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