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Trump says Mar-a-Lago staff and lawyers were blocked from watching raid agents

Donald Trump lamented Wednesday that the FBI blocked any of his staff, including lawyers, from the areas where the FBI raid on his Mar-a-Lago home happened on Monday and suggested that agents may have ‘planted’ evidence. 

Those working for the former president who were at his Florida estate during the raid refused to turn off security cameras on the premises despite instructions from federal agents to do so. 

Comes as Trump confirmed on his alternative social media site Tuesday evening that he will be deposed Wednesday in questioning part of the New York attorney general’s civil investigation into his family’s real estate business.

The New York probe is just one of many the former president is facing, including the one that led to the raid on Monday involving the reported removal of official documents from the White House when he left office last year.

‘The FBI and others from the Federal Government would not let anyone, including my lawyers, be anywhere near the areas that were rummaged and otherwise looked at during the raid on Mar-a-Lago,’ Trump posted to his Truth Social page on Wednesday morning.

‘Everyone was asked to leave the premises, they wanted to be left alone, without any witnesses to see what they were doing, taking or, hopefully not, ‘planting,” he continued while placing doubt that the raid was conducted properly.

Trump, 76, questioned: ‘Why did they STRONGLY insist on having nobody watching them, everybody out? Obama and Clinton were never ‘raided,’ despite big disputes!’

Christina Bobb, a Trump lawyer, told Real America’s Voice on Tuesday that the raid was a ‘weird flex’ and repeated Trump’s suspicions that the RBI might have planted something during the search.

‘No, there is no security that something wasn’t planted,’ the 37-year-old lawyer said. ‘I’m not saying that’s what they did.’

‘This was a completely unnecessary power flex. It was a weird flex,’ Bobb added. ‘It’s quite honestly sad to see what they have done to our country.’

Even though Palm Beach reached a sweltering 91 degrees with high humidity on Monday, Trump’s lawyers were left outside near a parking lot and were not allowed inside the air conditioned building where the raid was happening.

Donald Trump said Wednesday morning that his lawyers were prevented from going near the FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago on Monday. The former president is seen on Tuesday evening arriving at Trump Tower, the day after the Mar-a-Lago raid

Donald Trump said Wednesday morning that his lawyers were prevented from going near the FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago on Monday. The former president is seen on Tuesday evening arriving at Trump Tower, the day after the Mar-a-Lago raid

Secret Service agents wait in the basement garage of New York Attorney General Letitia James' office in Manhattan on Wednesday morning awaiting Trump's arrival for a deposition in the case into the Trump family real estate business

Secret Service agents wait in the basement garage of New York Attorney General Letitia James' office in Manhattan on Wednesday morning awaiting Trump's arrival for a deposition in the case into the Trump family real estate business

Secret Service agents wait in the basement garage of New York Attorney General Letitia James’ office in Manhattan on Wednesday morning awaiting Trump’s arrival for a deposition in the case into the Trump family real estate business

Trump also cast doubt in his Wednesday Truth Social post that the FBI 'planted' evidence during the search of his residence in Florida on Monday

Trump also cast doubt in his Wednesday Truth Social post that the FBI 'planted' evidence during the search of his residence in Florida on Monday

Trump also cast doubt in his Wednesday Truth Social post that the FBI ‘planted’ evidence during the search of his residence in Florida on Monday 

NYPD vehicles are parked outside the New York Attorney General's office Wednesday as the offices prepares for Trump to be deposed there

NYPD vehicles are parked outside the New York Attorney General's office Wednesday as the offices prepares for Trump to be deposed there

NYPD vehicles are parked outside the New York Attorney General’s office Wednesday as the offices prepares for Trump to be deposed there

The former president was spotted arriving back at his Manhattan residence in Trump Tower on Tuesday night.

The raid on his Florida home the previous day saw investigators ransack his office for several hours – and even included a search through former first lady Melania Trump’s wardrobe. 

Trump continued to vent his fury on Tuesday at the raid – which is believed to have been carried out to retrieve documents the former president took from the White House when he left.

By law, all presidential correspondence and documentation must be handed over to the National Archives, and since February it has been clear that Trump did not comply. Some documents were returned to the National Archives at the beginning of this year, but apparently not all.

FBI agents were inside the 128-room Florida estate for nine hours on Monday, with 30 agents roaming through the entire 3,000-square-foot private quarters.

The investigators searched the master bedroom, known as the Versailles Room, which Melania Trump renovated two years ago. 

Their rummaging through Melania’s wardrobe was not explained by the paper. 

Trump was also in Manhattan on Monday, when the raid was carried out

Trump was also in Manhattan on Monday, when the raid was carried out

Trump was also in Manhattan on Monday, when the raid was carried out

The 76-year-old waved to the waiting press as he arrived back at Trump Tower

The 76-year-old waved to the waiting press as he arrived back at Trump Tower

The 76-year-old waved to the waiting press as he arrived back at Trump Tower

Trump reacted with fury to Monday's raid, calling it an abuse of power and FBI over-reach

Trump reacted with fury to Monday's raid, calling it an abuse of power and FBI over-reach

Trump reacted with fury to Monday’s raid, calling it an abuse of power and FBI over-reach

Armed Secret Service agents stand outside an entrance to former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate, late Monday, Aug. 8, 2022, in Palm Beach, Fla. Trump said in a lengthy statement that the FBI was conducting a search of his Mar-a-Lago estate and asserted that agents had broken open a safe

Armed Secret Service agents stand outside an entrance to former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate, late Monday, Aug. 8, 2022, in Palm Beach, Fla. Trump said in a lengthy statement that the FBI was conducting a search of his Mar-a-Lago estate and asserted that agents had broken open a safe

Armed Secret Service agents stand outside an entrance to former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, late Monday, Aug. 8, 2022, in Palm Beach, Fla. Trump said in a lengthy statement that the FBI was conducting a search of his Mar-a-Lago estate and asserted that agents had broken open a safe

The agents also searched a separate office and safe, and a locked basement storage room in which 15 cardboard boxes of material from the White House were stored, the paper said.

The Justice Department has not commented on the raid, which analysts said would have needed to be approved at the highest level. 

Sources told the Post that Trump’s attorneys, led by Evan Corcoran, were ‘cooperating fully’ with federal authorities to arrange the return of the documents, with the process beginning in May 2021 when it was noticed that some records were missing.

In January 2022, some of the documents were returned, and in February this year the news became public. 

In early June, four top DOJ officials traveled to Mar-a-Lago to speak with the former president’s attorneys about the documents.

The DOJ’s counterintelligence and export control section chief Jay Bratt was reportedly among the group who sat down with Trump’s lawyers.

Trump’s team showed the government officials where Trump was storing documents – in a basement room. Investigators reportedly observed that some of the files there were marked as classified.

At one point the former president himself reportedly stopped in to say hello and ‘make small talk’ before leaving again, CNN reported.

Melania Trump was most recently seen on July 20, at the Manhattan funeral of Donald's first wife Ivana

Melania Trump was most recently seen on July 20, at the Manhattan funeral of Donald's first wife Ivana

Melania Trump was most recently seen on July 20, at the Manhattan funeral of Donald’s first wife Ivana

The above timeline highlights just some of former president Donald Trump's battles with the National Archives since leaving office, including an unrelated court fight with the January 6 committee

The above timeline highlights just some of former president Donald Trump's battles with the National Archives since leaving office, including an unrelated court fight with the January 6 committee

The above timeline highlights just some of former president Donald Trump’s battles with the National Archives since leaving office, including an unrelated court fight with the January 6 committee

Retired FBI Special Agent Michael Tabman told DailyMail.com it's likely an 'informant' revealed information to the FBI that led to the raid of Trump's home on Monday

Retired FBI Special Agent Michael Tabman told DailyMail.com it's likely an 'informant' revealed information to the FBI that led to the raid of Trump's home on Monday

Retired FBI Special Agent Michael Tabman told DailyMail.com it’s likely an ‘informant’ revealed information to the FBI that led to the raid of Trump’s home on Monday

Days after the investigators’ visit, they reportedly sent a letter to Trump’s staff asking them to secure the room where they observed the documents being stored.

