Former FBI Agent Says Mar-a-Lago Raid Was Government’s Attempt to ‘Embarrass’ Trump

Former FBI Agent Says Mar-a-Lago Raid Was Government’s Attempt to ‘Embarrass’ Trump
Local law enforcement officers in front of the home of former U.S. President Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla., on Aug. 9, 2022. (Giorgio Viera/AFP via Getty Images)
Naveen Athrappully

Greg Shaffer, a retired FBI agent for the elite hostage rescue team, said that the agency’s raid on former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida on Aug. 8 was “completely and totally unprecedented.”

“I don’t know what the FBI, Department of Justice, or this administration was thinking by doing this,” Shaffer said in an Aug. 10 interview with NTD. “It was an overt act meant to embarrass the former president. It just shows the total lack of optics on their end. The rule of law obviously does not play equal on both sides anymore.”

During the raid, Trump’s attorneys on the site were not allowed to watch what the FBI agents were doing, which Shaffer said was also unprecedented.

Shaffer said that during most of the search warrants he executed as an FBI agent, the owner of the property usually watched over the agents to monitor what they were doing as they looked for the items included in the warrant.

The ex-FBI agent said that a subpoena, which could have been done behind the scenes without embarrassing the Trump family or the Trump organization, would have been a “much better course of action.”

Shaffer said he’s concerned about the heavy-handed way the raid was conducted, and that it was an intentional decision of the Biden administration as a “show of force,” he added.

Government Reacts to Public Outrage

On Aug. 11, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) asked a federal court to make the materials of the search warrant public.
Speaking to The Epoch Times, John Malcolm, director of the Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation, said the government’s move to unseal the documents might be a response to public outrage.

“I think that this is an attempt by the Department of Justice—who may have underestimated the reaction to this through this raid—to try to get out a little bit ahead of it by saying, ‘Oh, see, what we did here was perfectly on the up and up,'” Malcolm said.

Following the raid at Trump’s home, the FBI also seized the cellphone of Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) on Aug. 9. The circumstances surrounding the seizure are not known. In a statement, Perry called the action “banana republic tactics.”

In the NTD interview, Shaffer said the FBI must have special permission to seize the property of members of Congress, members of the clergy, attorneys, and other individuals who deal with privileged information.

“For an FBI agent to go walk up to a sitting congressman and take his cell phone … that had to be approved at the highest level at the FBI and DOJ,“ Shaffer said. ”That is very, very difficult to do. Unprecedented.”

Shaffer said that in his opinion, the seizure of Perry’s phone was nothing more than a “show of force” from the Biden administration.

Zachary Stieber and The Associated Press contributed to this report.