Biden Says He Had No Advance Notice of FBI Raid on Trump’s Resort

Biden Says He Had No Advance Notice of FBI Raid on Trump’s Resort
President Joe Biden speaks during a press conference at the White House in Washington on Aug. 24, 2022. (Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images)
Zachary Stieber

President Joe Biden said on Aug. 24 that he did not know of the FBI’s raid of former President Donald Trump’s resort until after it happened.

“I didn’t have any advance notice. None. Zero. Not one single bit,” Biden told reporters during an unrelated press conference in Washington.

The White House previously said that Biden did not know of the raid ahead of time, but it’s the first time the president has commented on any aspect of the matter himself.

FBI agents executed a search warrant at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida on Aug. 8.

White House officials have claimed that the Department of Justice acts independently, though a letter released this week shows that the White House backed the department’s efforts to obtain records transferred from Mar-a-Lago to the National Archives and Records Administration earlier this year.

“NARA will provide the FBI access to the records in question, as requested by the incumbent President, beginning as early as Thursday, May 12, 2022,” acting Archivist Debra Wall told a lawyer for Trump in the May 10 missive.

Biden also left it up to Wall to decide whether Trump’s privilege claims were justified, and Wall decided, after consulting with White House lawyers, to reject the claims, which some legal experts have questioned.

Among the records transferred from Mar-a-Lago in January were classified materials, according to the records administration.

Inventory lists provided by agents to Trump lawyers after the August raid showed agents removed boxes of materials, including materials marked classified.

Trump has said he declassified the materials before leaving office.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, in a separate press briefing on Wednesday, declined to elaborate on comments made hours earlier by John Kirby, another White House spokesperson.

Kirby reportedly said that the White House National Security Council is not conducting an assessment of whether a compromise happened with regards to the classified materials.

“We’re just not going to comment on any of the content of the ongoing independent Justice Department investigation,” she said.

A policy from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which oversees intelligence agencies, says an assessment “shall be conducted when there is an actual or suspected unauthorized disclosure or compromise of classified national intelligence that may cause damage to U.S. national security.”

An assessment “may also be conducted when there is an actual or suspected loss, misuse, or unauthorized access to or modification of classified national intelligence that could adversely affect national security,” the policy also says.

The office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.