Aides then padlocked the area, according to CNN.

It is unclear what transpired between June and this week to make the FBI decide to forcibly claim the documents. 

But a former FBI agent told DailyMail.com that Monday’s raid was likely sparked by new information from an ‘informant’ and a breakdown in cooperation between the agency and former president.  

Retired FBI Special Agent in Charge Michael Tabman, who served the agency for 24 years, said a raid of this level of sensitivity would need to be approved by Attorney General Merrick Garland.

‘I think somebody gave them information indicating that these documents are there,’ Tabman said, adding two hypothetical ‘insider’ revelations: ‘You have not been told the truth about their existence. You’re not getting them unless you come get them.’

‘I think there was inside information – call it an informant if you want,’ he told DailyMail.com. ‘I believe either someone told them something or some other information was stumbled upon, which was kind of conclusive in their minds that they had to go now to get that or they’re not getting it.’

Tabman claimed while there was cooperation between Trump and the FBI at one point, the agency may have gotten a sense that the former president and his team were ‘telling you what they want to tell you with limited information.’

FBI agents with a search warrant raided Trump's Mar-a-Lago retreat in Palm Beach, Florida on Monday morning

FBI agents with a search warrant raided Trump's Mar-a-Lago retreat in Palm Beach, Florida on Monday morning

FBI agents with a search warrant raided Trump’s Mar-a-Lago retreat in Palm Beach, Florida on Monday morning

Anti-media and pro-Trump protesters stands across the waterfront from Mar A Lago on Monday night

Anti-media and pro-Trump protesters stands across the waterfront from Mar A Lago on Monday night

Anti-media and pro-Trump protesters stands across the waterfront from Mar A Lago on Monday night

Trump supporters gathered in front of Mar-a-Lago on Monday night

Trump supporters gathered in front of Mar-a-Lago on Monday night

Trump supporters gathered in front of Mar-a-Lago on Monday night

‘Biden KNEW… just like he knew all about Hunter’s ‘deals”: Trump claims president was aware of Mar-a-Lago raid and calls it a coordinated attack by ‘Radical Left Democrat AGs’ – as pressure piles on DOJ to react 

Former President Donald Trump on Tuesday claimed President Joe Biden knew about the FBI’s raid of Mar-a-Lago in advance, something the White House has denied. 

‘Biden knew all about this, just like he knew all about Hunter’s ‘deals,” the ex-president posted to his Truth Social website. 

Hunter Biden’s foreign business dealings have attracted contoversy, though the president has denied being involved in them.  

Trump also pushed that the Mar-a-Lago raid was a continuation of politically motivated investigations against him. 

‘A horrible thing that took place yesterday at Mar-a-Lago,’ he wrote. ‘We are no better than a third world country, a banana republic.’

‘It is a continuation of Russia, Russia, Russia, Impeachment Hoax #1, Impeachment Hoax # 2, the no collusion Mueller Report, and more,’ he continued. 

‘To make matters worse it is all, in my opinion, a coordinated attack with Radical Left Democrat state & local D.A.’s & A.G.’s,’ the former president added. 

On Monday, Trump confirmed that FBI agents had raided Mar-a-Lago, after media reports said agents were spotted leaving the ex-president’s Florida home and private club. 

It marks the first time in U.S. history the home of a former president has been raided. 

A number of public officials have called for an explanation. 

‘The country deserves a thorough and immediate explanation of what led to the events of Monday,’ said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell Tuesday night. ‘Attorney General Garland and the Department of Justice should already have provided answers to the American people and must do so immediately.’ 

Former President Donald Trump on Tuesday claimed President Joe Biden knew about the FBI 's raid of Mar-a-Lago in advance, something the White House has denied

Former President Donald Trump on Tuesday claimed President Joe Biden knew about the FBI 's raid of Mar-a-Lago in advance, something the White House has denied

Former President Donald Trump on Tuesday claimed President Joe Biden knew about the FBI ‘s raid of Mar-a-Lago in advance, something the White House has denied 

'Biden knew all about this, just like he knew all about Hunter's "deals,"' the ex-president posted to his Truth Social website

'Biden knew all about this, just like he knew all about Hunter's "deals,"' the ex-president posted to his Truth Social website

‘Biden knew all about this, just like he knew all about Hunter’s ‘deals,” the ex-president posted to his Truth Social website

Hunter Biden (left) and President Joe Biden (right) pose for a photo in 2016. Trump claimed that the president knew about the FBI's raid of Mar-a-Lago in advance, just like he knew about Hunter's "deals." Hunter Biden's foreign business deals have attracted controversy

Hunter Biden (left) and President Joe Biden (right) pose for a photo in 2016. Trump claimed that the president knew about the FBI's raid of Mar-a-Lago in advance, just like he knew about Hunter's "deals." Hunter Biden's foreign business deals have attracted controversy

Hunter Biden (left) and President Joe Biden (right) pose for a photo in 2016. Trump claimed that the president knew about the FBI’s raid of Mar-a-Lago in advance, just like he knew about Hunter’s ‘deals.’ Hunter Biden’s foreign business deals have attracted controversy 

McConnell, who had a falling out with Trump over the ex-president’s false election fraud claims, had previously not commented on the raid. McConnell waited until just over 24 hours to respond.  

Trump confirmed the raid in a statement Monday evening, saying the move represented ‘dark times for our Nation,’ pushing that the Biden administration was going after him as a political target. 

Trump is mulling a 2024 presidential run. 

A number of media outlets reported that the raid stemmed from an investigation into Trump removing classified documents from the White House and not the Department of Justice’s current probe into January 6, which is also partially focused on Trump.

The House select committee on January 6 is also investigating the January 6 Capitol attack and Trump’s action surrounding it. 

The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday night that the FBI hauled away 10 boxes of documents during the raid, after the National Archives retrieved more than a dozen boxes of documents from the Florida resort earlier this year. 

Additionally, the ex-president is facing potential legal problems in Georgia and New York. 

In Georgia, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis is investigating the scheme to run over the state’s 2020 presidential election result. 

And in New York, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg is looking into whether Trump’s companies misrepresented the value of properties for loan and tax purposes. 

Eric Trump departs Trump Tower the day after his father, former President Donald Trump, said FBI agents raided his Mar-a-Lago home. Several news outlets reported that the raid had to do with the removal of classified material from the White House

Eric Trump departs Trump Tower the day after his father, former President Donald Trump, said FBI agents raided his Mar-a-Lago home. Several news outlets reported that the raid had to do with the removal of classified material from the White House

Eric Trump departs Trump Tower the day after his father, former President Donald Trump, said FBI agents raided his Mar-a-Lago home. Several news outlets reported that the raid had to do with the removal of classified material from the White House 

Additionally in New York, Letitia James, the New York state attorney general, is conducting a civil investigation into whether Trump’s company inflated real estate values. 

In a campaign-style video Tuesday morning, Trump insisted that ‘we are a nation that has weaponized its law enforcement against the opposing political party, like never before.’

‘What took place yesterday, and long before, was an unprecedented infringement of the rights of every American citizen,’ he said in a third Truth Social post Tuesday night. 

‘Scam after Scam, year after year, it is all the Radical Left Democrats really know, it is their lifeblood – they have no shame. Our Country is paying a very big price!!!’ he added. 

The White House, however, has insisted its hands are clean. 

During Tuesday’s press briefing, press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Biden ‘was not briefed’ ahead of the Monday raid. 

