What We Know About The FBI Raid At Mar-A-LAgo

Kevin Alexander

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President Trump appearing at a rally earlier this year.Evan El-AMin/Shutterstock

Federal agents searched former President Donald Trump's Mar-A-Lago estate this past Tuesday. Trump, who wasn't present when the warrant was served, released a statement describing the search as an "unannounced raid" and noting that agents "even broke into my safe!"

To get authorization for a warrant, investigators need to establish probable cause that a crime has been committed and that evidence of said crime could be found at the former president's residence. Neither the Justice Department nor the FBI has commented publicly on it. For his part, Trump has not stated why the search was conducted, nor has he released the contents of the warrant itself. That paperwork is required to list specifically what agents are looking for and where they can or cannot look.

So what does this mean?

The lawfare blog has a comprehensive Q & A on what this development may or may not mean.

Little information is public, but the Washington Post first reported that the National Archives retrieved a tranche of documents from Trump's Mar-a-Lago home in January 2022. In February, the Archives announced that it had "identified items marked as classified national security information within the boxes" that Trump stored at the property. And in April, the Post and the New York Times reported that the Justice Department had begun investigating how boxes of classified documents improperly made their way from the White House to Mar-a-Lago after the end of the Trump presidency.

What was in the warrant?

Again, law enforcement can't comment on the contents of the warrant. But Trump can release the content if he so chooses. So far, he has not done so.

What's next?

It's not clear if Trump is about to be indicted-or even if he was the primary subject of the warrant. Further, even if he is found guilty of destroying federal records, it's not sure that it would prevent him from running again in 2024. His eligibility is almost certain to be challenged, but for now, it remains to be seen.

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