Former president Donald Trump suggests FBI agents could have been ‘planting’ evidence during Mar-a-Lago raid

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By Amar Mehta, Sky News

11th August 2022 – (Florida) Donald Trump has hinted that the FBI could have been “planting” evidence at his Mar-a-Lago resort during a raid on Monday.

Writing on his social media site Truth Social on Wednesday, the former president criticised the search at his Florida residence.

FBI agents reportedly seized a dozen boxes as part of an investigation into the handling of presidential documents.

Mr Trump said the agency wouldn’t “let anyone, including my lawyers, be anywhere near the areas that were rummaged and otherwise looked at during the raid”.

“Everyone was asked to leave the premises, they wanted to be left alone, without any witnesses to see what they were doing, taking or, hopefully not, ‘planting’,” he said.Advertisement

“Why did they STRONGLY insist on having nobody watching them, everybody out? Obama and Clinton were never ‘raided,’ despite big disputes!”

In a separate statement, Mr Trump hit out at Attorney General Letitia James, whom he claims has launched a “political attack on me, my family and my great company in her despicable attempt to fulfil that cynical and very corrupt promise”.

He claims that Ms James has campaigned on a policy of “Get and Destroy Trump”.

Sky News has contacted the FBI, the US Department of Justice and Ms James’s office for comment.

‘Dark times for our nation’

On 8th August, FBI agents entered Mr Trump’s residence in Mar-a-Lago with a search warrant, and a senior US official said agents were at the estate in Palm Beach for the “majority” of Monday.

The US Justice Department has been investigating the discovery of boxes of records containing classified information that were taken to the property after Mr Trump’s presidency ended.

They were retrieved in January by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), which then asked the Justice Department to examine whether Mr Trump’s handling of White House records violated federal law.

It noted that some of the boxes contained items “marked as classified national security information”.

Mr Trump later gave details of the operation, claiming the action represented “dark times for our nation” and was “not necessary or appropriate”.

His lawyer Christina Bobb, who said she was there during the search, told NBC News some papers had been seized.

Ms Bobb said Mr Trump and his team have been “co-operative with FBI and DOJ officials every step of the way”, adding that the bureau “did conduct an unannounced raid and seized paper”.

White House not given heads up

Any search of a private residence would have to be approved by a judge.

The search is also likely to have been approved by FBI Director Christopher Wray, a Trump appointee, and his boss, Attorney General Merrick Garland, who was appointed by President Joe Biden.

“This is as big a deal as you can have, and… every single person in the chain would have had to sign off on this,” Phillip Halpern, a former federal prosecutor, said.

Hours before agents searched the premises, the FBI notified the Secret Service about the bureau’s plans to execute the warrant, according to a Secret Service official.

The Secret Service facilitated access to the property, the official said, but did not take part in any aspect of the search.

The White House said it was not given a heads-up about the search.

“We did not have notice of the reported action and would refer you to the Justice Department for any additional information,” an official said.

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