The FBI has searched former President Donald Trump’s Palm Beach resort Mar-a-Lago as part of an investigation into whether he took classified records from the White House to his Florida residence. That’s according to people familiar with the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation, according to the Associated Press.
The search intensifies the months-long probe into how classified documents ended up in more than a dozen boxes located at Mar-a-Lago earlier this year. It occurs amid a separate grand jury investigation into efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election and adds to the potential legal peril for Trump as he lays the groundwork for another run.
Trump quickly responded on his Truth Social social media platform.
“These are dark times for our nation, as my beautiful home, Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, 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.
The Republican Party was quick to stand behind Trump in online statement.
Trump and his allies sought to cast the search as a weaponization of the criminal justice system and a Democratic-driven effort to keep him from winning another term in 2024 — even though the Biden White House said it had no prior knowledge of it, and the current FBI director, Christopher Wray, was appointed by Trump five years ago and served as a high-ranking official in a Republican-led Justice Department.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis tweeted that the “raid of MAL is another escalation in the weaponizaton of federal agencies.”
Florida’s state Senate Democratic Leader Lauren Book rebutted DeSantis tweeting, “Ron DeSantis is now asserting that the Mar A Lago raid was a political hit job. He’s wrong. No one, not even a former President is above the law.”
Florida’s Agriculture Commissioner and gubernatorial candidate Nikki Fried tweeted, “Ron DeSantis is defending Donald Trump instead of the rule of law.” She will speak in front of the governor’s mansion Tuesday about the search.
Florida’s Republican Senators also tweeted in support of the former president with both echoing Trump’s third-world country remarks from his statement.
“Such an assault could only take place in broken, Third-World Countries,” Trump wrote in his statement.
“Using government power to persecute political opponents is something we have seen many times from 3rd world Marxist dictatorships, but never before in America,” Sen. Marco Rubio tweeted.
“This is 3rd World country stuff. We need answers NOW. The FBI must explain what they were doing today & why,” Sen. Rick Scott tweeted.