- The FBI searched Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home in August 2022 to obtain classified documents.
- Before the raid, FBI agents were reluctant to conduct a surprise raid, according to The Washington Post.
- Some agents wanted to believe Trump’s attorney’s claims that they had already conducted a thorough search.
Two months before the FBI conducted an unprecedented raid on a former president’s home that seized more than 100 classified documents, some agents were keen to believe that Donald Trump’s lawyers had already conducted a thorough search of the Mar-a-Lago premises in Palm Beach, Florida.
A Wednesday report from The Washington Post revealed how FBI agents and Justice Department prosecutors prepared ahead of the months leading up to the March 8 raid in Mar-a-Lago.
While some FBI officials have been pushing to get Trump’s consent to search his property, other field officials wanted to drop the criminal investigation entirely by early June after Trump’s attorneys claimed they conducted a “diligent search” of Mar-a-Lago , said people familiar with the discussions and who spoke to The Post on condition of anonymity to speak about a sensitive investigation.
On June 3, 2022, some FBI agents and a DOJ official convened in Mar-a-Lago to retrieve remaining classified documents that were in Trump’s possession. Christina Bobb, one of Trump’s attorneys, signed a letter certifying that a diligent search had been completed, according to a court filing.
That allegation convinced some at the FBI that the criminal case should be dropped, people with knowledge of the matter told the Post.
A senior law enforcement official told the publication that dropping the investigation would not have been considered by FBI leadership and would not have been approved.
Despite concerns from some FBI agents about the investigation, prosecutors insisted on gathering more evidence and urged the FBI to conduct more witness interviews and obtain surveillance footage from Mar-a-Lago, The Post reported.
Video obtained by investigators showed someone removing boxes from an area where documents were being held, according to the Post’s report, which alerted prosecutors. The New York Times previously reported that security footage showed a longtime Trump aide moving boxes from a storage room before and after the DOJ issued a subpoena in May requesting all classified documents.
Legal experts told the Post that FBI agents might not have been able to recover the classified documents if the criminal case had concluded in early June.
The FBI declined to comment.