The president, she said, ‘was not aware of it.’

‘No one at the White House was given a heads up,’ Jean-Pierre said.  

A number of Trump allies have called on Attorney General Merrick Garland to speak publicly about the raid.

So far he hasn’t commented. 

The Justice Department also wouldn’t comment when asked if Garland personally authorized the search. 

 

FBI protocol, according to Tabman, is to move forward with seizing information once they feel that ‘voluntarily’ obtaining it is no longer viable.

‘You know, everything could disappear,’ Tabman said. ‘You got evidence that you need to get before it disappears or it moves and you can’t see it anymore.’

In order to obtain the warrant for a raid, the FBI would need to prove probable cause and conduct the search in a timely manner. Agents can’t just ‘poke around’ someone’s home in a case like this, Tabman said.

He also claimed the FBI could have gotten the sense that Trump was just no longer being ‘fully cooperative’ with the investigation – leading them to see the raid approval.

Tabman said that while it doesn’t appear any protocols were broken in conducting the raid, it’s still an ‘unprecedented’ move in the sense that the FBI has never raided a former president’s home before.

‘I can’t think of this having happened to a former president,’ Tabman noted.

‘I don’t see any protocols that were broken in any way,’ the retired FBI special agent added. ‘They must have obviously had probable cause.’

The ex-president was at Trump Tower in New York City when the FBI raided his Florida estate. His son Eric Trump told Fox News he informed his father of the raid.

Trump and his allies quickly sought to cast the search as a weaponization of the criminal justice system and a Democratic-driven effort to keep him from winning another term in 2024 – though the Biden White House said it had no prior knowledge and current FBI Director Christopher Wray was appointed by Trump five years ago.

Trump, disclosing the search in a lengthy statement late Monday, asserted that agents had opened a safe at his home, and he described their work as an ‘unannounced raid’ that he likened to ‘prosecutorial misconduct.’

‘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 through his Save America PAC,’ he said.

‘I stood up to America’s bureaucratic corruption, I restored power to the people, and truly delivered for our Country, like we have never seen before. 

‘The establishment hated it. 

‘Now, as they watch my endorsed candidates win big victories, and see my dominance in all polls, they are trying to stop me, and the Republican Party, once more. 

‘The lawlessness, political persecution, and Witch Hunt must be exposed and stopped.’

Justice Department spokesperson Dena Iverson declined to comment on the search, including whether Garland had personally authorized it. 

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the West Wing first learned of the search from public media reports and the White House had not been briefed in the run-up or aftermath.

‘The Justice Department conducts investigations independently and we leave any law enforcement matters to them,’ she said. ‘We are not involved.’

About two dozen Trump supporters stood in protest at midmorning Tuesday in the Florida summer heat and sporadic light rain on a bridge near the former president’s residence. One held a sign reading ‘Democrats are Fascists’ while others carried flags saying ‘2020 Was Rigged,’ ‘Trump 2024’ and Biden’s name with an obscenity. Some cars honked in support as they passed.

Trump’s Vice President Mike Pence, a potential 2024 rival, said Tuesday that he was concerned about the FBI’s raid – despite their 20-month estrangement.

‘I share the deep concern of millions of Americans over the unprecedented search of the personal residence of President Trump,’ Pence tweeted Tuesday afternoon. ‘No former President of the United States has ever been subject to a raid of their personal residence in American history.’

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell echoed Pence, saying: ‘Attorney General Garland and the Department of Justice should already have provided answers to the American people and must do so immediately.’

‘The FBI director was appointed by Donald Trump,’ said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., when asked about GOP allegations that the raid showed the politicization of the Justice Department. She added, ‘Facts and truth, facts and law, that’s what it’s about.’

Trump was meeting late Tuesday at his Bedminster, New Jersey, club with members of the Republican Study Committee, a group headed by Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana that says it is committed to putting forth his priorities in Congress.

The FBI reached out to the Secret Service shortly before serving a warrant, a third person familiar with the matter told The Associated Press. Secret Service agents contacted the Justice Department and were able to validate the warrant before facilitating access to the estate, the person said.

The Justice Department has been investigating the potential mishandling of classified information since the National Archives and Records Administration said it had received from Mar-a-Lago 15 boxes of White House records, including documents containing classified information, earlier this year. The National Archives said Trump should have turned over that material upon leaving office, and it asked the Justice Department to investigate.

Bobb said in her interview with Real America’s Voice on Tuesday that investigators said they were ‘looking for classified information that they think should not have been removed from the White House, as well as presidential records.’ 

There are multiple federal laws governing the handling of classified records and sensitive government documents, including statutes that make it a crime to remove such material and retain it at an unauthorized location. Though a search warrant does not necessarily mean 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.

Two people familiar with the matter, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation, said the search Monday was related to the records probe. Agents were also looking to see if Trump had additional presidential records or any classified documents at the estate.

Trump has previously maintained that presidential records were turned over ‘in an ordinary and routine process.’ His son Eric 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.’

Trump himself, in a social media post Monday night, called the search a ‘weaponization of the Justice System, and an attack by Radical Left Democrats who desperately don’t want me to run for President in 2024.’

Trump took a different stance during the 2016 presidential campaign, frequently pointing to an FBI investigation into his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, over whether she mishandled classified information via a private email server she used as secretary of state. Then-FBI Director James Comey concluded that Clinton had sent and received classified information, but the FBI did not recommend criminal charges.

Trump lambasted that decision and then stepped up his criticism of the FBI as agents began investigating whether his campaign had colluded with Russia to tip the 2016 election. He fired Comey during that probe, and though he appointed Wray months later, he repeatedly criticized him, too, as president.

The probe is hardly the only legal headache confronting Trump. A separate investigation related to efforts by him and his allies to undo the results of the 2020 presidential election – which led to the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol – has also been intensifying in Washington. Several former White House officials have received grand jury subpoenas.

And a district attorney in Fulton County, Georgia, is investigating whether Trump and his close associates sought to interfere in that state’s election, which was won by Democrat Joe Biden.

Mar-A-Linger: Day two of protests outside Trump’s Florida residence draws raucous crowd of flag-waving, MAGA-supporting protestors as ex-president touts latest GOP win from Trump Tower

Trump fanatics of all colors and creeds descended on Mar-a-Lago for a second night to send a defiant message to his political enemies: ‘You’ll never take down 45’.

The former president’s backers included a raucous coalition of Proud Boys, Cuban exiles and African Americans sporting Blacks For Trump T-shirts.

Supporters honked horns, belted out rock anthems and waved flags and banners as they gathered at Trump’s Florida residence one day after it was dramatically raided by Feds.

Law enforcement kept the crowds from gathering directly outside the swank private club in Palm Beach where Trump lives part-time from fall to spring.

But a hundred or so die-hards – with MAGA hats, US flags and Trump 2024 shirts – lined the nearby causeway instead to show their contempt for the FBI probe into allegations Trump took a stash of classified documents with him when he left office.

Trump, disclosing the search in a lengthy statement, claimed that agents had opened up a safe at his home and described their work as an ‘unannounced raid’ that he called ‘prosecutorial misconduct.’

He accused the FBI of a double standard, claiming the bureau ‘allowed’ Hillary Clinton to ‘acid wash’ 33,000 emails from her time as secretary of state. 

For the second consecutive day, irate Donald Trump supporters descended on his Mar-a-Lago home to protest the FBI raided as part of an investigation into whether he took classified records from the White House to the Florida residence

For the second consecutive day, irate Donald Trump supporters descended on his Mar-a-Lago home to protest the FBI raided as part of an investigation into whether he took classified records from the White House to the Florida residence

For the second consecutive day, irate Donald Trump supporters descended on his Mar-a-Lago home to protest the FBI raided as part of an investigation into whether he took classified records from the White House to the Florida residence

DailyMail.com cameras saw tons of pro-Trump signs, along with a smattering of anti-Trump protesters near the gated estate on Tuesday after many came just hours after the ex-president himself announced the investigation.

