- The FBI raided Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home to recover classified documents on August 2022.
- Before the search, FBI agents were reluctant to conduct a surprise raid, per The Washington Post.
- Some agents wanted to believe Trump’s lawyer’s claims that they’d already conducted a thorough search.
Two months before the FBI executed an unprecedented raid of a former president’s home, seizing more than 100 classified documents, some agents wanted to believe that Donald Trump’s attorneys 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 clashed on how to proceed with a criminal probe into Trump’s handling of classified records prior to the months that led up to the Mar-a-Lago raid on August 8, 2022.
While some FBI officials pushed to get consent from Trump to search his property, other field agents wanted to close the criminal investigation entirely by early June after Trump’s attorneys claimed they conducted a “diligent search” of Mar-a-Lago, according to people familiar with the discussions and who spoke to The Post on the condition of anonymity to talk about a sensitive investigation.
On June 3, 2022, a few FBI agents and a DOJ official convened at Mar-a-Lago to retrieve remaining classified documents that were in Trump’s possession. Christina Bobb, one of Trump’s attorneys, signed a letter attesting that a careful search was completed, according to a court filing.
This claim convinced some with the FBI that the criminal case should be closed, people with knowledge of the matter told the Post.
A senior law enforcement official told the publication that closing the investigation was not considered by FBI leadership and would not have been approved.
Despite misgivings from some FBI agents about the probe, prosecutors were adamant to gather more evidence and told the FBI to conduct more witness interviews and obtain Mar-a-Lago surveillance footage, The Post reported.
Video obtained by investigators showed someone moving boxes away from an area where documents were stored, alarming prosecutors, according to The Post report. The New York Times previously reported that security footage showed a longtime Trump staffer moving boxes out of 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 may have not been able to recover the classified documents if the criminal case was closed earlier in June.
The FBI declined to comment.
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