Search of Trump’s house: What we know

Search of Trump’s house: What we know

WASHINGTON | The spectacular and unprecedented US Federal Police (FBI) raid on former President Donald Trump’s Florida home suggests the former leader is the subject of a Justice Department investigation.

• Also read: Political storm in the US after Trump’s house search

• Also read: Trump’s home searched by the FBI

But many unanswered questions remain about the circumstances and motivations behind this raid. Here’s what’s known as of this Tuesday, and what questions it raises.

A spectacular quest

On Monday morning, about thirty FBI agents landed at the former president’s luxurious residence in Mar-a-Lago, Florida (southeast), according to Donald Trump’s son Eric. Mr. Trump was in New Jersey (East) at the time.

No coercion was required because FBI agents had previously notified the President’s Protection Service of their arrival and the searches, NBC reported.

Once inside, they searched the home for several hours, including a safe, according to Donald Trump. They confiscated numerous paper documents, online newspaper Politico said, citing a source familiar with the matter.

“Nothing like it has ever happened to a former President of the United States,” Trump said in a statement Monday, denouncing a coup that was “neither necessary nor appropriate” and saying he was the victim of “political persecution.” .

Why is?

Neither the Justice Department nor the FBI commented and maintained complete silence.

But such a search against a former president who might run again in 2024 would inevitably have had the approval of Attorney General Merrick Garland and FBI Director Christopher Wray, according to experts.

The FBI absolutely requires a search warrant, and the judge must have sufficient evidence of a possible misdemeanor or felony to issue one.

So far no mandate has been published.

And according to Seamus Hughes, a crime researcher at George Washington University, warrants in the South Florida county where Mar-a-Lago is located are generally classified.

“Each local jurisdiction sets its own rules on this,” he explains.

However, Eric Trump revealed on Fox News Monday that the search related to documents the former president took with him when he left the White House in January 2021.

Already last January he had to hand over 15 boxes full of documents to the National Archives. The National Archives preserve all official documents of current and past presidents.

According to the organization, however, secret files existed and they informed the Ministry of Justice.

“The purpose of the raid, they said, was to determine whether the former president still had any documents,” Trump said.

Can a president keep documents?

A Presidential Documents Act requires that all official documents of an incumbent President be turned over to the National Archives upon his departure. But this law provides no real sanctions.

On the other hand, American law strictly prohibits the keeping of classified documents and has been used on numerous occasions, including imprisonment.

CNN reported that Justice Department officials visited Mar-a-Lago in June, including the head of the Intelligence and Export Control Division, which deals with national security, espionage or sabotage cases.

Is Ex-President Trump Under Investigation?

Not necessarily. The searches conducted on Monday alone do not mean Mr Trump is the subject of a criminal investigation.

The documents may have been seized as part of other investigations into members of the former Trump administration or as part of the investigation into the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol attack.

However, according to experts, the scale of this search for a former president points to something more important.

Former FBI Assistant Director Andrew McCabe told CNN Tuesday he couldn’t believe the searches were being conducted to obtain documents destined for the National Archives.

“The idea that they would have done so simply because they had not received satisfaction (…) strikes me as unthinkable. It seems to me that they must have much more than that.”