US President Donald Trump said Monday that his Florida residence was being raided by FBI agents in what he called an act of “procedural misconduct.”
“These are dark times for our Nation, as my beautiful home, Mar-A-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, is currently besieged, raided, and occupied by a large group of FBI agents,” he said in a statement posted on his Truth social network.
Aerial footage showed police cars outside the property. Supporters of the former president also gathered at the site waving posters and US flags with Trump’s face.
Eric Trump, one of Trump’s adult sons, told Fox News on Monday that the search pointed to boxes of documents his father brought from the White House.
A source familiar with the matter confirmed to Reuters that the raid appeared to be linked to Trump’s removal of classified White House records.
What is Donald Trump being investigated for?
The investigation is one of several that have focused on Trump since he left office, weeks after his supporters stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, in an unsuccessful attempt to overturn his election loss. Trump continues to falsely claim that the election was stolen through widespread voter fraud.
This is what we know about the inquiries that follow the former president, who has repeatedly expressed his desire to return to the White House in the 2024 Elections.
Official documents at Mar-a-Lago
The National Archives said in February that they had recovered 15 boxes of documents from Trump’s Florida estate. According to The Washington Post, there were highly classified texts that Trump took from Washington after his defeat in the 2020 elections.
The documents and memorabilia — which also included correspondence from former President Barack Obama — should have been turned over by law at the end of Trump’s presidency, but instead ended up at his Mar-a-Lago compound.
The recovery of the boxes raised questions about Trump’s compliance with presidential records laws enacted after the 1970s Watergate scandal, which require presidents to preserve records related to their administration’s activity.
The National Archives then requested that the Justice Department open an investigation into Trump’s practices.
White House staff also regularly discovered wads of paper clogging toilets, leading them to believe that Trump tried to get rid of certain documents, according to a forthcoming book by New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman.
Although this investigation may not have legal consequences, it may have political consequences for the former president. During the 2016 campaign, he used as a political weapon the accusations against his Democratic rival, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, for using his personal email for official business while in office, between 2009 and 2013.
This case ended with quite damaging revelations for the Democratic candidate’s campaign just days before the 2016 presidential election, which she lost to Trump.
The investigations into the taking of the Capitol of January 6, 2021
For weeks, Washington has been hanging on to congressional hearings into the Jan. 6 attack on Capitol Hill by a mob of Trump supporters and their attempts to nullify the election.
Those responsible for the attack on January 6, 2021 must “respond to the law,” he added at the beginning of the last public hearing.
Former President Donald Trump “recklessly blazed a trail of lawlessness and corruption” during the storming of the US Capitol last year, the head of a congressional committee investigating the attack, Bennie Thompson, charged on July 21.
The members of the committee claim that the former president followed the violence of his followers for three hours without reacting, “violating his duty as commander in chief.”
The protesters sought to prevent the victory of Trump’s Democratic rival, Joe Biden, from being certified in the 2020 presidential election.
The US Justice Department is also investigating the attack. But Attorney General Merrick Garland has yet to point the finger at anyone.
“We have to hold accountable all the people who are criminally responsible for trying to overturn a legitimate election,” he said recently, stressing that “no person is above the law.”
More grand jury appearances and more subpoenas are expected, we must continue to pay close attention to the former president will cooperate with federal authorities.
His interference in the elections in Georgia
Efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election are also being investigated in the state of Georgia.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis formed a special grand jury and investigators interviewed dozens of witnesses.
Trump pressured Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, to “find” enough votes to reverse Biden’s victory. He also called the top election investigator for the state of Georgia and urged her to identify voting irregularities in the state, and contacted Gov. Brian Kemp and state Attorney General Chris Carr, both Republicans.
Prosecutors are examining calls from Trump, as well as testimony Trump allies gave to Georgia state lawmakers in December 2020, and the plan to certify a list of fake state voters to challenge election results. .
Trump has defended himself, in January alleging “misconduct by the Prosecutor’s Office” at a rally in Texas, in which he called for a protest against “radical, cruel and racist prosecutors”, which led Willis to request a reinforced security escort from the FBI .
The Trump Organization investigations
New York state authorities have been investigating the Trump Organization’s business practices, including whether the group misled lenders and tax authorities about its real estate values.
However, in March, the prosecutor leading an investigation into the former president’s finances resigned due to the decision of the new Manhattan District Attorney, Alvin Bragg, not to proceed with the prosecution against Trump.
The investigation delved into whether Trump fraudulently overvalued multiple assets to secure loans and then undervalued them to minimize taxes.
It was launched by Bragg’s predecessor, Cyrus Vance, and Bragg took over the case when he took over in January.
Prosecutor Mark Pomerantz argued that Trump is “guilty of numerous serious crimes,” according to his resignation letter published by The New York Times .
New York State Attorney General Letitia James is also launching a civil investigation into the Trump family conglomerate’s property valuation and tax reporting practices.
What was the FBI looking for?
The FBI raid and search for documents Monday at Trump’s Florida residence was related to the possible mishandling of classified documents that had been sent to Mar-a-Lago after he left the White House in January 2021. .
Justice Department officials declined to provide a reason for the unprecedented move against a former president.
The recovery of the boxes raised questions about Trump’s adherence to presidential records laws enacted after the 1970s Watergate scandal that require Oval Office occupants to keep records.
Trump called the search “procedural misconduct” and an attack “an attack by Democrats on the radical left who desperately don’t want me to run for president in 2024.”
Donald Trump heading to 2024
The FBI’s actions on Monday have left Trump well positioned, allowing him to claim that he is a victim of institutional forces trying to destroy him. The story once again made Republicans rally around him at a time when his ascendancy in the party seemed to be losing steam.
“There is no mountain that we cannot climb, there is no summit that we cannot reach, there is no challenge that we cannot meet,” Trump said in the video, which included a lengthy criticism of the Democratic administration of President Joe Biden. “We will not give in, we will not give in.”
The announcement was followed by calls to raise funds for the party in which the raid was highlighted.
Trump, 76, is a viable candidate for 2024 after surviving two impeachment trials and a wide-scale investigation into his ties to Russia while he was president.
The raid was denounced by a group of congressmen, governors and Republican candidates for the November legislative elections, who also argued that the US Department of Justice acted with political motivations.
Alyssa Farah Griffin, a former top Trump White House adviser, told CNN on Tuesday that if the result of the raid turns out to be disappointing to the public, outrage among Republican voters could help Trump secure the nomination. your party.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis called the raid “another escalation by federal agencies against political opponents (of the government).”
DeSantis is seen as a potential rival to Trump for the 2024 Republican presidential primary, but he also faces re-election as governor this year and is counting on the backing of Trump loyalists to get him there.
Some Democrats openly worried about the political fallout. Former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo called for the Justice Department to immediately explain the reasons for the raid.
“It must be more than just a search for inconsequential files or it will be seen as a political tactic,” tweeted Cuomo, who resigned as governor a year ago after multiple women accused him of unwanted sexual advances, something he denied.
With information from AFP and Reuters