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Mar-a-lago

Marine One lifted off after returning then-President Donald Trump to Mar-a-Lago on March 29, 2019. (Photo: Joyce N. Boghosian/White House)

Trump Says Mar-a-Lago 'Under Siege, Raided, and Occupied' by FBI

"The accountability our democracy desperately needs for its survival might, just might, be a real possibility," said the head of a watchdog group.

Common Dreams staff

This is a developing story… Please check back for possible updates...

Former U.S. President Donald Trump said in a lengthy statement Monday that Mar-a-Lago, his residence in Florida, was "under siege, raided, and occupied" by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

"Donald Trump should be in jail."

Trump claimed the "unannounced raid" was "prosecutorial misconduct, 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 twice-impeached ex-president—who was reportedly at Trump Tower in New York City during the raid in Palm Beach—said of the FBI, "They even broke into my safe!"

"The FBI and U.S. attorney's offices in Washington, D.C., and for the Southern District of Florida didn't immediately respond to requests for comment," according to Politico. Spokespeople at the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) declined to comment.

"The Secret Service and Palm Beach Police Department deferred comment to the FBI," Politico added. "Two sources familiar with the matter said top Biden White House officials were not given advance notice of the raid."

The outlet reported that "two sources familiar with the search said it was related to allegations that Trump allies improperly removed boxes of presidential records from the White House after leaving office—including some that may have included classified information. One of those sources said the raid took 'hours.'"

The DOJ and a congressional select committee are also both investigating the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Trump's speech that day—which featured his "Big Lie" that the 2020 presidential election was stolen—led to his historic second impeachment.

"Donald Trump should be in jail," said Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.). "I'm glad to see the FBI taking steps towards accountability."

Recalling his time as a federal prosecutor, Noah Bookbinder, president of the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), tweeted that "the FBI could only execute a search warrant if a federal judge found probable cause that a crime was committed and that evidence of that crime would likely be found at the place to be searched."

"Given that this was the property of a former president, a judge unquestionably took that responsibility very seriously. No one was casual about this," he said. "More importantly, a large-scale search of a former president's property is a public and aggressive move. It was always going to get a lot of attention and lead to accusations of being political and heavy-handed. There's no way it happened without high-level sign off at the DOJ."

Considering how cautious U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland "has been at every step about anything involving potential wrongdoing by Trump," Bookbinder continued, "there is no way he or his team were going to sign off unless there was a serious ongoing investigation into Trump and important evidence at stake."

Recent reporting "suggested for the first time that it was possible Trump was the target of a DOJ investigation. After today's action, it's hard to doubt that he is," the CREW leader added. "We still don't know whether the Justice Department will actually charge Trump. But it seems quite clear they are seriously investigating, and the accountability our democracy desperately needs for its survival might, just might, be a real possibility."

Read Trump's full statement:

Trump's raid statement


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