Photograph: Steve Helber/AP
Federal investigators searched donald trump’s Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach after an informant told them he might be storing classified records at his private club, the Wall Street Journal has reported.
Monday’s search reportedly came two months after federal law enforcement officials arrived at Mar-a-Lago to discuss boxes of government documents stored there.
Related: FBI Subpoenas GOP Lawmakers as Trump Silent on Mar-a-Lago Search – Live
Federal authorities searched Trump’s sprawling South Florida residence after obtaining a warrant to search for classified and White House records that the US justice department thought Trump had illegally kept, two sources previously told reporters. TheGuardian.
The warrant, executed by FBI agents, implied that this investigation involving Trump is a strictly criminal investigation.
The sources said justice department officials were concerned that these records were being illegally kept at Mar-a-Lago following recent discussions by government attorneys with Trump’s legal team. The unprecedented search of a former president’s residence marked the climax of a fight between Trump and his open disdain for the Presidential Records Act of 1978, which requires the preservation of official records, and the parties charged with upholding that law.
The search for and reports about an FBI informant in or around Trump’s inner circle has drawn condemnation from Trump loyalists, who framed the search in partisan terms and used it as a call to action to raise funds and mobilize voters for the November election.
Georgia’s far-right Republican congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene derided any potential whistleblower as a “traitor.”
“Now we know there was an FBI informant at Mar-a-Lago, who is that, and how many other FBI informants are around President Trump on a daily basis, working at his clubs, working at Mar-a-Lago, or maybe… Bedminster or on your staff? Greene said on his web show, according to Newsweek.
The Journal report recounted discussions between justice department officials and Trump’s attorneys over these records. On June 3, a high-ranking Justice Department official and three FBI agents went to Trump’s home in Mar-a-Lago “to discuss boxes with government records sitting in a basement storage room along with suits, sweaters and golf shoes.”
Trump and his team seemed unaware of the possible seriousness of the situation during this meeting, the newspaper said. “The former president even showed up at the June 3 meeting at Mar-a-Lago and shook hands,” the Journal reported. A source told the Journal that Trump said, “‘I appreciate the work you’re doing…anything you need, let us know.'”
The FBI sent a letter several days later asking for a more secure padlock to be placed on the storage room door. “However, in the following weeks, someone familiar with the documents in storage told investigators that there could be even more classified documents in the private club,” the Journal reported.
The potential presence of these records follows the removal of 15 boxes by the National Archives earlier this year. Justice Department officials were skeptical that Trump’s team was forthright about the records still in his home, a source told the newspaper.
The search warrant alluded to the Presidential Records Act and a possible violation of the statute governing classified records, a Trump attorney said. Trump has not disclosed this warrant or discussed the records removed by federal agents.
Kevin McCarthy, the House Republican minority leader, said the justice department had reached “an intolerable state of armed politicization.” When Republicans take back the House, McCarthy said they will oversee the justice department and warned Attorney General Merrick Garland to “keep your papers and clear your calendar.”