DailyMail.com cameras saw tons of pro-Trump signs, along with a smattering of anti-Trump protesters near the gated estate on Tuesday after many came just hours after the ex-president himself announced the investigation.

DailyMail.com cameras saw tons of pro-Trump signs, along with a smattering of anti-Trump protesters near the gated estate on Tuesday after many came just hours after the ex-president himself announced the investigation.

Signs became more and more creative, with one even depicting the former president as John Rambo

Signs became more and more creative, with one even depicting the former president as John Rambo

Signs became more and more creative, with one even depicting the former president as John Rambo

Trump says he WILL meet Letitia James today to be grilled under oath over his business practices: Lashes out at ‘racist’ NY AG and slams probe as ‘greatest witch hunt in U.S. history’

Former President Donald Trump will be questioned under oath today in the New York attorney general’s long-running civil investigation into his dealings as a real estate mogul, he confirmed in a post on his Truth Social account. 

The New York civil investigation, led by Attorney General Letitia James, involves allegations that Trump’s company, the Trump Organization, misstated the value of prized assets like golf courses and skyscrapers, misleading lenders and tax authorities.

Trump lashed out at James, saying she was ‘racist’ and the probe is the ‘greatest witch hunt in U.S. history. 

‘In New York City tonight. Seeing racist N.Y.S. Attorney General tomorrow, for a continuation of the greatest Witch Hunt in U.S. history!’ Trump wrote on Truth Social on Tuesday night, invoking his oft-repeated claims about James, who is Black, and the investigation. 

‘My great company, and myself, are being attacked from all sides,’ Trump added. ‘Banana Republic!’ 

Trump’s testimony is happening at a critical point in James’ investigation, midway through a pivotal week in his post-presidency.

In May, James’ office said that it was nearing the end of its probe and that investigators had amassed substantial evidence that could support legal action, such as a lawsuit, against Trump, his company or both.

The Republican billionaire’s deposition – a legal term for sworn testimony that’s not given in court – is one of the few remaining missing pieces, the attorney general´s office said.

Two of Trump’s adult children, Donald Jr. and Ivanka, testified in the investigation in recent days, two people familiar with the matter said. The people were not authorized to speak publicly and did so on condition of anonymity.

Messages seeking comment were left with James’ office and with Trump’s lawyer. 

The Trumps’ testimony had initially been planned for last month but was delayed after the July 14 death of the former president´s ex-wife, Ivana Trump, the mother of Ivanka, Donald Jr. and another son, Eric Trump, who sat for a deposition in James´ investigation in 2020.

On Friday, the Trump Organization and its longtime finance chief, Allen Weisselberg, will be in court seeking dismissal of tax fraud charges brought against them last year in the Manhattan district attorney´s parallel criminal probe.

James, a Democrat, has said in court filings that her office has uncovered ‘significant’ evidence that Trump’s company ‘used fraudulent or misleading asset valuations to obtain a host of economic benefits, including loans, insurance coverage, and tax deductions.’

James alleges the Trump Organization exaggerated the value of its holdings to impress lenders or misstated what land was worth to slash its tax burden, pointing to annual financial statements given to banks to secure favorable loan terms and to financial magazines to justify Trump’s place among the world´s billionaires.

The company even exaggerated the size of Trump’s Manhattan penthouse, saying it was nearly three times its actual size – a difference in value of about $200 million, James’ office said.

Trump has denied the allegations, explaining that seeking the best valuations is a common practice in the real estate industry. He says James´ investigation is part of a politically motivated ‘witch hunt’ and that her office is ‘doing everything within their corrupt discretion to interfere with my business relationships, and with the political process.’

‘THERE IS NO CASE!’ Trump said in a February statement, after Manhattan Judge Arthur Engoron ruled that James´ office had ‘the clear right’ to question Trump and other principals in his company.

While James has explored suing Trump or his company, the Manhattan district attorney´s office has long pursued a parallel criminal investigation.

That probe had appeared to be progressing toward a possible criminal indictment, but slowed after a new district attorney, Alvin Bragg, took office in January.

A grand jury that had been hearing evidence disbanded. The top prosecutor who had been handling the probe resigned after Bragg raised questions internally about the viability of the case.

Bragg has said his investigation is continuing, which means that Trump could invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and decline to answer questions from James´ investigators.

According to the subpoena issued by James´ office, Trump was to appear in person at the attorney general´s office, located in a Manhattan office tower that has doubled as the fictional conglomerate Waystar Royco´s headquarters on HBO´s ‘Succession.’

As vociferous as Trump has been in defending himself in written statements and on the rally stage, legal experts say the same strategy could backfire in a deposition setting because anything he says could potentially be used against him or his company in the criminal investigation. No former president has even been charged with a crime.

In fighting to block the subpoenas, lawyers for the Trumps argued New York authorities were using the civil investigation to get information for the criminal probe and that the depositions were a ploy to avoid calling them before a criminal grand jury, where state law requires they be given immunity.

‘It’s a bunch of bull***t. They are looking for anything they can find to stop him from running in 2024,’ said Tank, a member of the Broward County Proud Boys chapter who declined to give his full name.

He told DailyMail.com around 20 Proud Boys were headed to Mar-a-Lago to peacefully support the President.

‘We have thinned out the bad actors, we don’t condone violent behavior,’ he insisted, swigging from a bottle of Stella Artois beer and making the controversial OK symbol with his fingers that some say is a white supremacist gesture.

‘We are just here to support the future President,’ he added. ‘Trump will surprise a lot of people in 2024. There are going to be a lot of sad Democrats.’

His sentiments were echoed by Maurice Symonette, 63, a promoter and salesman who pulled into Palm Beach in a Rolls-Royce to protest with Blacks for Trump.

‘Before he ran, Trump had the support of rappers, athletes and boxers, you can’t call this guy a racist.

‘It’s Joe Biden who once said n***r in Congress,’ he said, referring to Biden’s 1985 use of the N-word when quoting someone else.

‘This investigation is another feeble attempt to take Trump down. But they can’t take down 45. The deplorables are taking over.’

Wheelchair-bound Ray Bulman, a retired firefighter, said he had left his home in Margate, Florida just a handful of times in the past five years prior to making the hour-long trip to Mar-a-Lago.

‘I have diabetes, PTSD, I rarely get out of the house. But I had to be here, someone has to stand up for this country,’ Ray, 70, told DailyMail.com.

‘They are after Trump because he likes to drain the swamp. He has thousands of lawyers but it’s hard to beat the government and the lying media.’

DailyMail.com revealed earlier Tuesday that police were on high alert in case Trump backers brought guns to their protest.

But the mood was jubilant and more akin to a tailgate party until police lost patience and started to tow cars for illegally parking along Southern Boulevard which links West Palm Beach to exclusive Palm Beach island.

Accountant Joe Culhane came wielding a baseball bat for a flagpole and wearing a T-shirt declaring his support for 2nd Amendment rights.

He decided against bringing a firearm because he didn’t want to make life difficult for the cops, he told DailyMail.com.

‘It’s difficult for them to know who the good guys are. I could be Antifa for all they know,’ said 61-year-old Joe, of Lake Worth, Florida.

‘He’s got the Louisville Slugger if anyone comes at us,’ joked his wife Dianna, 61, clutching a flag with Trump’s head superimposed on Rambo’s body.

‘I was so shook up when I heard about the raid that I could not stop crying,’ she added.

‘I was standing next to a woman who escaped from China and she said this is the blueprint for what happened there. It’s communism.’

Cuban exile Flordelis Grotesan, 52, knew first hand what it was like living under the Castro regime.

