A November 22, 2018 photo shows US President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach.[Source: CBS NEWS]
Former President Donald Trump said Monday that Mar-a-Lago, the Florida club where he lives, is “currently under siege, raided, and occupied by a large group of FBI agents.”
“Nothing like this has ever happened to a President of the United States before,” Trump said in a statement.
“After working and cooperating with the relevant Government agencies, this unannounced raid on my home was not necessary or appropriate.”
While there are not many details known about the raid, Trump said “they even broke into my safe!” A source close to Trump confirmed to CBS News that the former president was not at Mar-a-Lago on Monday.
Two sources confirmed to CBS News that the raid was connected to White House records.
In February, the National Archives asked the Justice Department to investigate Trump’s handling of White House records.
The National Archives said in February that some of the documents Trump turned over to them had been ripped up and taped back together, and that classified materials were found amid 15 boxes of records it retrieved from Mar-a-Lago in January.
On Monday, New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman released photos from her upcoming book that appeared to show at least two instances where Trump tried to flush documents down the toilet.
Under the Presidential Records Act, documents received and sent by the president are required to be preserved by the office.
Trump in his statement called the raid an “attack by Radical Left Democrats who desperately don’t want me to run for President in 2024.”
A senior Trump source called the raid “expressly political.”
Trump spoke over the weekend at the CPAC convention in Dallas, where he repeated the false claim that he won the 2020 election and said “now we may have to do it again,” alluding to a 2024 run. He has been active in holding rallies for his endorsed candidates in the 2022 midterm primaries.
At the end of his statement Monday, Trump called for donations to his “Save America” PAC.
A senior White House official tells CBS News the West Wing was given no advanced heads up of the FBI raid on former President Trump’s Florida home.
“No advance knowledge — some (in the White House) learned from old media, some from social media,” said the senior official, who was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter.
The Biden White House has gone to great lengths to limit the president and senior officials’ interactions with top Justice Department officials to avoid any hint of political pressure or impropriety.
The decision to do so stems from the president’s campaign pledge to stay out of Justice Department affairs but also from the fact that president and his family are waiting to see whether federal prosecutors will indict Hunter Biden on tax evasion or other federal charges.
There are several investigations known to be underway into the former president, although a civil probe by New York Attorney General Letitia James into the Trump Organization and an inquiry in Fulton County, Georgia into whether Trump and his allies interfered in the 2020 election would likely not require involvement from federal authorities.
Following the House Jan. 6 committee’s blockbuster public hearings this summer, the Justice Department began an investigation into a scheme by Trump allies to put up phony electors in seven battleground states that President Joe Biden won.