Trump Mar-a-Largo FBI Raid: Political Witch Hunt Or Nail In The Coffin For Trump’s Run In 2024?

Was the raid on Trump a cynical attempt to halt his 2024 election bid or did he do something wrong?

Exterior view of Mar-a-Largo
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At 10am on Monday 8th August, the FBI served a search warrant at Donald Trump’s Florida residence known as “Mar-a-Largo”.

The FBI had notified the Secret Service they would be attending the Trump residence – Trump still has U.S Secret Service protection, as all former Presidents do – and some have questioned if that was a wise choice considering that the Secret Service is now embroiled in a missing text message scandal[1]CNN: Timeline: How missing Secret Service text messages became a political scandal surrounding the January 6th insurrection attempt.

Whether notifying the Secret Service was a good idea or not, it had to be done. Can you imaging the carnage that would have occurred if the FBI had just broken down the doors of a former President’s home?

Trump is under fire at the moment with three investigations[2]Sky News: Why the FBI has raided Donald Trump’s estate – and what it is investigating being carried out into his tax affairs, his role in the January 6th Insurrection and pressuring the election officials in Georigia to change their vote in the 2020 election[3]BBC News: Donald Trump: ‘I just want to find 11,780 votes’.

But this raid is only tenuously connected to two of these investigations and is in fact centred around a possible breach of the Presidential Records Act.

Why Were The FBI Raiding Trump’s Home?

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) was established in 1934 to document and keep records of each administrations’ work in the U.S Government. They go through and archive important documents relating to government business, including Presidential correspondence, memos and executive orders among other more mundane paperwork[4]National Archives History.

In mid-2021, NARA found that they were apparently missing 15 boxes of documents relating to President Trump. They hadn’t been delivered to one of the 40 facilities they have across the country, and they weren’t in the White House either.

It’s US Federal law that these records are turned over so that NARA can go through them and determine what should and shouldn’t be archived for future generations to access.

So where where they?

The 15 boxes – some marked “classified national security information” had been shipped to Donald Trump’s Florida residence, Mar-a-Largo[5]CNBC: National Archives retrieved 15 boxes of Trump White House documents from Mar-a-Lago, even though they should have been turned over to NARA when Trump’s Presidency ended in January 2021.

The boxes, which contained Trump’s communications with Korean dictator Kim Jong Un and the now infamous hurricane map altered by a sharpie[6]Trump shows fake hurricane map in apparent bid to validate incorrect tweet among other documents, were finally returned to NARA in January 2022, a year after Trump left office.

There’s no love lost between Trump and NARA, he had sued them in court to stop them releasing records to the House probe of the January 6th insurrection, a case which was thrown out by the Supreme Court.

A spokesman for Trump said that the documents were sent in error. As a personal observation I could understand a couple of boxes getting mixed up in a move, but 15? Some essentially marked “top secret”? I’ll let you draw your own conclusion about that.

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The process to get the documents returned to NARA was not an easy one. You would expect that if it were a simple mistake then Trump’s staff would apologise and send the boxes on their way, but they dragged their heels so much that NARA had to threaten to write to Congress or the Justice Department to force their return[7]Washington Post: 15 boxes: Inside the long, strange trip of Trump’s classified records.

After the documents were finally returned NARA referred the matter to the Department of Justice for investigation of a potential breach of the Presidential Records Act – a law enacted after President Nixon refused to turn over documents relating to the Watergate break in.

Trump’s Disregard Of Documentation & The Law

Trump certainly had disdain for any form of documentation: he was often found to rip up documents in front of aides[8]Washington Post:”He never stopped ripping things up”: Inside Trump’s relentless document destruction habits, left documents piled up in various rooms for weeks until people had to go hunting for them and, perhaps the most concerning allegation, regularly ripped notes up and tried to flush them down toilets[9]CNN: Photos show handwritten notes that Trump apparently ripped up and attempted to flush down toilet.

Yes, you read that correctly. The President of The United States of America used to rip up notes and documents and flush them down the toilet.

According to an article by CNN[10]CNN: Photos show handwritten notes that Trump apparently ripped up and attempted to flush down toilet:

Trump would task aides with carrying boxes of unread memos, articles and tweet drafts aboard the presidential aircraft for him to review and then tear to shreds.

And from The Washington Post[11]Washington Post:”He never stopped ripping things up”: Inside Trump’s relentless document destruction habits:

He ripped paper into quarters with two big, clean strokes — or occasionally more vigorously, into smaller scraps.

He left the detritus on his desk in the Oval Office, in the trash can of his private West Wing study and on the floor aboard Air Force One, among many other places.

And he did it all in violation of the Presidential Records Act, despite being urged by at least two chiefs of staff and the White House counsel to follow the law on preserving documents.

In fact some records that NARA released to the January 6th Committee had been ripped up and taped back together.

Given Trump’s apparent unwillingness to follow the laws set out in the Presidential Records Act, NARA stated that they would continue looking into what documents were expected to be handed over by the Trump administration, and what were actually received.

