FBI Agents Were Seeking Classified Records, Took Boxes of Documents From Trump Home: Lawyer
The FBI agents who raided former President Donald Trump’s Florida home were looking for certain records, according to a lawyer for Trump who was on the scene while agents were at the resort.
“They’re looking for presidential records, what they deemed to be presidential records, and anything that could potentially be classified,” attorney Christina Bobb told The Epoch Times on Aug. 9.
“We had been very cooperative with them before. And it’s unclear to me why they went to such drastic measures to do this. But they did. And as far as the probable cause goes, they wouldn’t give that to us.”
In mid-January, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) arranged for the transport of 15 boxes from Mar-a-Lago that the archives said contained presidential records. Under the Presidential Records Act, the records should have been transferred in January 2021 as Trump left office, and some of the boxes contained classified information, the archives said in a statement at the time.
NARA officials didn’t respond to an Aug. 9 inquiry by The Epoch Times.
About two dozen FBI agents arrived around 9 a.m. on Aug. 8 and remained at Mar-a-Lago, which is in West Palm Beach, for about 10 hours.
Agents initially resisted showing Bobb the warrant but ultimately did. However, they wouldn’t allow any representatives of the former president to oversee the search, she said. The justification for the search also remains under seal.
Trump’s legal team plans to ask the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida to unseal the search warrant affidavit, which would outline why authorities asked for the warrant.
“We don’t know what the probable cause is,” Bobb said. “I don’t think there is a good cause to do such a drastic thing. But they did.”
The FBI has declined to comment. The Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence haven’t returned requests for comment. The White House has said the DOJ is independent and that President Joe Biden and others in the White House were not notified of the raid ahead of time.
Agents kept Mar-a-Lago neat while they were searching for documents, with one even picking up trash, according to Bobb. The agents “took a handful of boxes of documents,” she said.
“I don’t think that there was anything incriminating. I don’t think there was anything of substance. So I’m sure that they will say otherwise. But we’ll have to wait and see what they come up with, but it was all paper. I hear the conspiracy theories and the rumors that there were other artifacts or something taken—it was all paper,” she said.
Agents previously had visited the resort in June, and were given access to a storage facility there, according to Bobb.
“Nothing had been hidden and nothing had been kept secret from them, which makes this all more all the more ridiculous,” she said.
“Donald Trump didn’t commit a crime,” she said, adding that prosecutors wouldn’t be able to show that the former president knew about the boxes taken by the FBI.
“They would have to lay the foundation that Donald Trump actually packed up his own office, and Donald Trump was actually the custodian of these records, and that he actually moved them.”
If the DOJ decides to press charges against Trump, the effort won’t get very far, she predicted.
“I just don’t see it making a bit of difference. I think President Trump is going to most likely run for reelection,” she said. “I can’t wait until he does. And he will be the next president of the United States.”
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Ex-FBI Official Could Testify on Claims Agency Inflated ‘Domestic Violent Extremism’ Numbers
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) is calling on former FBI Counterterrorism Division Assistant Director Jill Sanborn to testify regarding whistleblower claims that agents were pressured to reclassify cases as “domestic violent extremism” even if they did not meet the criteria.
In a letter to Sanborn on Aug. 10 the Republican lawmaker, who serves as the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, wrote that the whistleblower allegations that the FBI is pushing agents to inflate the numbers of domestic violent extremism cases are among many that he and other members of the committee are investigating that concern “the politicization of the FBI.”
Sanborn served as Counterterrorism Division assistant director at the law enforcement agency and then as executive assistant director at the National Security branch between January 2020 and April 2021, until she left the federal service.
According to Jordan, the whistleblower revealed that Sanborn was among officials in the FBI who allegedly led the pressure campaign on agents to reclassify cases as domestic violent extremism, or DVE.
“One whistleblower explained that because agents are not finding enough DVE cases, they are encouraged and incentivized to reclassify cases as DVE cases even though there is minimal, circumstantial evidence to support the reclassification,” Jordan wrote.
“Another whistleblower stated that a field office Counterterrorism Assistant Special Agent in Charge and the FBI’s then Assistant Director of the Counterterrorism Division pressured agents to move cases into the DVE category to hit self-created performance metrics. This whistleblower identified you as one official who exerted pressure on agents to reclassify cases as DVE matters.”
‘Padding Domestic Terrorism Data Is Scandalous’
“Your testimony is necessary to advance our oversight, we, therefore, ask that you contact the Committee to schedule a transcribed interview as soon as possible but no later than 5.00 p.m. on August 24, 2022,” he wrote in the letter, which was also signed by Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.).
The Epoch Times has contacted the FBI for comment.
Jordan first revealed the whistleblower allegations in a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray on July 27 (pdf).
“Given the narrative pushed by the Biden Administration that domestic violent extremism is the ‘greatest threat’ facing our country, the revelation that the FBI may be artificially padding domestic terrorism data is scandalous,” the lawmaker wrote in his letter to Wray.
According to the FBI, domestic violent extremist is defined as “an individual based and operating primarily within the United States or its territories without direction or inspiration from a foreign terrorist group or other foreign power who seeks to further political or social goals wholly or in part through unlawful acts of force or violence.”
The Biden administration has said that domestic terrorism is the most urgent threat currently facing the United States.
Following the Jan. 6 breach of the U.S. Capitol, the creation of a new unit in the Justice Department to counter domestic terrorism was announced. At the time, officials said that the number of FBI investigations of suspected violent extremists had more than doubled since the spring of 2020.
However, Jordan is among a number of Republican lawmakers who have expressed concerns that both the Justice Department and FBI have become politicized.
The lawmakers’ letter to Sanborn comes shortly after the Florida Mar-a-Lago home of former President Donald Trump was raided by FBI agents, prompting Republican leaders to condemn the move and accuse the Biden administration again of weaponizing the Justice Department for political purposes.