House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) is demanding copies of Justice Department (DOJ) documents concerning the FBI's raid on former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago residence, after being told by a senior bureau official involved in the action's planning and execution about multiple "unusual features" and "abnormalities" involved.
"Everything is on the table," a committee spokesman told The Epoch Times, regarding whether a subpoena and potentially an additional contempt charge against FBI Director Christopher Wray or other top [DOJ] officials could result if documents demanded by Jordan in a June 9 letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland aren't produced.
Jordan has been pressing Garland and Wray for related documents for months but has yet to get them.
The August 2022 Mar-a-Lago raid "abnormalities" were described to congressional investigators during a June 7 transcribed interview with Steven D'Antuono, the FBI's former assistant director in charge of the Washington Field Office and "one of the most senior FBI officials in charge of effectuating the unprecedented raid," according to the Jordan letter.
"During his testimony, Mr. D’Antuono expressed strong concerns with the department’s pursuit of the raid and noted several unusual features in the department’s handling of the case," Jordan told Garland. "Mr. D’Antuono, who had over two decades of FBI experience, noted his frustration that the FBI was going to be 'left holding the bag again' with respect to the search of President Trump’s residence.
"During his transcribed interview, Mr. D’Antuono detailed how he disagreed with the Justice Department’s approach to the raid and described several abnormalities about the Department’s actions in pursuing its investigation of President Trump."
Among the abnormalities described by D'Antuono was that the Mar-a-Lago action was carried out by the FBI's Washington Field Office, not the Miami Field Office, which would normally be assigned because of the Mar-a-Lago location.
D'Antuono, according to Jordan, told the committee that "FBI headquarters made the decision to assign the execution of the search warrant to the Washington Field Office (WFO) despite the location of the search occurring in the territory of the FBI’s Miami Field Office."
"Mr. D’Antuono stated that he had 'absolutely no idea' why this decision was made and questioned why the Miami Field Office was not taking the lead on this matter," Jordan said.
D'Antuono pointed out to the committee that FBI officials told special counsel John Durham that field offices, not FBI headquarters, should run investigations.
Another abnormality was the fact that no U.S. attorney was assigned to the case, even though that was standard FBI operating procedure.
"He explained that he 'didn’t understand why there wasn’t a U.S. Attorney assigned' and 'raised this concern a lot with' department officials because this was out of the ordinary," Jordan told Garland. "Mr. D’Antuono indicated that he 'never got a good answer' and was told that the National Security Division would be handling this matter."
D'Antuono said Jay Bratt, who leads the DOJ's counterintelligence division, functioned as the lead prosecutor on the case.
"Mr. Bratt is the same department lawyer who allegedly improperly pressured a lawyer representing an employee of President Trump," Jordan noted in his letter.
Multiple 'Abnormalities' in FBI RaidA third abnormality alleged by D'Antuono was that FBI line agents opposed the use of a search warrant to force entry to Mar-a-Lago and preferred that government officials obtain prior consent from Trump before entering the premises.
"[D'Antuono] indicated a belief that either you or Director Christopher Wray made the decision to seek a search warrant, despite opposition from the line agents working this case in the WFO," Jordan told Garland.
A fourth abnormality was related to the third, that the FBI agents at Mar-a-Lago didn't wait for the presence of a Trump lawyer before entering the former president's residence.
"Mr. D’Antuono testified that the FBI sought to exclude President Trump’s attorney from the search, a move with which Mr. D’Antuono disagreed," Jordan told Garland.
As a result of D'Antuono's testimony, Jordan told Garland that he wants "all documents and communications referring or relating to meetings between FBI and Justice Department officials prior to the execution of the search warrant on President Trump’s private residence, all documents and communications referring or relating to the execution of a search warrant on President Trump’s private residence, including those sent or received by the following FBI and Justice Department Officials, and all documents and communications between or among Washington Field Office agents and employees and the U.S. Secret Service about a potential search of President Trump’s residence."
Wray barely averted a possible congressional contempt citation last week when he agreed to allow members of the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability to view an unclassified FBI document that allegedly describes an informant's description of evidence that President Joe Biden and his son Hunter accepted bribes from a Ukrainian energy executive while Biden was vice president.
DOJ officials didn't respond by press time to a request by The Epoch Times for comment.