It would appear that NARA may have found some further documentation missing and this raid is to determine if Trump took the paperwork with him (or flushed it down the loo).

But This Is Just Weaponising The Department of Justice And The FBI

No it isn’t. Despite what some Trump fans and Republicans Senators would like you to believe.

The FBI cannot simply raid someone’s house just because they feel like it, there is a process of gathering evidence – and as this is a former President, the burden of proof would have to be extremely high.

Add into that the fact that the current Director of the FBI, Christopher A. Wray, was appointed by Trump in 2017[12]Wikipedia: Christopher A. Wray and the FBI is an even less “politicised weapon”.

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Some have been arguing that the current Attorney General Merrick Garland has a bone to pick with the Republican Party – and by extension, Trump – as his appointment to the position by Barack Obama was blocked by the GOP and the after Trump won the election Garland’s name was out of the running completely.

Some more right-wing news outlets are claiming that Garland is behind the Trump witch hunt because he’s upset he didn’t get the position of Attorney General[13]TownHall: Merrick Garland Is A Petty, Vindictive, Little Man while others are accusing Garland of defending Trump and enabling some of his policies[14]New Republic:Why Is Merrick Garland Defending Donald Trump?.

Whatever your thoughts, the Attorney General is meant to be as unbiased as possible and act on the law rather than a perceived slight or political leaning.

On top of that, the FBI can’t just run into a State and do what they please. They will have to have a search warrant signed off by a judge, if this step fails, the FBI would be unable to proceed.

The judge will have to determine whether the burden of proof is high enough for the search warrant to be executed, whether it falls under Florida jurisdiction and whether it meets Florida law.

And I guess as it went ahead, it did.

A side note: I have seen reports that the judge who signed the warrant is named Bruce Reinhart who worked for the South Florida attorney general’s office before leaving to represent employees of Jeffrey Epstein[15]Independent: Judge who reportedly approved FBI raid on Trump once represented employees of Jeffrey Epstein[16]New York Post: Judge who OK’d Mar-a-Lago raid Obama donor once linked to Jeffrey Epstein . As Epstein and Trump seemed to be friendly with each other, this is a rather interesting addition to the story.

What Did Trump Have To Say?

In usual Trump style he had a lot to say. Here is Trump’s statement regarding the raid on his Mar-a-Largo property in full:

“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. Nothing like this has ever happened to a President of the United States before.

After I working and cooperating with the relevant Government agencies, this unannounced raid on my home was not necessary or appropriate. It is prosecutorial misconduct, the weaponization of the Justice System, and an attack by Radical Left Democrats who desperately don’t want me to run for President in 2024, especially based on recent polls, and who will likewise do anything to stop Republicans and Conservatives in the upcoming Midterm Elections. Such an assault could only take place in broken, Third-World Countries.

Sadly, America has now become one of those Countries, corrupt at a level not seen before. They even broke into my safe! What is the difference between this and Watergate, where operatives broke into the Democrat National Committee? Here, in reverse, Democrats broke into the home of the 45th President of the United States.

The political persecution of President Donald J. Trump has been going on for years, with the now fully debunked Russia, Russia, Russia Scam, Impeachment Hoax 11, Impeachment Hoax #2, and so much more, it just never ends, it is political targeting at the highest level!

Hillary Clinton was allowed to delete and acid wash 33,000 E-mails AFTER they were subpoenaed by Congress. Absolutely nothing has happened to hold her accountable. She even took antique furniture, and other items from the White House.

I stood up to America’s bureaucratic corruption, I restored power to the people, and truly delivered for our Country, like we have never seen before. The establishment hated it. Now, as they watch my endorsed candidates win big victories, and see my dominance in all polls, they are trying to stop me, and the Republican Party, once more. The lawlessness, political persecution, and Witch Hunt must be exposed and stopped.

I will continue to fight for the Great American People!”

Where Does Trump Go From Here?

It’s important to note that according to some sources, this was the third search of the property[17]AlertNet: Merrick Garland’s case against Donald Trump is probably airtight, but the first one signed off at a Federal level.

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There must be some reason for these searches otherwise they wouldn’t be granted (despite what Trump supporters might believe).

Given previous attempts to get the Trump camp to turn over documents was difficult, if not impossible, it’s no surprise that they have had to go down a federal route to find out what Trump may still be holding on to.

The timing of the raid is rather interesting given the ongoing probe by the January 6th commission and the lack of co-operation from some people within the former President’s camp – Chief of Staff Mark Meadows being the most notable.

It could be that the writing’s on the wall for some of the White House staffers who aided and abetted or simply ignored the happenings of January 6th 2021 and perhaps now they are telling the Justice Department where all the bodies are buried.

The interesting point in this though is that if a person is found to have breached the Presidential Records Act they are barred from running from public office so this would stop Trump’s 2024 Presidential run (if he does decide to stand) dead in the water.

Until Trump is indicted or cleared, it remains to be seen what will happen to probably the most controversial and divisive President the United States has ever seen.

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