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You’ve Got to Be Kidding: These Are the Items That Led to the FBI Raid on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago

AP Photo/Julia Nikhinson

Attorney General Merrick Garland held a delayed press conference today to discuss the FBI’s recent ransacking of Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home. Spencer has the story. The DOJ is moving to unseal the search warrant executed for the home of the former president, an unprecedented first in our history. Is it about retrieving documents for the National Archives, which was the initial cover story? We’ll soon know, but at first glance, it looks like the Justice Department is going after the political enemies of Joe Biden. The goodwill that the DOJ and FBI earned over generations died during the 2016 elections, with criticism from both sides. Conservatives slam the FBI for their role in keeping the Russian collusion hoax alive, and the Left hates them for investigating Hillary Clinton’s email server and the allegation that she mishandled classified information, which she did. 


Back to the FBI raid on Trump, do these formerly outstanding items rise to the level of a search warrant? One of the critical documents, if you could call it that, which was sent back to the National Archives was a cocktail napkin. Former President Bill Clinton accidentally left the authorization card for our nuclear arsenal in his suit pocket that was taken for dry cleaning during his presidency. Most rational people would find the latter a more egregious error (via WaPo):

One of the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss its details, said agents were conducting a court-authorized search as part of a long-running investigation of whether documents — some of them top-secret — were taken to the former president’s private golf club and residence instead of sent to the National Archives when Trump left office. That could be a violation of the Presidential Records Act, which requires the preservation of memos, letters, notes, emails, faxes and other written communications related to a president’s official duties.


In January, the National Archives and Records Administration retrieved 15 boxes of documents and other items from Mar-a-Lago that Archives officials said should have been turned over when Trump left the White House.

“The Presidential Records Act is critical to our democracy, in which the government is held accountable by the people,” David S. Ferriero, then the archivist of the United States, said in a statement in February.

At the time, Ferriero said in a statement that Trump representatives were “continuing to search” for additional records. Trump was resistant to giving over the records for months, advisers said at the time.

Some of the materials Trump took included letters and notes from foreign leaders, such as North Korea’s Kim Jong Un.

The inventory of unclassified items in the boxes that were recovered earlier this year from Mar-a-Lago is roughly 100 pages long, according to a person familiar with that document. Descriptions of items that were improperly taken to Mar-a-Lago include a cocktail napkin, a phone list, charts, slide decks, letters, memos, maps, talking points, a birthday dinner menu, schedules and more, this person said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss details of the ongoing investigation.

There is a separate inventory for just the classified materials that were taken to the former president’s Florida residence, this person said. If the unclassified version of the classified inventory were organized in the same way as the inventory of nonclassified items, it would be about three pages long, according to this person.


It was not immediately clear on Monday why FBI agents would conduct a search related to the documents many months after the 15 boxes of material were retrieved. A sitting president is the top classification authority in the government, giving that person far more leeway than most government employees in deciding what is and isn’t classified.


It's "not immediately clear" why the FBI did a retread of the search regarding the 15 boxes of unclassified documents that were already retrieved by the National Archives last winter. Really? Even The Washington Post found that aspect mystifying that the FBI would issue a search warrant on returned items. It almost seems like all the DOJ and FBI’s actions against the former president constitute a massive witch hunt. We’ll know more once the search warrant is unsealed, but if cocktail napkins and menus are what’s left at the end of this raid operation, then the bureau’s public relations nightmare has indeed reached new levels in their descent into hell.

These were the items that set the raid into motion. What a circus. 


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