Federal agents searched former President Donald Trump’s Florida estate, a move that sent shockwaves through the country. How did the search unfold? What did they find? And what’s next? We’re taking a look at what happened at Mar-a-Lago.
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What happened behind the walls of Mar-a-Lago?
Federal agents searched former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home Monday in Palm Beach, Florida, as part of an investigation into allegations he removed classified documents from the White House when he left office, two people familiar with the search said. Trump claimed the FBI agents “even broke into my safe.” Live updates from the Mar-a-Lago search.
Here’s what we know:
- The search: Monday evening, Trump confirmed the search in a statement in which he raged at a “raid” that amounted to “the weaponization of the Justice System” and an “attack by Radical Left Democrats who desperately don’t want me to run for president in 2024.”
- The investigation: Trump is under investigation by the Justice Department for removing presidential records from the White House and storing them at Mar-a-Lago for up to a year, a potentially serious violation of the law if the records were classified.
- DOJ approval of search: Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe told CNN on Monday night that the search warrant would have been “planned out and reevaluated and legally examined” at the highest levels of the FBI and Justice Department. “I can’t overemphasize how big of a deal this would have been within the Department of Justice and the FBI,” McCabe said.
👉 Trump records investigation timeline: From early red flags to the search at Mar-a-Lago.
Search draws strong reactions, supporters
Many Republicans are rallying around Trump after the search – some more aggressively than others.
What they’re saying:
- House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy and other Republicans vowed to investigate the Department of Justice if their party retakes Congress in November.
- Form New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, urged the Justice Department to explain the search, so it would not become political fodder for Republicans.
- Former Vice President Mike Pence tweeted, “I share the deep concern of millions of Americans over the unprecedented search of the personal residence of President Trump.”
- Furious Trump loyalists descended on Mar-a-Lago to protest. More than 50 protesters, many in patriotic garb, chanted, paraded in cars and waved flags in front of the estate.
📸 Photos: Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate searched by FBI.
Perspectives from the opinion page
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What does it mean for Trump’s political future?
The FBI search raises legal questions about Trump’s future. A section of federal code says anyone determined to have improperly removed government documents would be disqualified from holding federal office. In 2015, some Republicans wondered whether the law could be used to disqualify Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton from serving as president over her use of a private email server for official government business. Could Trump be barred from pursuing a second term? As they were in 2015, experts are dubious. Here’s what you need to know.
A gathering storm of investigations
Of the multiple criminal investigations surrounding Trump, which one was the FBI pursuing? The document probe is one of a handful of federal and state inquiries that press on the former president, his allies of him and his namesake organization – including the effort to overturn the 2020 election and the attack on the US Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 . A breakdown of investigations.
More to know:
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Laura L. Davis is an Audience Editor at USA TODAY. Send her an email at [email protected] or follow along with her de ella adventures de ella – and misadventures – on Twitter. Support quality journalism like this? Subscribe to USA TODAY here.