She made her feelings plain with a T-shirt that declared ‘TRUMP 20/NOW’ and ‘anti communist’.

‘I know what’s going on because I was born a slave in cuba, the Democratic Party is like a filtered version of the communist party there,’ she told DailyMail.com through a translator.

Her ‘F*** BIDEN’ baseball hat needed no translation, however.

‘Trump has done nothing wrong,’ Floredis added. ‘They are just looking for excuses to attack him’.

The former president spent much of the day posting to his TRUTH social media platform, both complaining about his treatment by the feds and celebrating primary victories for candidates he endorsed. 

Trump wrote earlier Tuesday evening: ‘We are no better than a third world country, a banana republic’ echoing the words of many conservatives, including Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. 

He also celebrated the primary victory for Joe Kent over pro-impeachment Washington State Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler: ‘Joe Kent just won an incredible race against all odds in Washington State. Importantly, he knocked out yet another impeacher, Jaime Herrera Beutler, who so stupidly played right into the hands of the Democrats’. 

The raid on Trump’s home intensifies the months-long probe into how classified documents ended up in more than a dozen boxes located at Mar-a-Lago earlier this year. 

It occurs amid a separate grand jury investigation into efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election and adds to the potential legal peril for Trump as he lays the groundwork for another run.

Familiar battle lines, forged during a four-year presidency shadowed by FBI and congressional investigations, quickly took shape again in the wake of Monday night. 

Trump and his allies sought to cast the search as a weaponization 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, and the current FBI director, Christopher Wray, was appointed by Trump five years ago and served as a high-ranking official in a Republican-led Justice Department.

The defense serves as a fresh reminder of the former president’s enduring grip on the GOP, as speculation remains as to whether he will run again in 2024. 

‘The sooner he kicks off his campaign, the better,’ Indiana GOP Rep. Jim Banks, the chair of the Republican Study Committee, said in an interview.

Donald Trump arrives at Trump Tower the day after FBI agents raided his Mar-a-Lago Palm Beach home, in New York City

Donald Trump arrives at Trump Tower the day after FBI agents raided his Mar-a-Lago Palm Beach home, in New York City

Donald Trump arrives at Trump Tower the day after FBI agents raided his Mar-a-Lago Palm Beach home, in New York City

Trump accused the FBI of a double standard, claiming the bureau 'allowed' Hillary Clinton to 'acid wash' 33,000 emails from her time as secretary of state

Trump accused the FBI of a double standard, claiming the bureau 'allowed' Hillary Clinton to 'acid wash' 33,000 emails from her time as secretary of state

Trump accused the FBI of a double standard, claiming the bureau ‘allowed’ Hillary Clinton to ‘acid wash’ 33,000 emails from her time as secretary of state

Those who support Trump said the raid was a clear attempt to thwart a potential 2024 presidential run

Those who support Trump said the raid was a clear attempt to thwart a potential 2024 presidential run

Those who support Trump said the raid was a clear attempt to thwart a potential 2024 presidential run

Tuesday, supporters brought more and more pro-Trump signs and were in general more organized and passionate, with groups like the far right Proud Boys and Blacks for Trump professing their support outside Mar-a-Lago

Tuesday, supporters brought more and more pro-Trump signs and were in general more organized and passionate, with groups like the far right Proud Boys and Blacks for Trump professing their support outside Mar-a-Lago

Tuesday, supporters brought more and more pro-Trump signs and were in general more organized and passionate, with groups like the far right Proud Boys and Blacks for Trump professing their support outside Mar-a-Lago

Pro former U.S. President Donald Trump decals sit on a supporter's car during a gathering outside his Mar-a-Lago home

Pro former U.S. President Donald Trump decals sit on a supporter's car during a gathering outside his Mar-a-Lago home

Pro former U.S. President Donald Trump decals sit on a supporter’s car during a gathering outside his Mar-a-Lago home

Supporters of former U.S. President Donald Trump wave flags as they gather outside his Mar-a-Lago home

Supporters of former U.S. President Donald Trump wave flags as they gather outside his Mar-a-Lago home

Supporters of former U.S. President Donald Trump wave flags as they gather outside his Mar-a-Lago home

Supporters of former President Donald Trump walk down Southern Boulevard, Tuesday outside the estate

Supporters of former President Donald Trump walk down Southern Boulevard, Tuesday outside the estate

Supporters of former President Donald Trump walk down Southern Boulevard, Tuesday outside the estate

Wheelchair-bound Ray Bulman, a retired firefighter, said he had left his home in Margate, Florida just a handful of times in the past five years prior to making the hour-long trip to Mar-a-Lago

Wheelchair-bound Ray Bulman, a retired firefighter, said he had left his home in Margate, Florida just a handful of times in the past five years prior to making the hour-long trip to Mar-a-Lago

Wheelchair-bound Ray Bulman, a retired firefighter, said he had left his home in Margate, Florida just a handful of times in the past five years prior to making the hour-long trip to Mar-a-Lago 

Maurice Symonette, 63, a promoter and salesman, pulled into Palm Beach in a Rolls-Royce to protest with Blacks for Trump

Maurice Symonette, 63, a promoter and salesman, pulled into Palm Beach in a Rolls-Royce to protest with Blacks for Trump

Maurice Symonette, 63, a promoter and salesman, pulled into Palm Beach in a Rolls-Royce to protest with Blacks for Trump 

Tank, a member of the far-right Proud Boys and other protesters stands behind the Mar-a-Lago estate

Tank, a member of the far-right Proud Boys and other protesters stands behind the Mar-a-Lago estate

Tank, a member of the far-right Proud Boys and other protesters stands behind the Mar-a-Lago estate

1660143707 893 Trump says Mar a Lago staff and lawyers were blocked from watching

1660143707 893 Trump says Mar a Lago staff and lawyers were blocked from watching

1660143708 670 Trump says Mar a Lago staff and lawyers were blocked from watching

1660143708 670 Trump says Mar a Lago staff and lawyers were blocked from watching

EXCLUSIVE: Trump could be BANNED from holding public office if he is found guilty of mishandling classified White House records – and the legal saga will be a ‘huge’ development for his 2024 hopes, legal experts warn 

Former President Donald Trump could be banned from holding public office if he is found guilty of mishandling White House records.

Federal law prohibits someone convicted of mishandling documents from holding any office in the US, legal experts have warned could be a ‘huge’ development for Trump’s hopes to run for president in 2024.

‘If Trump is convicted under this federal statute, he would be prohibited from holding any office including the office of the president,’ former federal prosecutor Neama Rahmani told DailyMail.com. ‘That would be huge.’

Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida was raided by the FBI Monday, reportedly as part of an investigation into whether he took classified documents with him when he left presidential office.

Trump, in his dramatic announcement of the raid, did not specifically say what the federal agents were looking for, just that his home was ‘under siege, raided, and occupied by a large group of FBI agents.’

Trump could be facing ‘significant criminal exposure’ if the FBI raid determines he destroyed government records, Rahmani, who is president of West Coast Trial Lawyers, told DailyMail.com Monday night.

He said Trump would likely be charged under US Code Title 18, Section 2071 which involves concealment or destruction of US government documents.

The code states that anyone who ‘willfully and unlawfully conceals, removes, mutilates, obliterates, or destroys, or attempts to do so, or, with intent to do so takes and carries away any record’ could be fined and sentenced to a maximum of three years in prison. 

The provision also states that anyone convicted of records concealment or destruction ‘shall forfeit his office and be disqualified from holding any office under the United States.’

‘His lawyers told him about the law requiring that he preserve White House documents, so he was on notice and that will bolster the case and help prove intent if prosecutors charge Trump.’ 

Trump took 15 boxes of material with him in January 2021 after he left office.

The boxes were returned to the National Archives a year later, in January 2022, but agents on Monday were reportedly looking to see if Trump had additional presidential records or any classified documents at his South Florida estate. 

