Why Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence was raided by the FBI

·3-min read

The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s search at former president Donald Trump’s home at his Mar-a-Lago club appears to be part of an investigation into the removal of official presidential records from the White House to the Florida resort.

In a statement on Monday evening, the former president claimed, without offering evidence, that the raid on his Palm Beach residence was “prosecutorial misconduct” and “the weaponisation of the justice system” meant to keep him from running in the 2024 presidential election.

“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,” the statement said.

Speaking to Sean Hannity on Fox News, the former president’s son Eric Trump said the raids were concerning boxes of documents that his father brought with him from the White House.

He added that his father has been cooperating with the National Archives on the matter for months.

“The purpose of the raid, from what they said, was because the National Archives wanted to, you know, corroborate whether or not Donald Trump had any documents in his possession,” Eric Trump told Fox News.

A source familiar with the matter also confirmed to Reuters that the raid appeared to be tied to Mr Trump’s removal of classified records from the White House.

Mr Trump and his allies have been the subject of an investigation over the January Capitol riot. The Justice Department is famously tight-lipped about investigations, and so far the agency has not released a statement on the raid.

The department is investigating whether Mr Trump or any of his aides violated federal law by mishandling classified documents, which ended up at his Florida home instead of being returned to the National Archives at the end of his term.

In April, alongside the probe by the congressional committee investigating the January 6 riot, it emerged that the National Archives had recovered multiple boxes of official paperwork that Mr Trump had transported to his residence at Mar-a-Lago.

According to The Washington Post, the documents were recovered from his Florida residence in March, raising further concerns about Mr Trump’s potential violation of the Presidential Records Act – legislation that requires administrations to preserve almost all documentation produced and circulated during a president’s time in office.

Christina Bobb, Mr Trump’s attorney, told CNN that the FBI seized documents during Monday’s raid.

“President Trump and his legal team have been cooperative with FBI and DOJ officials every step of the way. The FBI did conduct an unannounced raid and seized paper,” she said.

According to Lara Trump, the former president’s daughter-in-law, he only removed mementos that he was legally authorised to take.

“Look, my father-in-law as anybody knows who’s been around him a lot loves to save things like newspaper clippings, magazine clippings, photographs, documents that he had every authority to take from the White House,” she said.

The Biden administration has denied any knowledge of Monday’s raid in advance.

A White House official told The Independent: “We did not have notice of the reported action and would refer you to the Justice Department for any additional information.”