A "weaponization of the justice system," that's how former President Donald Trump labeled Monday's raid by the FBI on his home at the Mar-a-Lago resort located in Palm Beach, Florida.
Trump was in New York City at the time, and after learning of the search, released a statement comparing the raid to Watergate.
On Today's Quick Start Podcast: Weaponizing the FBI
Legal experts are now calling on the Justice Department to explain the unprecedented move.
"The Justice Department has to be very transparent about this. They need to release the search warrant, the supporting affidavit, so we can understand why they would engage in a raid like this," said The Heritage Foundation's Senior Legal Fellow Hans von Spakovsky.
According to reports, the FBI's search warrant was related to improperly removed documents, some classified, from the White House. Spakovsky said if that's the case, a raid was out of line.
"The National Archivist, and potentially the Justice Department, should have been negotiating with the President to have government lawyers and others go in to sort through the documents to find what needed to, what else needed to be returned to the National Archives but to send in an FBI raid like this, again, we just haven't seen any justification for this kind of action," Spakovsky told CBN News.
Trump and his allies have previously accused the FBI of being a tool of the Democrats out to get him. Spakovsky pointed out that, back in 2016, Hillary Clinton's home was never raided when she was determined to have classified documents stored on a private e-mail server.
"I mean, she even destroyed 33,000 emails because she claimed they were personal and not the government, and yet, the kind of actions that were taken against President Trump was not taken against her," Spakovsky said.
To get a search warrant on a former president, he says the order would have to come from the top.
"There is no way that the FBI would proceed to even apply for a search warrant like this before a federal judge without getting the approval of Chris Wray, the director of the FBI, and the approval of Merrick Garland, the Attorney General. And I have a very tough time believing that they would not have informed the White House and President Joe Biden when they were taking an action like this that has never occurred in the entire history of the country," Spakovsky said.
Former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, also urged transparency, tweeting: "DOJ must immediately explain the reason for its raid & must be more than a search for inconsequential archives or it will be viewed as a political tactic and undermine any future credible investigation & legitimacy of January 6 investigations."