‘FBI agents, in an investigation like this, are not always going to find every missing document or even discover every instance where a paper went missing,’ Rahmani warned. ‘It’s not hard to destroy documents and in some cases investigators will never find any evidence that a document even existed.’

He added: ‘In other instances, investigators can figure out something is missing, if for example they have testimony from a government official who says he was tasked with writing up a transcript and he did that, but the document can’t be found anywhere. Then you know someone destroyed it. But figuring out who did that can be another mystery.’

Rahmani noted the raid of Trump’s home was likely carried out only by agents involved in searching for documents that should have been in the National Archives.

He said the agents investigating the January 6, 2021 insurrection at the US Capitol ‘may have nothing to do with this operation.’

‘But if evidence comes out from the raid that sheds light on Trump’s involvement in the Capitol Riot, then that will absolutely become part of the Jan. 6 investigation,’ the legal expert added.

 

 

Banks was among about a dozen Republican lawmakers who spent several hours Tuesday evening with Trump at his summer home in Bedminster, New Jersey. During a meal that included steak, scallops, mashed potatoes, salad and a Trump cookie, the group talked about the upcoming midterm elections and the 2024 presidential race, Banks said.

The former president told the lawmakers ‘his mind is made up’ about a 2024 campaign and ‘we’ll all be happy with his decision.’

The FBI search seemed to trigger a shift among Trump’s advisers, who had been privately urging him to wait until after the midterm elections to announce his intention to seek the presidency again. Suddenly, some of those same advisers were urging him to launch his campaign before the November elections.

Trump stoked such speculation in the hours after the search by posting a campaign-style video on social media. ‘The best is yet to come,’ he said.

He followed up with a fundraising appeal, making it personal by declaring ‘it’s important that you know that it wasn’t just my home that was violated – it was the home of every patriotic American who I have been fighting for.’

In Columbia, South Carolina, Sen. Lindsey Graham said he spoke with Trump and felt sure another campaign was coming.

‘One thing I can tell you,’ Graham said. ‘I believed he was going to run before. I’m stronger in my belief now.’

As Republicans rallied behind Trump, Democrats pushed back against GOP claims of political interference, without evidence. Some accused the GOP of a departure from its longstanding commitment to ‘law and order.’

‘The FBI director was appointed by Donald Trump,’ said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Asked if the raid might hurt Democrats in the November elections, she said: ‘You’re talking about if the Justice Department decides to have a warrant to go in because they suspect something is justified, it´s going to have an impact on the election? No, no, no, no, no.’

Some of Trump’s most vocal Republican critics still shied away from embracing the former president. And it was unclear how rank-and-file Republican voters and independents frustrated by Trump’s divisive leadership might be moved by the new developments.

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a former federal prosecutor and one of many Republicans considering a 2024 presidential bid, noted Tuesday that a federal judge had to sign off on the warrant.

‘The former president is presumed innocent,’ Christie said in an interview. ‘On the other hand, we can’t immediately impugn the motives of the prosecutors just because they’re from another political party.’

‘It’s an extraordinary action. And there better be some pretty extraordinary facts to underlie it. If there are, then they have every right to do it.’

And some other Republican officials seemed to express continued concerns about Trump by refusing to weigh in at all.

The relatively short list of those GOP leaders who remained silent Tuesday afternoon was led by Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, who has privately encouraged his party to move past Trump. But the Kentucky Republican eventually weighed in, saying: ‘The country deserves a thorough and immediate explanation of what led to the events of Monday. Attorney General Garland and the Department of Justice should already have provided answers to the American people and must do so immediately.’

Former Vice President Mike Pence, who is gearing up for a presidential run of his own, said he shared ‘the deep concerns of millions of Americans’ over the search of Trump’s private residence.

He stopped short of attacking the FBI, however. Instead, he said Attorney General Merrick Garland should ‘give a full accounting to the American people as to why this action was taken and he must do so immediately.’

Republican Sens. Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Josh Hawley of Missouri aggressively condemned the Justice Department on Trump’s behalf.

Hawley called the search ‘an unprecedented assault on democratic norms and the rule of law.’ He called for Garland’s resignation or impeachment and the removal of FBI Director Wray.

Cotton said Garland had ‘weaponized’ the Justice Department against his political enemies. ‘There will be consequences for this,’ he warned.

Also from Arkansas, Gov. Asa Hutchinson, still another Republican weighing a 2024 run, called the search ‘unprecedented and alarming.’ But like Pence, he added, ‘We must see the probable cause affidavit before making a judgment.’

The search intensified the months-long probe into how classified documents ended up in boxes of White House records located at Mar-a-Lago earlier this year. A separate grand jury is investigating efforts by Trump and allies to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

Flordelis Grotesan, of Cuba, marches among the protesters and cars waving signs for the president

Flordelis Grotesan, of Cuba, marches among the protesters and cars waving signs for the president

Flordelis Grotesan, of Cuba, marches among the protesters and cars waving signs for the president

The former president spent much of the day posting to his TRUTH social media platform, both complaining about his treatment by the feds and celebrating primary victories for candidates he endorsed

The former president spent much of the day posting to his TRUTH social media platform, both complaining about his treatment by the feds and celebrating primary victories for candidates he endorsed

The former president spent much of the day posting to his TRUTH social media platform, both complaining about his treatment by the feds and celebrating primary victories for candidates he endorsed

One supporter bringing out a sign calling Democrats 'fascists' with snakes hidden marches Tuesday

One supporter bringing out a sign calling Democrats 'fascists' with snakes hidden marches Tuesday

One supporter bringing out a sign calling Democrats ‘fascists’ with snakes hidden marches Tuesday

Trump wrote earlier Tuesday evening: 'We are no better than a third world country, a banana republic' echoing the words of many conservatives, including Florida Governor Ron DeSantis

Trump wrote earlier Tuesday evening: 'We are no better than a third world country, a banana republic' echoing the words of many conservatives, including Florida Governor Ron DeSantis

Trump wrote earlier Tuesday evening: ‘We are no better than a third world country, a banana republic’ echoing the words of many conservatives, including Florida Governor Ron DeSantis

The raid on Trump's home intensifies the months-long probe into how classified documents ended up in more than a dozen boxes located at Mar-a-Lago earlier this year

The raid on Trump's home intensifies the months-long probe into how classified documents ended up in more than a dozen boxes located at Mar-a-Lago earlier this year

The raid on Trump’s home intensifies the months-long probe into how classified documents ended up in more than a dozen boxes located at Mar-a-Lago earlier this year

A smattering of Anti-former U.S. President Donald Trump protestors hold signs as they gather outside his Mar-a-Lago home

A smattering of Anti-former U.S. President Donald Trump protestors hold signs as they gather outside his Mar-a-Lago home

A smattering of Anti-former U.S. President Donald Trump protestors hold signs as they gather outside his Mar-a-Lago home

A protester calling for Donald Trump's arrest holds a sign in front of Trump Tower in Manhattan

A protester calling for Donald Trump's arrest holds a sign in front of Trump Tower in Manhattan

A protester calling for Donald Trump’s arrest holds a sign in front of Trump Tower in Manhattan

Trump did not elaborate on the basis for the search, but the Justice Department has been investigating the potential mishandling of classified information after the National Archives and Records Administration said it had retrieved from Mar-a-Lago 15 boxes of records containing classified information earlier this year. 

The National Archives said Trump should have turned over that material upon leaving office, and it asked the Justice Department to investigate.

There are multiple federal laws governing the handling of classified records and sensitive government documents, including statutes that make it a crime to remove such material and retain it at an unauthorized location. 

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.

Two people familiar with the matter, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation, said the search happened earlier Monday and was related to the records probe. Agents were also looking to see if Trump had additional presidential records or any classified documents at the estate.

