Nearly 48 hours after the raid on President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago, the DOJ and FBI remain silent on their purpose for the raid and anything found during the event. Of course, this silence has lent itself much speculation about the FBI’s reasoning for going into Trump’s personal home, especially since the former president was not at home. Even more troubling is the report that Trump’s attorneys were not allowed inside the house during the search.
So, what do we know about the raid so far?
On Wednesday morning, Fox News reported that federal agents were at the Mar-a-Lago residence between 9:00 AM Eastern time and 6:30 PM. Not long after, President Trump announced that there had been a raid at his personal home.
The New York Post is reporting that “the search warrant used by the FBI to enter the palatial Palm Beach property focused solely on presidential records and evidence of classified information being stored there.”
Americans are also talking about the magistrate who signed the search warrant. Newsweek published a “fact check” in which the news outlet explained that U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart was not appointed by President Trump. According to Newsweek, Reinhart was appointed by a panel of district judges, some of whom may have been appointed by the 45th president. Newsweek produced a press release that reads: “The district judges interviewed the five finalists in November of last year. The Court selected Mr. Reinhart to fill the vacant magistrate judgeship.” Tweets from even media personalities had held that Reinhart was a Trump appointee, but this is not correct.
Multiple sources have also confirmed that President Donald Trump’s legal team was not allowed inside the house during the raid. This has prompted some concern by the public that these esteemed agencies might have “planted evidence” at Mar-a-Lago. Fox News holds that thirty plain clothes agents searched the entire 3,000 square feet home, including Melania’s clothing closet and a separate office as well as a basement storage room.
On Tuesday night, Fox News reported that some of the items taken away from the Trump home include a letter from former president Barack Obama as well as a letter from North Korean leader Kim Jung Un. A cocktail napkin and a menu from a birthday party was also confiscated.
Fox News stated that a “legal source” confirmed to their reporters that these boxes had been packed up by the General Services Administration (according to USA.gov, the GSA “manages federal property and provides contracting options for government agencies”) and then shipped to Mar-a-Lago when Trump left the White House in 2021.
It’s also important to know that Trump’s lead attorney, Evan Corcoran, allowed FBI agents into a windowless storage room in May 2022. Here, agents spent several hours going through boxes. Trump had provided fifteen boxes of documents to the National Archives in early 2022, and his legal team had met with FBI investigators in June.
However, sources near the DOJ and FBI say the investigators felt the level of cooperation was waning between Trump’s legal team and the former president. This is what prompted the warrant and raid on Monday.
The Trump family has spent the summer in Bedminster, New Jersey, where Trump owns a golf course. Mar-a-Lago has been closed for the season. Secret Service agents provide security at the estate. Trump’s lawyers were informed about the raid by someone on the grounds (it is unknown exactly whom) and Trump’s attorneys arrived about one hour after the raid began.
According to a retired Secret Service agent speaking to Fox News, the FBI “would not have executed a warrant without notifying the Secret Service first.” He added that the agents likely would have asked to see the warrant and then allow the FBI on to the property.
Not only were staff told to unlock all doors for the FBI (Trump’s attorneys instructed this), but they were also told to allow agents into the Versailles Master Bedroom. One eyewitness described the agents as saying: “We have full access to everything. We can go everywhere.” They also instructed the Trump legal team to “switch off the security cameras,” but Trump’s attorneys refused.