The FBI’s Monday raid on former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort sent shock waves around Washington because it marked a big escalation of the continued investigations into actions surrounding his presidency.
Trump confirmed the story himself in a lengthy statement posted on Truth Social, the social media website he founded after getting kicked off Twitter. The “siege” by FBI agents was tantamount to a “weaponization of the Justice System” by “Radical Left Democrats,” Trump wrote.
“They even broke into my protected!” he exclaimed.
A law enforcement raid on a former president is unprecedented. But so, too, were Trump’s attempts to overthrow his duly elected successor ― and whether or not he’ll face criminal charges for that effort or another continues to be a hot query.
Here’s what you could know.
What were they searching for?
The search warrant itself has not been made public, and the complete scope of it will not be yet known.
However the Justice Department is thought to have been investigating Trump’s alleged mishandling of classified documents when he decamped to Florida from the White House. Several outlets reported that Monday’s raid is expounded to that probe, citing unnamed sources.
Eric Trump also said as much on Fox News.
“The aim of the raid was, from what they said, was since the National Archives desired to corroborate whether or not Donald Trump had any documents in his possession,” Eric told Fox host Sean Hannity on Monday night. “And my father has worked so collaboratively with them for months.”
It’s vital to notice that we don’t know what kind of knowledge may need been contained in any of those allegedly mishandled documents, and what impact, if any, they may have on national security.
Eric said the FBI sent “20 cars and 30 agents” to the resort, where they went about “ransacking an office” and “ransacking a closet.” He claimed his father didn’t have anything within the protected.
The National Archives acknowledged in February that it had recovered greater than a dozen boxes of documents improperly kept at Mar-a-Lago in violation of the Presidential Records Act, which stipulates that every one presidential records must be preserved by the Archives for posterity.
In June, a small group of investigators went to Mar-a-Lago searching for more information from Trump’s lawyers on the materials he took from the White House, in accordance with CNN, suggesting the previous president might have been holding onto additional classified information. In keeping with Eric, one such lawyer was “shocked” that the raid happened. It’s believed to have include no notice.
Trump has a known history of tearing up notes and documents. Before becoming president, he preferred to make individuals who worked for him sign non-disclosure agreements to be able to prevent unflattering or legally troublesome information from leaking out.
How did they get the authority to make this occur?
To get a warrant, federal investigators would have needed to prove to a judge that there was evidence a criminal offense had likely been committed they usually knew where to search out it ― on this case, at Mar-a-Lago. (Possibly in an office. Or a closet, if Eric will be believed.)
Legal observers consider that the spectacle of sending in criminal investigators to a former president’s home meant that the raid would have needed to be approved at the very best levels of the Justice Department, including Attorney General Merrick Garland.
Critics were quick to color the raid as an anti-Trump political stunt fairly than the inevitable results of a balanced investigation. But observers also indicate that the top of the FBI, Christopher Wray, was appointed by Trump and is a member of the hard-right Federalist Society, suggesting that whatever evidence the FBI has on Trump is substantial enough to warrant such a high-profile search that may undoubtedly come under heavy scrutiny.
The Justice Department has not publicly commented on the situation.
The White House, for its part, has told news outlets it didn’t have advance notice of the raid.
What happens next?
The stakes are pretty high. We don’t know whether Trump might be criminally charged for anything he’s done, though.
It’s possible that purposefully hiding or destroying government documents may lead to charges, however it will not be clear whether that might ultimately bar Trump from running for president again, The Recent York Times says. Mainly, there’s a law against taking government materials out of turn, and the law says you’ll be able to’t run for office should you’re guilty. But there’s debate over whether that would prevent someone from running for the very best office, because the Structure determines who’s allowed to do this.
Garland has made no guarantees as attorney general. He responded in vague terms when asked whether Trump would face criminal consequences for any of his actions, saying simply that “nobody is above the law.”
“We’ve to carry accountable all and sundry who’s criminally liable for attempting to overturn a legitimate election, and we must do it in a way full of integrity and professionalism,” Garland said at a press conference in July.
It’s vital to emphasise that allegedly mishandling classified information is just certainly one of many possibly illegal things Trump is accused of doing. The previous president’s alleged misconduct ranges from tax evasion to an attempted coup, and a number of other investigations are ongoing, including the work of the House select committee probing the Capitol attack.
While Trump has been living at his South Florida golf resort, he was reportedly not there on the time of the search resulting from certainly one of those other legal problems. He was as an alternative staying at his Bedminster, Recent Jersey, golf resort, where he was preparing for a deposition with the Recent York state attorney general a couple of financial matter, in accordance with The Recent York Times.
How are Republicans taking all of this?
They’re having a traditional one.
Some have spun 180 degrees on their stance against defunding the police, calling for the FBI and the Justice Department to be defunded within the wake of the Mar-a-Lago raid. It’s an concept that Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) floated over the weekend on the Conservative Political Motion Conference, but now he’s been joined by the likes of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.).
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, for his part, directly threatened Garland, telling him to “preserve your documents and clear your calendar” within the event Republicans gain control of the House after midterms.
“When Republicans take back the House,” McCarthy tweeted, “we’ll conduct immediate oversight of this department” and “leave no stone unturned.”