Trump has previously maintained that presidential records were turned over ‘in an ordinary and routine process.’  

His son Eric Trump, who was also spotted at Trump Tower on Monday, said he was the one that got the call on the raid and told his father about it.

‘I was the guy who got the call this morning and I called my father and let him know it happened, and I was involved all day,’ he told Fox News host Sean Hannity. 

‘Welcome to politics in the 2020s.’

‘To have 30 FBI agents – actually more than that – descend on Mar-a-Lago, give absolutely, you know, no notice, go through the gates, start ransacking an office, ransacking a closet – you know, they broke into a safe. 

‘He didn’t even have anything in the safe. I mean, give me a break.’

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.

‘My father always kept press clippings,’ Eric Trump said. 

‘He had boxes, when he moved out of the White House.’

He charged President Joe Biden’s White House as the force behind the raid.

‘This didn’t come from a local FBI field office in Palm Beach, Florida. 

‘You know this came from? This came from one place and one building, and that is the White House in Washington, D.C. They want to attack a guy who they view as his greatest threat, Biden’s greatest threat,’ Eric Trump said.

Biden’s White House had no heads up on the matter. Senior White House officials found out about it via Twitter, The New York Times reported.

President Donald Trump leaves Trump Tower in New York City on Monday night after he announced he FBI had raided his Florida home

President Donald Trump leaves Trump Tower in New York City on Monday night after he announced he FBI had raided his Florida home

President Donald Trump leaves Trump Tower in New York City on Monday night after he announced he FBI had raided his Florida home

'They even broke into my safe!' Trump complained of the raid in a statement he released on Monday

'They even broke into my safe!' Trump complained of the raid in a statement he released on Monday

‘They even broke into my safe!’ Trump complained of the raid in a statement he released on Monday

Trump took 15 boxes of material with him in January 2021 after he left Washington D.C. The boxes were returned to the National Archives a year later in January 2022 but agents on Monday were looking to see if Trump had additional material; above workers move boxes out of the Trump White House on January 14, 2021

Trump took 15 boxes of material with him in January 2021 after he left Washington D.C. The boxes were returned to the National Archives a year later in January 2022 but agents on Monday were looking to see if Trump had additional material; above workers move boxes out of the Trump White House on January 14, 2021

Trump took 15 boxes of material with him in January 2021 after he left Washington D.C. The boxes were returned to the National Archives a year later in January 2022 but agents on Monday were looking to see if Trump had additional material; above workers move boxes out of the Trump White House on January 14, 2021

Armed Secret Service agents stand outside an entrance to former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate on Monday night

Armed Secret Service agents stand outside an entrance to former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate on Monday night

Armed Secret Service agents stand outside an entrance to former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate on Monday night

Eric Trump is spotted leaving Trump Tower; he told Fox News that he was the one who got notice of the raid and told his father about it

Eric Trump is spotted leaving Trump Tower; he told Fox News that he was the one who got notice of the raid and told his father about it

Eric Trump is spotted leaving Trump Tower; he told Fox News that he was the one who got notice of the raid and told his father about it

What WERE FBI agents looking for at Mar-a-Lago?

FBI agents who raided Donald Trump’s Florida estate have been in discussions since June with his legal team about a trove of presidential documents on the property, it emerged on Monday night, as speculation continued to swirl about what exactly they were looking for.

The raid was carried out on Monday, and confirmed by Trump himself. The White House is believed to have learnt of the raid when the rest of the world did, and was not informed in advance.

In February it emerged that Trump had taken classified documents out of the White House when he left in January 2021, and some of those were handed over to the National Archives.

Monday’s raid is thought likely to be related to the remaining boxes of documents, although it remained unclear why the FBI decided to raid the estate.

CNN reported on Monday evening that investigators were at Mar-a-Lago on June 8, meeting Trump’s lawyers to discuss the documents.

Trump was not questioned, the network reported, but stopped by and greeted the investigators and his two attorneys.

The two attorneys then took the investigators to a basement room and showed them where the documents were stored.

Five days later, Trump’s attorneys received a letter asking them to enhance the security on the store room, and a padlock was then placed on the door.

It’s unclear why the FBI then decided to raid the property.

 

Lara Trump told Fox News ‘look, my father-in-law, as anybody knows, who’s been around him a lot, loves to save things like newspaper clippings, magazine clippings, photographs, documents that he had every authority… to take from the White House.’

She called the raid an attempt to hurt him as her father-in-law may ‘announce any day that he’s running for president in 2024.’ 

Trump emerged from Trump Tower in New York City shortly before 8 p.m. and waved to bystanders before being driven away in an SUV.

In his first public remarks since news of the search surfaced, Trump made no mention of it during a tele-town hall on behalf of Leora Levy, the Connecticut Republican he has endorsed in Tuesday’s U.S. Senate primary to pick a general election opponent against Democratic U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal. 

Trump gave his public backing to Levy late last week, calling her on Monday the best pick ‘to replace Connecticut’s joke of a senator.’

But in a social media post Monday night, he was much more unguarded, calling the search a ‘weaponization of the Justice System, and an attack by Radical Left Democrats who desperately don’t want me to run for President in 2024.’

Other Republicans echoed that message. GOP National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel denounced the search as ‘outrageous’ and said it was a reason for voters to turn out in November.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican who is considered a potential 2024 presidential candidate, said in a statement on Twitter that it was ‘an escalation in the weaponization’ of U.S. government agencies.’ 

Kevin McCarthy, the House Minority Leader, said in a tweet that the Justice Department ‘has reached an intolerable state of weaponized politicization’ and said that if Republicans win control of the U.S. House, they will investigate the department.

That Trump would become entangled in a probe into the handling of classified information is all the more striking given how he tried during the 2016 presidential election to exploit an FBI investigation into his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, over whether she mishandled classified information via a private email server she used as secretary of state. 

The then-FBI Director James Comey concluded that Clinton had sent and received classified information but the FBI did not recommend criminal charges because it determined that Clinton had not intended to break the law.

Trump lambasted that decision and then stepped up his criticism of the FBI as agents began investigating whether his campaign had colluded with Russia to tip the 2016 election. He fired Comey during that probe, and though he appointed Wray months later, he repeatedly criticized him, too, as president.

Thomas Schwartz, a Vanderbilt University history professor who studies and writes about the presidency, said there is no precedent for a former president facing an FBI raid – even going back to Watergate. President Richard Nixon wasn’t allowed to take tapes or other materials from the White House when he resigned in 1974, Schwartz noted, and many of his papers remained in Washington for years before being transferred to his presidential library in California.

‘This is different and it is a sign of how unique the Trump period was,’ said Schwartz, author of ‘Henry Kissinger and American Power: A Political Biography.’ ‘How his behavior was so unusual.’

The probe is hardly the only legal headache confronting Trump. A separate investigation related to efforts by Trump and his allies to undo the results of the 2020 presidential election – which led to the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol – has also been intensifying in Washington. Several former White House officials have received grand jury subpoenas.

And a district attorney in Fulton County, Georgia, is investigating whether Trump and his close associates sought to interfere in that state’s election, which was won by Democrat Joe Biden.

A padlocked basement full of documents in Mar-a-Lago, the DOJ’s counterintelligence chief and boxes of classified files: How investigators ‘met Trump lawyers in JUNE to ask about ‘missing’ files in search that began last year’

Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida was raided by the FBI on Monday night, the former president revealed in a furious and lengthy statement.

The unannounced search was related to White House documents sought by the National Archives, his son Eric Trump told Fox News later that night.

Federal agents ‘ransacked’ his father’s office, he said, and in his own statement the former president accused them of breaking into his safe.

But Trump’s issues with the National Archives reportedly began before he even left office. 

Politico reported in 2018 that aides were forced to follow the then-president around to tape back documents that he had shredded – a habit the Republican was known for during his prior life heading the Trump Organization – in fear of running afoul of record-keeping laws.

