Local law enforcement officers are seen in front of the house of former President Donald Trump at Mar-A-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida on August 9, 2022.
Giorgio Viera | AFP | Getty Images
FBI agents seized a couple of dozen boxes during a raid of the Florida home of former President Donald Trump on Monday, his lawyer told NBC News.
The attorney, Christina Bobb, also told NBC on Tuesday that a duplicate of the search warrant that FBI agents left on the Mar-a-Lago residence in Palm Beach indicated agents are investigating possible violations of laws related to the Presidential Records Act and the handling of classified material.
Monday’s raid was the primary known search by the FBI of the residence of a president or former president in reference to a criminal investigation. Trump was not in Mar-a-Lago in the course of the search.
Before the search, it was known that a federal grand jury in Washington, D.C., was investigating the removal of records that were taken from the White House to Mar-a-Lago when Trump left office in January 2021. A few of those documents were marked classified.
The National Archives and Records Administration in January 2022 retrieved 15 boxes of White House records that were sent to Mar-a-Lago. At the moment, NARA said that each one of those records must have been sent to the National Archives when Trump left office, as required by the Presidential Records Act.
Staff move boxes out of the Eisenhower Executive Office Constructing on the White House grounds, before the departure of U.S. President Donald Trump, in Washington, January 14, 2021.
Erin Scott | Reuters
Bobb, confirming an account that she first recounted to The Washington Post, told NBC News that lawyers for Trump were talking to Justice Department officials this spring in regards to the records being stored at Mar-a-Lago.
At one meeting, she said, Trump’s lawyers searched through between two and three dozen boxes in a storage area and gave Justice Department officials “just a few pages” that might meet the definition of being a presidential record.
Bobb told NBC News that at one meeting on June 3, she and one other Trump lawyer were talking with a senior Justice Department official at Mar-a-Lago when Trump stopped by briefly to say hello.
At that meeting, a source near Trump told NBC Latest, Trump personally showed the Justice Department official the room where the materials were.
Bobb said Trump officials added a lock on a storage unit after Justice officials said they didn’t imagine it was secure. That lock was broken in the course of the FBI search on Monday, she told NBC.
Trump’s spokesman Taylor Budowich in a recent statement issued Tuesday, blasted the FBI search.
“Monday’s brazen raid was not only unprecedented, it was completely unnecessary,” Budowich said. “President Trump and his representatives have gone to painstaking lengths in communicating and cooperating with the suitable agencies — something that’s routine for all similar instances.”
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“These disgusting actions by [President]Joe Biden’s administration would make a third-world dictator blush,” he said. “Nevertheless, within the Democrats’ desperate try and retain power, they’ve unified and grown all the conservative movement.”
FBI Director Chris Wray was appointed by Trump.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., in a press release Tuesday evening, said, “The country deserves a radical and immediate explanation of what led to the events of Monday. Attorney General Garland and the Department of Justice should have already got provided answers to the American people and must achieve this immediately.”
To acquire a search warrant, federal law enforcement authorities first are required to exhibit to a judge that there’s probable cause to imagine that a criminal offense has been committed and that the evidence they’re in search of in the specified search pertains to that crime.