Trump claimed he and his legal team had been in contact and cooperating with the Justice Department and the FBI since June, explaining there should have been no reason for a targeted “raid.”
Sources say the search warrant was related to the recovery of classified documents that the former president may have taken with him when he left the White House in 2021.
Earlier this year, the National Archives and Records Administration recovered 15 boxes of documents from Trump’s Florida estate.
Trump claimed earlier this year that the boxes were mistakenly taken to his estate and he planned to return any classified materials.
However, Newsweek reported Wednesday that two government officials familiar with the investigation revealed that an informant told the FBI where Trump was hiding classified documents at his estate.
A judge signed off on the FBI’s search warrant last week but agents did not execute the warrant until Monday when Trump was in New York City. At least 12 boxes were reportedly recovered in the search.
William Arkin, a senior editor at Newsweek, said it was his government sources who told him the raid was not a fishing expedition, but rather agents knew exactly what they where looking for.
“And again, I want to stress for the listeners and viewers that his own attorneys had to sign off on what they were taking,” Arkin said. “So it’s not like — they can’t plant anything, because right there on the scene, they we’re watching what the FBI was doing. So I don’t think that it’s possible for there to have been a plant. But having said that, that doesn’t mean it’s not possible for Donald Trump to claim that there was.”
Trump spoke out on his social media site Truth Social, “In early June, the DOJ and FBI asked my legal representatives to put an extra lock on the door leading to the place where boxes were stored in Mar-a-Lago — We agreed. They were shown the secured area, and the boxes themselves. Then on Monday, without notification or warning, an army of agents broke into Mar-a-Lago, went to the same storage area, and ripped open the lock that they had asked to be installed. A surprise attack.”
If it’s determined that the former president was intentionally hiding classified documents, it would be considered a criminal a violation of the “Presidential Records Act,” which is a federal law that requires all materials written by the president to be archived.
The penalty includes prison time, a fine and you can be disqualified from holding office.