And late last year, Trump attempted to slow the release of presidential documents from the National Archives to the House select committee investigating the January 6 attack.

It’s not clear what specifically is being investigated, but it’s worth noting there are laws on the books against tampering and destruction of classified presidential records. 

Below is a timeline piecing together reports of the former president’s legal battle with the Capitol riot committee over his documents, which appeared to run parallel to the National Archives’ own efforts to recover classified pages from Trump.

The New York Times reported on Tuesday afternoon that the two are not related. 

Trump sues January 6 committee to block National Archives records

In October 2021, the former president launched a lawsuit against the Democrat-led House panel and the National Archives to block the release of White House records linked to last year’s Capitol riot.

Trump’s lawyers called the probe a ‘fishing expedition’ in a 26-page lawsuit filed in mid-October.

The attorneys had also requested that the National Archives send Trump’s team any documents that could be relevant for review.

Trump lost the case along with two subsequent appeals later that year.

FBI agents with a search warrant raided Trump's Mar-a-Lago retreat in Palm Beach, Florida on Monday morning

FBI agents with a search warrant raided Trump's Mar-a-Lago retreat in Palm Beach, Florida on Monday morning

FBI agents with a search warrant raided Trump’s Mar-a-Lago retreat in Palm Beach, Florida on Monday morning

Supreme Court shuts down Trump’s bid to block documents, National Archives says it will turn them over 

The January 6 committee revealed on January 19 that it had begun receiving documents from the National Archives that Trump ‘had hoped to keep hidden.’

It happened the same day as the Supreme Court rejecting Trump’s last-ditch request to shield his records. 

Nine justices voted against the former president, including three who he appointed to the bench.

Only Clarence Thomas, whose wife Ginni is now being investigated by the committee over her efforts to push Trump’s election fraud claims, voted in Trump’s favor.

In addition to his own documents, the tranche also included records belonging to White House legal counsel, ex-adviser Stephen Miller and ex-Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, The Guardian reported.

National Archives reveals some Trump records were ‘torn up’

The record-keeping body confirmed to the Washington Post on January 31 that the documents it handed to the January 6 committee ‘included paper records that had been torn up by former President Trump.’

At this point the National Archives had reportedly handed more than 700 pages to the committee.

Not all of them had been taped back together at the time of the committee’s receipt. 

‘These were turned over to the National Archives at the end of the Trump Administration, along with a number of torn-up records that had not been reconstructed by the White House,’ the Archives reportedly said.

Trump’s 15 boxes of sensitive White House documents

The next month, the National Archives revealed that Trump had taken 15 boxes full of White House records to his Mar-a-Lago retreat after leaving Washington, DC the year before.

Officials from the Archives and the Records Administration had to retrieve the boxes this past January.

It was first reported by the Washington Post on February 7. 

Items that were improperly taken and had to be retrieved included what Trump called ‘love letters’ exchanged with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. 

A letter from then-outgoing President Barack Obama to Trump when he first took office was also among the trove.

National Archives asks Justice Department to probe Trump record-keeping

Two days after it was revealed that Trump took 15 boxes of White House documents to Mar-a-Lago, the National Archives stepped up its enforcement by asking the Justice Department to probe the ex-president’s handling of the sensitive pages.

The Archives asked President Joe Biden’s DOJ to investigate whether Trump violated the Presidential Records Act, a source told CNN on February 9.

The Washington Post reported the next day that some of the files in the 15 boxes the Archives had retrieved were marked as ‘top secret’ – spurring security concerns.

The former president was at Trump Tower in New York City when his home was raided. Trump released a lengthy statement claiming he was 'under siege' and that federal agents broke into his safe

The former president was at Trump Tower in New York City when his home was raided. Trump released a lengthy statement claiming he was 'under siege' and that federal agents broke into his safe

The former president was at Trump Tower in New York City when his home was raided. Trump released a lengthy statement claiming he was ‘under siege’ and that federal agents broke into his safe

At the time, Trump’s spokesman Taylor Budowich said the records retrieving process was ‘normal and routine’ but was being ‘weaponized by anonymous, politically motivated government sources to peddle Fake News.’

Report details months-long effort to retrieve Trump documents

It follows a June visit by DOJ official Jay Bratt and two others to Mar-a-Lago to inquire about the documents

It follows a June visit by DOJ official Jay Bratt and two others to Mar-a-Lago to inquire about the documents

It follows a June visit by DOJ official Jay Bratt and two others to Mar-a-Lago to inquire about the documents

While the controversy between the former president and government record-keepers only gained steam earlier this year, a February 13 CNN report reveals that the National Archives knew as early as May 2021 that documents had been missing.

National Archives counsel Gary Stern reportedly first contacted an official in the White House who had been named the point-person for records-keeping matters.

Stern apparently reached out to one of Trump’s other lawyers after his efforts to get the records appeared to be slow-walked.

At the time of the February report, one person told CNN the matter had ‘not been fully resolved’ and the National Archives was still seeking more documents from Trump.

‘Former President Trump’s representatives have informed NARA that they are continuing to search for additional Presidential records that belong to the National Archives,’ the Archives said in a statement.

Classified documents were among the 15 boxes Trump took, National Archives says

A week later, the National Archives confirmed an earlier Washington Post report that top secret documents were among the trove that Trump took to Mar-a-Lago with him.

The body said in a statement published on February 18 that it was ‘in communication’ with the DOJ on Trump-retrieved documents that were ‘marked as classified national security information.’

 In response to letters from the House Oversight Committee seeking more information on the matter, the Archives revealed the sensitive nature of the documents and added that social media and other online records from White House aides had not been properly stored.

The body said Trump aides had been warned about the matter previously.

DOJ summons grand jury in National Archives probe and grills Trump staffers

After months of silence, the Justice Department was revealed in May to be investigating whether Trump or others mishandled classified White House documents.

The DOJ convened a grand jury in the probe, the New York Times reported on May 12.

Prosecutors had subpoenaed the relevant documents from the National Archives, and CNN revealed they questioned Trump aides in April and May of this year.

Merrick Garland’s top officials sit down with Trump lawyers in Mar-a-Lago

Four top DOJ officials traveled to Mar-a-Lago in early June to speak with the former president’s attorneys about the documents, it was reported the day after the FBI raid.

In revealing the visit CNN noted how ‘rare’ in nature it was. 

The DOJ’s counterintelligence and export control section chief Jay Bratt was reportedly among the group who sat down with Trump’s lawyers.

Trump’s team had also shown the government officials where Trump were storing documents.

Investigators reportedly observed that some of the files there were marked as classified.

At one point the former president himself reportedly stopped in to say hello and ‘make small talk’ before leaving again.

Trump staffers padlock documents room in Mar-a-Lago

Days after the investigators’ visit, they reportedly sent a letter to Trump’s staff asking them to secure the room where they observed the documents being stored.

Aides padlocked the area, according to CNN.

Feds raid Mar-a-Lago on Monday morning

It was reported that the FBI’s operation at Mar-a-Lago occurred in the early hours of Monday morning.

The ex-president had been at Trump Tower in New York City at the time. His son Eric Trump told Fox he informed his father of the raid.

CNN reported that federal agents’ activity was exclusively kept to the portions of the club where Trump’s office and residence are.

The former president claimed he was a victim of political persecution in a statement that revealed the unannounced search to the public.

‘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 through his Save America PAC.

‘I stood up to America ‘s bureaucratic corruption, I restored power to the people, and truly delivered for our Country, like we have never seen before. The establishment hated it. Now, as they watch my endorsed candidates win big victories, and see my dominance in all polls, they are trying to stop me, and the Republican Party, once more. The lawlessness, political persecution, and Witch Hunt must be exposed and stopped.’

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