Some Biden administration officials in the U.S. Justice Department slammed the FBI’s raid on Mar-a-Lago this week, saying that the situation backfired big time and the bureau ended up creating the very situation that it sought to avoid.
Newsweek reported that the FBI specifically targeted three rooms at former President Donald Trump’s residence — a bedroom, an office, and a storage room — and that the information used to obtain the warrant “was based largely on information from an FBI confidential human source.”
The report said that the confidential informant told the bureau what documents were taken and where the documents were located.
The report said that federal officials waited until Trump was out of state to execute the search warrant at the property because they wanted to be as low-key as possible. Agents were reportedly at the property the entire day and were dressed in plain clothes, leading staff to believe that they were U.S. Secret Service agents, which is why news of the executed search warrant did not leak.
“What a spectacular backfire,” a DOJ official told the publication. “I know that there is much speculation out there that this is political persecution, but it is really the best and the worst of the bureaucracy in action. They wanted to punctuate the fact that this was a routine law enforcement action, stripped of any political overtones, and yet [they] got exactly the opposite.”
Another senior U.S. official told the publication that the FBI “created the very firestorm they sought to avoid” by “ignoring the fallout.”
The agents rooted through the personal belongings of former first lady Melania Trump as they executed the search warrant.
Lawyers for the Department of Justice present during the raid reportedly informed Trump’s representatives that the search warrant gave them “full access to everything” on site.
Reports have claimed that Trump’s lawyers were not allowed to observe agents searching the property, although this has not yet been confirmed.
Federal agents executed the search warrant because they reportedly believed that Trump withheld turning over all the classified material that he was supposed to send back to the National Archives earlier this year.
Federal prosecutors opened a grand jury investigation back in May into Trump over whether classified material that ended up at his home in Mar-a-Lago was mishandled.
The main purpose of these types of investigations is usually for federal authorities to determine if any classified material was compromised so that intelligence officials can take steps to protect sensitive sources and methods. Prosecutors are seeking to learn every aspect of how the documents were handled from the time the documents left the White House until they were returned to the National Archives.
For prosecutors to be able to prove that a crime was committed, they would need evidence showing that the parties involved in removing the documents from the White House knew that the documents were classified and knew that removing them would violate the law.
“These are dark times for our Nation, as my beautiful home, Mar-A-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, is currently under siege, raided, and occupied by a large group of FBI agents,” Trump said in a statement. “After working and cooperating with the relevant Government agencies, this unannounced raid on my home was not necessary or appropriate.”
“They even broke into my safe!” Trump said. “It is political targeting at the highest level!”