Mar-a-Lago: Republican uproar over FBI raid on Trump homeon August 9, 2022 at 8:52 pm

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Mike Pence is among those demanding an explanation from the Attorney General for the unprecedented move.

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Furious allies of former President Donald Trump are demanding an explanation for the FBI’s raid on his Florida home, Mar-a-Lago.

The FBI and Department of Justice have yet to comment on the search, which Mr Trump disclosed on Monday evening.

It is reportedly linked to an investigation into his handling of classified and sensitive material.

It was the first time a former US president’s home has ever been searched by law enforcement.

Reports suggest the FBI activity is connected to an investigation into whether Mr Trump, a Republican, removed classified records from the White House and took them to Mar-a-Lago.

Several boxes were taken away, an unnamed law enforcement official told CBS News, the BBC’s US partner, adding that no doors were kicked down and the search had concluded by late afternoon.

Republicans have depicted the search as politically motivated, with leading figures demanding a briefing and explanation from Attorney General Merrick Garland, the head of the Department of Justice (DoJ).

Mr Trump’s former Vice-President, Mike Pence, who has subtly distanced himself amid speculation they could both launch 2024 White House runs, called on the attorney general to give “a full accounting” of why the search warrant was carried out.

“No former President of the United States has ever been subject to a raid of their personal residence in American history,” he wrote on Twitter.

Mr Trump’s allies in Congress, meanwhile, vowed to launch an investigation if they win back control of the House of Representatives and Senate in November’s mid-term elections, when the balance of power in Washington will be decided.

While many Democrats welcomed the raid, others joined calls for the Department of Justice to provide more information. Some aired concerns that it could boost support for the former president.

“This could be very useful to him as many people rally around him during this time,” Dave Aronberg, the state attorney for Palm Beach, where Mar-a-Lago is based, told the BBC. “Trump will use this to regain his martyr status.”

An anti-Trump protester outside Trump Tower in Manhattan on Tuesday

Image source, Getty Images

White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters on Tuesday that President Joe Biden was given no advance notice by the FBI of the raid, and that he “learned about this from public reports”.

“The president was not briefed and was not aware of it. No-one at the White House was given a heads-up,” she said.

She told reporters that Mr Biden had gone to great lengths to preserve the independence of the justice department, adding: “President Biden believes in the rule of law.”

The raid was first announced on Monday evening in a statement by Mr Trump, who was at Trump Tower in New York City.

An unnamed law enforcement official told CBS that the Secret Service was notified shortly before the warrant was served at about 10:00 local time (14:00 GMT).

Police guarding the golf club

Image source, Getty Images

Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said she first learned of the “visit” by FBI agents through public reports on her phone.

She added that she looks forward to learning more about what authorities were searching for when the warrant is made public.

“To have a warrant, you need justification,” she told NBC News. “And that says that no-one is above the law, not even a president or former president of the United States.”

In a fundraising email to supporters on Tuesday, Mr Trump said that he and other Republicans were being targeted because of his political influence and “my dominance in all polls”.

“They are trying to stop the Republican Party and me once more,” he said, adding: “The lawlessness, political persecution, and Witch Hunt, must be exposed and stopped.”

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who is rumoured to be considering a run against Mr Trump in 2024 for the Republican White House nomination, was among the many conservatives voicing outrage.

“The raid on Mar-a-Lago is another escalation in the weaponisation of federal agencies against the regime’s political opponents,” he said.

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Former Trump White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney told the BBC that during his tenure he ensured presidential records were kept.

“When the law says you have to preserve everything, that’s everything – a scratch pad, a newspaper the president had seen, it could be something very serious or something trivial, such as a menu with Boris Johnson, for example,” he says.

“If that’s all they’re looking for, technical violations of the law, then this is a tremendous overreach by the DoJ.

“If on the other hand, it’s somehow tied to a very serious charge of trying to interfere with the transition of authority to the Biden administration, and if the DoJ thinks there might be documents the president retained at Mar-a-Lago that speak to say, conversations with the right-wing extremists and the rioters, then that’s very serious.”

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  • A House of Representatives select committee is investigating his actions surrounding the US Capitol riot on 6 January 2021 – when his supporters rioted at Congress in Washington DC as lawmakers met to certify Mr Biden’s election victory
  • The justice department is examining the former president’s challenge to the results of the 2020 presidential election
  • A prosecutor in Fulton County, Georgia, is investigating whether Mr Trump and his associates tried to interfere in that state’s results from the election
  • On top of that, Mr Trump faces an array of lawsuits ranging from allegations of fraud, to inflating asset values, to sexual harassment. He denies any wrongdoing
  • Read more: How big are Trump’s legal problems?
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