Trump solicits donations after FBI raid of his Mar-a-Lago home

WASHINGTON, Aug 9 (Reuters) – Former U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday tried to turn news that the FBI had raided his Florida estate to his advantage, citing the investigation in text messages and emails seeking political donations from his supporters.

The unprecedented search marked a significant escalation in the federal investigation into whether Trump illegally deleted White House records as he left office in January 2021. Trump continues to publicly flirt with running for president again. presidency in 2024, but has not made it clear whether he will.

Trump tried to portray the search of his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach as a politically motivated move by President Joe Biden’s administration, even as the former president plays a key role in the Republican primaries ahead of the election November midterms that will determine control of the US Congress.

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“They are trying to stop the Republican Party and me once again,” Trump said in a fundraising email on Tuesday. “Anarchy, political persecution and witch hunts must be exposed and stopped.”

Trump launched his Save America political action committee days after losing the 2020 election to Biden. He has over $100 million in the bank, a formidable war chest. Read more

His Republican allies in Congress have vowed to launch an investigation into the research itself if they regain control of the House or Senate in November. House Republicans, including Representative Jim Banks, were scheduled to meet Trump at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, on Tuesday. Read more

The Justice Department and FBI declined to comment on or even confirm the research, which Trump revealed in a statement Monday.


The FBI could not have conducted the search without the approval of a judge who confirmed there was probable cause. The request would almost certainly also be endorsed by FBI Director Christopher Wray, a Trump appointee, and his boss, Attorney General Merrick Garland, who was appointed by Biden.

A White House official said Biden was not given advance notice of the search.

“This search warrant, in my opinion, has probably been subject to more scrutiny than any search warrant in the history of the Department of Justice,” said David Laufman, a former government official. Department of Justice which oversaw prosecutions for national security offences.

The FBI visited Trump’s property earlier this year to investigate boxes in a locked storage room, according to a person familiar with the visit. FBI agents and a Trump attorney, Evan Corcoran, spent a day reviewing the documents, the source said.

Corcoran did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The search is only an investigative step and does not mean Trump will automatically face criminal charges, or be found guilty of any wrongdoing.

It is a criminal offense to conceal or destroy government records. Anyone found guilty of violating a US law called the Government Records Act would be barred from holding federal office and could face a prison sentence of up to three years.

Legal experts said it was unclear whether the disqualification provision was constitutional. The Constitution of the United States sets out the qualifications required to be President, Senator, or Representative of the United States. Previous Supreme Court decisions have ruled that Congress cannot limit the list of eligible office holders.

This means that if Trump were to be convicted, he would likely challenge any attempt to disqualify him again, perhaps in front of a United States Supreme Court whose 6-3 conservative majority includes three justices he appointed.

“It’s uncertain whether the prohibition under the Government Records Act is constitutional,” said Mitchell Epner, a Rottenberg Lipman Rich attorney and former federal prosecutor. “It’s absolutely there and it would in all likelihood be something that would end up being contentious.”

The document probe is one of many that have focused on Trump since he left office, weeks after his supporters stormed the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, in an attempt unsuccessful to undo his electoral defeat. Trump continues to falsely claim the election was stolen by widespread voter fraud. Read more

Trump remains the most influential voice in the Republican Party, although recent polls show Florida Governor Ron DeSantis growing in stature as a potential 2024 nominee.

But Trump has weathered numerous political scandals, and observers said this FBI research could bolster his standing with Republican voters.

“The Biden administration is just adding rocket fuel to Trump’s campaign prospects and energizing his supporters who want him to run again,” said Ron Bonjean, a Republican strategist in Washington. “There should be more transparency around the decision to have this FBI raid because it seems too political and allows Trump to say he is being unfairly attacked.”

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Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch in Washington and Karen Freifeld in New York, additional reporting by Brian Ellsworth, Jim Oliphant, Luc Cohen, David Morgan and Steve Holland; Editing by Scott Malone, Will Dunham and Alistair Bell

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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