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analysis | 10 Questions About the FBI Raid on Trump’s Residence in Mar-a-Lago

(CNN) — We are back in unknown territory.

The FBI has never raided the residence of the former US president, let alone one preparing to run for office.

Federal agents armed with a search warrant approved by a federal judge searched former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort on Monday, confiscating boxes of unspecified items.

Trump referred to the action as a “raid” and said that Mar-a-Lago was “under siege”, noting that “they also broke my vault.”

What was the FBI looking for?

Three people familiar with the situation told CNN the search is part of an investigation into the president’s handling of documents, some classified, that could have been taken to the residence.

The break-in, Trump’s son Eric said in an appearance on Fox Monday night, pertains to the National Archives.

“The National Archives wanted, you know, to confirm whether Donald Trump had the documents,” he said.

What is required to get a search warrant?

According to CNN’s Tierney Snead: “Investigators must present before a judge that there is probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed and that there is evidence of that crime at Mar-a-Lago.”

Therefore, he may have assumed that Trump did not turn over all the documents soon enough, experts told Sneed.

Who approved the raid?

The FBI is headed by Trump-appointed Christopher Wray. The Justice Department is headed by Merrick Garland, a Biden-appointed man who has disappointed many Democrats with the delay in investigating Trump. Investigators convinced a federal judge they needed a warrant to search the former president’s home.

“The fact that a federal judge approved it shows they have something in there, we don’t know what it is,” George Conway, a conservative anti-Trump lawyer, told CNN’s “New Day.” said in the presence.

How Much Current Investigation Is Involving Trump?

Main line of the CNN report:

The Justice Department has two known active investigations related to the former president, one in an attempt to overturn the 2020 and January 6, 2021 presidential elections, and the other into the handling of classified documents.

It is because of January 6, rather than documents, that many Americans would prefer to see Trump impeached, especially after hearings this summer by a House committee investigating the rebellion. ,

What is it about flushing documents down the toilet?

Trump’s disregard for record preservation is well known. It is said that he hides things from employees and regularly torn papers into small pieces.

New York Times reporter and CNN contributor Maggie Haberman, who has an upcoming book on Trump, obtained photos of torn documents, apparently in Trump’s handwriting in thick black ink, flushed on White House toilets and during foreign trips. to be done. You can read more here.

New York Times reporter confirms Trump’s bad habit of plumbing and his presidency 2:57

Yes, we’ve come across photos of documents in toilets as part of the Trump saga. No, the documents in the toilet have nothing to do with the FBI search at Mar-a-Lago.

Why does Trump like this attention?

Despite his potential legal risk, Trump clearly sees a political advantage in all of this. He is provoking his followers, asking them for money and claiming that the government is behind them.

Trump’s critics hope that what they find out about the FBI investigation will be enough to push back conspiracy theories already running.

“I hope it goes beyond not complying with certain filing laws, or the DOJ giving Donald Trump the Republican nomination and potentially the presidency,” said Alyssa Farah Griffin, former White House communications director for Trump. former boss.

“If this is seen as some kind of massive redundancy and not incredibly serious, it’s a very good day for Donald Trump,” he said Tuesday on CNN’s “New Day.”

Griffin argued that he knew how to manipulate the situation to his political advantage, noting that he essentially broke the news with a post on his Truth social account.

How are Republicans reacting to the raid?

To find out how Republicans view the search, check out their answers.

While Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who is not a close friend of Trump, declined to comment, others picked up on the former president’s claim that it is a form of harassment.

Several GOP senators said that Garland should step down as attorney general. Others said they could proceed to impeach him if he regained control of the Senate after the November midterm elections.

“Garland should resign or be impeached. The search warrant should be published. Christoper (sic) Ray should be removed. And the FBI reformed from top to bottom,” wrote on twitter Missouri Senator Josh Hawley.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said the raid looked like a less free country.

“The FBI raid is unprecedented for the United States, but familiar to those in Florida who have fled countries where political protest was criminalized,” said on twitter,

When did this conflict take shape?

CNN’s Holmes Lybrand and Marshall Cohen have been following the development ever since we learned that Trump had a run-in with the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), which eventually led the Justice Department to investigate the incident. Told. Possible mishandling of classified documents removed by Trump brought to the White House and Mar-a-Lago.

This is the general program they put together:

  • May 2021: NARA contacts Trump’s team about important documents that were not released before he left office.
  • Fall 2021: NARA is frustrated by the slow delivery of documents and contacts another Trump lawyer.
  • January 2022: NARA recovered 15 boxes of documents from Mar-a-Lago, in a pre-arranged deal with the Trump team.
  • January 31, 2022: NARA says some of the documents recovered from the White House were “torn by former President Trump.”
  • February 9, 2022: Media reports NARA asks Justice Department to investigate Trump’s handling of White House files.
  • February 18, 2022: NARA says classified records were found in documents recovered from Mar-a-Lago.
  • April and May 2022: The FBI interviewed Trump’s advisers at Mar-a-Lago.
  • 12 May 2022: Media reports that federal investigators summoned NARA to access classified documents taken at Mar-a-Lago.
  • 3 June 2022: FBI investigators visit Mar-a-Lago, see Trump briefly, meet with Trump’s lawyers, and see where the documents are kept.
  • 8 June 2022: The FBI informed Trump’s lawyers that they should further secure the room where the documents are kept; Later they add a lock.
  • 8 August 2022: The FBI executed a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago as part of a document investigation; Agents remove boxes from property.

Wasn’t it Trump supporters who chanted “Shut her down” about Hillary Clinton and classified information?

As a candidate in 2016, Trump made the handling of Hillary Clinton’s classified data as one of his main campaign issues as US Secretary of State.

Suggesting that he had broken the law with the reckless handling of classified data on a private email server system set by the FBI, Trump supporters led chants of “stop him” at his rallies.

Now, it is Trump who is the subject of an FBI investigation into his handling of classified data.

What could Trump face legally?

We don’t know at all. He has not been charged with any offence. CNN’s Katelyn Polantz and Laura Jarrett have previously discussed whether Trump could be charged with a crime if he misrepresented federal documents.

To be accused of illegally withholding or destroying documents, prosecutors must prove that they “intentionally” broke the law, which can be a very complicated thing to prove.

With regard to classified documents, Trump could theoretically argue that as president he declassified any documents he was in possession of, although this may be difficult if there is no paper trail of declassification.

At least one Democrat considers it extremely serious for the former president.

“If Donald Trump were my client, and thank God, I would tell him to call his family and say, ‘We should make arrangements, he can go to jail,'” said Neil Katyal, a former acting attorney. The general told CNN of the Obama administration.

don’t miss these stories

  • No problem: A source told CNN that Trump’s aide and Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano’s virtual appearance before a January 6 House committee on Tuesday ended without answering a single question.
  • Other Witnesses: Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was also scheduled to hold a meeting with the Commission.
  • tax time: A federal appeals court says the House Ways and Means Committee can obtain Trump’s tax returns from the IRS.
  • To appear Giuliani’s long drive: After stent surgery on his heart, former Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani is unable to fly to appear next week in front of a post-election Georgia grand jury probing the 2020 election. A judge says they should explore road trip options.

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