A senior government official told NBC News that the FBI was in Mar-a-Largo “most of the day” and confirmed that the search warrant was tied to the National Archives.
This year, Trump had to return 15 boxes of documents that had been improperly taken from the White House, the National Archives and Records Administration, or NARA, said in February.
“In mid-January 2022, NARA arranged for the transportation from the Trump Mar-a-Lago property in Florida to the National Archives of 15 boxes containing presidential records, following discussions with representatives of President Trump in 2021” , the National Archives said in a statement on February 7.
The same month, the National Archives and Records Administration asked the Ministry of Justice to examine whether Trump’s handling of White House records violated federal law, a story first reported by The Washington Post and later confirmed by NBC News sources.
The New York Times Monday reported for the first time the FBI focuses on National Archives documents.
Just hours before agents raided Trump’s residence, the FBI informed the Secret Service of 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 participate in any aspect of the search.
At Justice Department headquarters, a spokesperson declined to comment. An FBI Washington field office official also declined to comment, and an FBI Miami field office official also declined to comment.
A senior Florida law enforcement official confirmed there was “law enforcement activity” in Mar-a-Largo on Monday.
The White House said it was not notified.
“We have not been made aware of the reported action and refer you to the Department of Justice for any further information,” a White House official said.
Trump is not at Mar-a-Lago, his winter home. He often spends his summers at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster in New Jersey.
The FBI raid came days after Attorney General Merrick Garland says NBC New that the “largest investigation” in Justice Department history not only examined the rioters who invaded the Capitol and physically attacked officers, but also whether anyone was “criminally responsible for obstructing the transfer peaceful power from one administration to another. ”
The search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate came just over six years after another FBI action over classified documents that set the stage for Trump’s 2016 Electoral College victory: the former director of the FBI James Comey, July 5, 2016, press conference on Trump’s Democratic rival, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Comey, who broke Justice Department protocol, said at the time that Clinton and his colleagues were “extremely negligent in their handling of very sensitive and highly classified information,” even though he said the facts did not warrant criminal charges.
Trump was a persistent critic of Clinton’s handling of classified documents, affirming in 2016 that it was the “biggest political scandal since Watergate”. It was Comey’s handling of the Clinton affair that served as justification for Trump’s decision to fire Comey. Trump eventually replaced Comey with Christopher Wray. He remains in office.
Dozens of vehicles, many adorned with “Trump 2020” and American flags, were parked outside Mar-a-Lago Monday night in an apparent show of support for the former president.
Meanwhile, Republicans have rallied around their party’s de facto leader, who is eyeing another presidential run.