Former President Donald Trump suggested the FBI may have planted evidence during the bureau's raid at his Mar-a-Lago home because members of his team were blocked from watching the agents.
In a Truth Social post on Wednesday, the former president wrote that "the FBI and others from the Federal Government would not let anyone, including my lawyers, be anywhere near the areas that were rummaged and otherwise looked at during the raid on Mar-a-Lago."
FBI agents spent about 10 hours scouring his private office on Monday and broke into his safe, according to Trump and members of his family.
BackgroundBruce Reinhart, a Florida federal magistrate judge, signed off on a warrant to search the former president's Florida property.
Reinhart worked as a federal prosecutor until 2008 when he became a defense attorney representing employees of convicted sex trafficker and wealthy financier Jeffrey Epstein. Employees included Epstein's pilots, a scheduler, and others.
In mid-January, the National Archives and Records Administration arranged for the transport from Mar-a-Lago to the National Archives 15 boxes that the archives said contained presidential records. Under the Presidential Records Act, the records should have been transferred in January 2021 as Trump left office, and some of the boxes contained classified information, the institution said in a statement at the time.
Agents initially resisted showing Bobb the warrant but ultimately did. But the agents would not allow any representatives of the former president to oversee the search, Bobb said. The justification for the search also remains under seal. Trump’s legal team plans on asking the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida to unseal the search warrant affidavit, which would outline why authorities asked for the warrant.
The Department of Justice "must immediately explain the reason for its raid & it must be more than a search for inconsequential archives or it will be viewed as a political tactic and undermine any future credible investigation & legitimacy of January 6 investigations,” wrote former Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a longtime critic of Trump, said on Twitter Tuesday.
“DOJ must disclose the bona fide nature of the August 8 action or else the republicans will use it to Discredit the Jan 6 investigation, which would be a terrible disservice to the good work of the house committee in exposing The Trump administration violations,” the former Democrat governor of New York added. Cuomo last year resigned amid allegations he engaged in misconduct with staffers, which Cuomo has categorically denied.
And Republicans similarly said they were concerned with the raid.
“Last night’s raid on the home of a former U.S. president without explanation will only further erode confidence in the FBI and the Justice Department,” Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) wrote Tuesday in reference to the Monday search.
“I reiterated these concerns to Director Wray today,” he continued. “If the FBI isn’t extraordinarily transparent about its justification for yesterday’s actions and committed to rooting out political bias that has infected their most sensitive investigations, they will have sealed their own fate. The FBI’s mission and the many patriotic agents who work hard to carry it out will be forever overshadowed by the distrust the bureau has sown.”