Earlier this evening, Donald Trump announced via email that his residence at Mar-a-Lago was being raided by the FBI. “These are dark times for our Nation,” he wrote, “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.”
Initially, it was unclear what the FBI was looking for, but the New York Times has a new report out signaling it may have to do with classified material removed from the White House.
The search, according to two people familiar with the investigation, appeared to be focused on material that Mr. Trump had brought with him to Mar-a-Lago, his private club and residence, after he left the White House. Those boxes contained many pages of classified documents, according to a person familiar with their contents.
Mr. Trump delayed returning 15 boxes of material requested by officials with the National Archives for many months, only doing so when there became a threat of action being taken to retrieve them.
Mr. Trump was known throughout his term to rip up official material that was intended to be held for government archives.
This includes, according to Trump’s email, the FBI opening a safe at the residence. According to sources for POLITICO, the raid took “hours.”
Two sources familiar with the search said it was related to allegations that Trump allies improperly removed boxes of presidential records from the White House after leaving office — including some that may have included classified information. One of those sources said the raid took “hours.”
The FBI and U.S. Attorney’s offices in Washington D.C and for the Southern District of Florida didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. Spokespeople at Justice Department headquarters in Washington declined to comment. The Secret Service and Palm Beach Police Department deferred comment to the FBI. Two sources familiar with the matter said top Biden White House officials were not given advance notice of the raid.
This is all coming at a time when prosecutors are looking into multiple ways to come after the former president, according to the Times.
The reported search came at a time when the Justice Department has also been stepping up questioning of former Trump aides who had been witnesses to discussion and planning in the White House of Mr. Trump’s efforts to remain in office after his loss in the 2020 election.
Mr. Trump has been the focus of questions asked by federal prosecutors in connection with a scheme to send “fake” electors to Congress for the certification of the Electoral College.
As of right now, it does not appear that this search is directly tied to the riot at the Capitol on January 6, 2021, although the Justice Department has recently stepped up its rhetoric on the subject of Trump and the events surrounding the violent events that took place that day.
(This is a breaking story, and will be updated as more information becomes available.)