Federal authorities raided Donald Trump’s Florida vacation home on Monday, the former president revealed in a statement, greatly amplifying the legal issues Trump faces as he mulls a third term in the House. White.
“My beautiful Mar A Lago home in Palm Beach, Florida is currently besieged, raided and occupied by a large group of FBI agents,” Trump said in a statement that appeared to reveal both outrage and shock. that the ongoing Justice Department investigations surrounding Trump would go that far.
He called it “dark times for our nation” and blamed Democrats for using the justice system to prevent him from running in 2024, despite the Justice Department not being a political entity.
“After working and cooperating with the appropriate government agencies, this unannounced raid on my home was neither necessary nor appropriate,” Trump said, adding that agents “even broke into my safe.”
“Nothing like this has ever happened to a President of the United States before,” Trump said.
The former president, who spends much of his summer days at his New Jersey golf course, was not at home during the search. In Manhattan, Trump was walking to his car on Monday evening and did not respond to shouted questions from reporters.
The disclosure was shocking to a wide range of individuals — from Trump himself, who has avoided legal trouble his entire career in private business and public life, to frustrated grassroots Democrats, who have complained that the prosecutor General Merrick Garland was not moving fast enough or aggressively enough against Trump.
The unprecedented search of the home of a former president could only be carried out with the approval of a judge and a convincing argument that evidence of a crime lay inside the walls of Mar- a-Lago. It’s not necessarily related to a crime Trump allegedly committed, but could be evidence of another crime.
If the search is indeed linked to Trump himself, it could be linked to a number of issues, including the January 6 investigation and the revelation by the National Archives and Records Administration that Trump took classified documents with him in its Florida resort.
In February, the National Archives said it found classified documents in 15 boxes of White House files stored at Mar-a-Lago. The agency said at the time that the case had been referred to the Department of Justice.
Editorial cartoons about Donald Trump
Marc Elias, a Democratic Party attorney who served as Hillary Clinton and John Kerry’s attorney in their presidential elections, tweeted that the seemingly lesser offense of taking or destroying federal documents came at a high price for someone with Trump’s ambitions.
Anyone who unlawfully conceals, deletes or damages documents filed or filed with a court clerk from other federal judicial or public officers can be jailed for up to three years and barred from running for office, Elias said, quoting the US code.
In a lengthy statement full of grievance, Trump compared the United States to “broken third world countries” and referred to his two impeachments, the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and the e- Clinton emails.
“As they watch my endorsed candidates win big victories and see my dominance in every poll, they try to stop me,” Trump said, offering a handpicked assessment of political polls and candidate performance in Congress and the governorship that he endorsed. Trump led a mock poll among Republican candidates at the Conservative Political Action Conference meeting in Texas over the weekend, but a national poll showed him losing in a rematch with President Joe Biden, who is suffering. itself from a low approval rating.
Joyce Alene, a former federal prosecutor for 25 years, said the search was legal and cautioned against jumping to conclusions about what it means.
“We don’t yet know what crimes the FBI had enough evidence to convince a federal judge there was probable cause to search Trump’s residence, but executing a search warrant is not a search. “, tweeted Alene. “It is a process supervised by justice. Still unknown: the object of the search.”
The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 uprising held its final hearing two weeks ago, focusing on Trump’s role that day. But it’s unclear whether the committee will recommend criminal charges against the former president.
Democrats on the party’s left wing have been openly infuriated by Garland, fearing he is moving too slowly to indict Trump ahead of a critical election or simply refraining from indicting Trump at all – either because ‘there isn’t enough evidence to secure a conviction, either because he might worry about the damage such a case would cause the nation.
Monday’s search — though it may relate to National Archives documents or another matter — indicates the Justice Department is not sparing Trump himself from its investigation.
“We must hold accountable anyone who is criminally responsible for attempting to nullify a legitimate election,” Garland said, “and we must do so in a manner of integrity and professionalism,” Garland told reporters on Monday. last month after asking him about a possible indictment of Trump.
“No one is above the law,” Garland said.
A survey last month by the Marist Institute for public opinion found that 57% of Americans think Trump deserves at least some blame for the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, and half think he should be charged.
But the poll also found that barely a quarter of Americans – 28% – believe the former president will face impeachment.