In a "stunning" event that is unprecedented in American history, federal agents searched former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago home in Florida on Monday.
They were reportedly looking for documents taken from the White House. Trump is now accusing his political enemies of using the Justice Department as a weapon against him.
Quick Start Podcast: Abuse of Power Claims Made After FBI Descends on Trump's Residence
He released a statement Monday evening denouncing the FBI's search on his home, saying, “Such an assault could only take place in broken, Third-World Countries. Sadly, America has now become one of those countries, corrupt at a level not seen before.”
“They even broke into my safe!” Trump wrote in a statement. “What is the difference between this and Watergate, where operatives broke into the Democrat National Committee? Here, in reverse, Democrats broke into the home of the 45th President of the United States.”
The news set social media alight, with varying observations and opinions. Sharyl Attkisson reports that even officials who “do not support Trump” called the move “stunning” and “unjustified.”
Constitutional attorney Alan Dershowitz told Fox News that a search warrant was unnecessary because investigators had been communicating for months with Trump representatives about the documents in question. "It seems to me they have violated the rules of DOJ. They have gone after a former president and future candidate so they darn well better have smoking gun proof," he said.
Here's Trump's full statement:
"These are dark times for our Nation, 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. Nothing like this has ever happened to a President of the United States before. After working and cooperating with the relevant Government agencies, this unannounced raid on my home was not necessary or appropriate. It is prosecutorial misconduct, the weaponization of the Justice System, and an attack by Radical Left Democrats who desperately don’t want me to run for President in 2024, especially based on recent polls, and who will likewise do anything to stop Republicans and Conservatives in the upcoming Midterm Elections. Such an assault could only take place in broken, Third-World Countries. Sadly, America has now become one of those countries, corrupt at a level not seen before. They even broke into my safe! What is the difference between this and Watergate, where operatives broke into the Democrat National Committee? Here, in reverse, Democrats broke into the home of the 45th President of the United States.
The political persecution of President Donald J. Trump has been going on for years, with the now fully debunked Russia, Russia, Russia Scam, Impeachment Hoax #1, Impeachment Hoax #2, and so much more, it just never ends. It is political targeting at the highest level!
Hillary Clinton was allowed to delete and acid wash 33,000 E-mails AFTER they were subpoenaed by Congress. Absolutely nothing has happened to hold her accountable. She even took antique furniture and other items from the White House.
I stood up to America’s bureaucratic corruption, I restored power to the people, and truly delivered for our Country, like we have never seen before. The establishment hated it. Now, as they watch my endorsed candidates win big victories, and see my dominance in all polls, they are trying to stop me, and the Republican Party, once more. The lawlessness, political persecution, and Witch Hunt must be exposed and stopped. I will continue to fight for the Great American people!"
People flooded social media with responses:
1-I just heard separately from 2 officials who do not support Trump. They won't speak publicly, but say they are bowled over by the "stunning" and "unjustified" actions against Trump.
— Sharyl Attkisson (@SharylAttkisson) August 8, 2022
Governor Kristi Noem weighed in on Twitter as well, calling the raid “unprecedented political weaponization of the Justice Department.”
The FBI raid on President Trump’s home is an unprecedented political weaponization of the Justice Department. They’ve been after President Trump as a candidate, as President, and now as a former President. Using the criminal justice system in this manner is un-American.
— Kristi Noem (@KristiNoem) August 9, 2022
The FBI isn’t doing anything about the groups vandalizing Catholic Churches, firebombing Pro-Life groups or threatening Supreme Court justices
But they find time to raid Mar A Lago
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) August 9, 2022
Conservative commentator Michael Knowles believes this action is the “powers that be” simply not wanting to let Trump win again.
Donald Trump was the best president in my lifetime, and I would happily vote for him a third time. The strongest argument I’ve heard against his candidacy in 2024 is that the powers that be simply will not let him win again. Sadly that argument just became more convincing.
— Michael Knowles (@michaeljknowles) August 9, 2022
Meanwhile, Trump opponents were celebrating, offering sentiments of mockery.
A belated Happy Mar-a-Lago Search and Seizure Day to all who celebrate!
— George Conway (@gtconway3d) August 9, 2022
Details of FBI Raid on Trump’s Home
The FBI reportedly searched former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate as part of an investigation into whether he took classified records from the White House to his Florida residence, people familiar with the matter said Monday.
The search, which the FBI and Justice Department did not immediately confirm, marks a dramatic escalation in law enforcement scrutiny of Trump. The Biden White House said it had no prior knowledge of the raid. And Justice Department spokesperson Dena Iverson declined to comment on the search, including about whether Attorney General Merrick Garland had personally authorized the search.
“After working and cooperating with the relevant Government agencies, this unannounced raid on my home was not necessary or appropriate,” Trump said in his statement.
One of Trump's possible opponents in 2024, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, tweeted, "The raid of Mar-a-Lago is another escalation in the weaponization of federal agencies against the regime's political opponents, while people like Hunter Biden get treated with kid gloves."
And House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said if Republicans win Congress this fall, they will be investigating the Justice Department.
Trump did not elaborate on the basis for the search, but the Justice Department has been investigating the potential mishandling of classified information after the National Archives and Records Administration said it had retrieved from Mar-a-Lago 15 boxes of records containing classified information earlier this year.
The National Archives referred the matter to the Justice Department. Trump has previously maintained that presidential records were turned over “in an ordinary and routine process.”
There are multiple federal laws governing the handling of classified records and sensitive government documents, including statutes that make it a crime to remove such material and retain it at an unauthorized location. Two people familiar with the matter, who spoke to AP on condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation, confirmed that agents were also looking to see if Trump had additional presidential records or any classified documents at the estate.
A search warrant does not suggest that criminal charges are near or even expected. But former FBI Special Agent Stuart Kaplan said, "If what was alleged in the affidavit, bears out and they retrieve that evidence. It is possible that criminal charges could be filed against the President."