Donald Trump: why did FBI search Mar-a-Lago home in Florida?

Advertisement

The search comes after 15 boxes containing classified documents were discovered at Donald Trump’s Florida home earlier this year

Former US President Donald Trump has had his Mar-a-Lago property searched by the FBI to investigate how classified White House records ended up at his Florida residence.

Advertisement

At the same time, newly released photos claim to show two instances in which Trump allegedly flushed documents down the toilet, violating the Presidential Records Act.

It has long been known that Trump repeatedly destroyed documents Washington Post Earlier this year, he explained that he routinely “tore up briefings and schedules, articles and letters, memos both sensitive and mundane.”

Advertisement

That’s all you need to know.

Why was his Mar-a-Lago home searched by the FBI?

Advertisement

Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home was raided by the FBI as part of an ongoing investigation into how secret White House records got into his Florida residence.

The former US President revealed the search in a lengthy statement, saying agents opened a safe at his home and describing their work as an “unannounced raid” which he likened to “prosecutorial misconduct”.

Advertisement
A police car is seen in front of former US President Donald Trump’s residence in Mar-A-Lago, Palm Beach, Florida on August 8, 2022 (Photo by GIORGIO VIERA/AFP via Getty Images)

The search intensifies the months-long investigation into how classified documents ended up in more than a dozen boxes in Mar-a-Lago in early 2022.

A statement from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in February said: “In mid-January 2022, NARA arranged for the shipment of 15 boxes containing Presidential records from the Trump Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida to the National Archives, after Talks with President Trump officials in 2021.

Advertisement

“Former President Trump’s officials have informed NARA that they are continuing to search for additional records of the President held by the National Archives.

“As required by the Presidential Records Act (PRA), these records should have been transferred from the White House to NARA at the end of the Trump administration in January 2021.”

Advertisement
Former US President Donald Trump speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) held at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas, Texas on August 6, 2022 (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

The National Archives said Trump should have turned over this material after leaving office and called on the Justice Department to investigate.

There are several federal laws governing the handling of classified records and sensitive government documents, including laws that make it a criminal offense to remove such material and keep it in an unauthorized location.

Advertisement

Did Donald Trump flush documents?

The FBI raid comes at the same time as alleged evidence Trump flushed torn documents down the toilet has surfaced on Twitter.

Advertisement

Maggie Haberman, a New York Times journalist and Trump White House correspondent who will publish her book on Trump, Confidence Man: The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America, in October, reported in February this year that Trump would repeatedly flush his torn notes down the toilet.

On Monday (Aug. 8), Haberman shared an article published by on Twitter axios that appeared to be evidence for their claim – specifically two pictures of a toilet showing torn handwritten notes in the water of the bowl.

Advertisement

Haberman gave Axios the images as part of promotional coverage for their upcoming book.

In a tweet thread, she wrote: “NEW IN AXIOS: Trump has refused to flush documents as President, I learned last year while reporting for CONFIDENCE MAN. A Trump White House source recently provided PHOTOS of paper in Trump’s handwriting in two different restrooms via @mikeallen

Advertisement

“To the left is a White House restroom with the word ‘qualified’ and a capital I on it. On the left a toilet from a Trump trip abroad.

“Under the Presidential Records Act, documents created and sent to Presidents are required to be retained by the Office. Trump’s habit of tearing up paper that had to be glued back on was well known; his habit of throwing them away wasn’t.”

Advertisement
Maggie Haberman speaks on stage at the New York Times DealBook DC Policy Forum on June 9, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Leigh Vogel/Getty Images for The New York Times)

In a brief statement to Axios, Haberman said, “That Mr. Trump destroyed documents in this manner was not widely known in the West Wing, but some staffers were aware of the habit he repeatedly engaged in.”

She added, “It was an extension of Trump’s longstanding habit of tearing up documents to be kept under the Presidential Records Act.”

Advertisement

Taylor Budowich, a spokesman for Trump, dismissed the images, telling Axios, “You must be pretty desperate to sell books when images of paper in a toilet bowl are part of your promotional plan.”

He added, “We know … there are enough people willing to make up stories like this to impress the media class — a media class willing to run with anything as long as it’s anti-Trump.”

Advertisement

During an appearance on CNN, Haberman said, “People will make all kinds of jokes about toilets and stuff. It would still be a story if it was a fireplace.

“And it involves the destruction of records intended to be retained under the Presidential Records Act, which is a Watergate-era creation.”

Advertisement
Donald Trump speaks with reporters on the South Lawn of the White House before boarding Marine One on January 12, 2021 in Washington, DC (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Haberman continued, “We knew Trump had a habit of tearing up paper and people had to tape it back together.

“And what happened was that the White House staff found that pipes were clogged with paper that they believed had flushed … I had later received further reports from people confirming that Trump did indeed do so had and that it had happened in at least two foreign trips and in the White House throughout his presidency.”

Advertisement

Has Trump ever been accused of violating the Presidential Records Act?

This isn’t the first time Trump has been accused of destroying or tearing up documents legally required to be retained under the Presidential Records Act.

Advertisement

Earlier this year, former White House staffer Omarosa Manigault Newman claimed that Trump would sometimes “chew” on torn documents.

Speaking to MSNBC, Newman said Trump “loved tearing up those documents.”

Advertisement
Omarosa Manigault Newman prepares for the AMERICA DECIDES special election program on Sunday, November 1 in Washington DC (Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Sky News)

She said: “After Michael Cohen left the office and I entered the oval, I thought Donal was chewing what he had just torn up.

“It was very bizarre because he’s a germaphobe, he never puts paper in his mouth.”

Advertisement

Newman added: “His habit of tearing things up… my heart really goes out to the people responsible for going in the bins [and] to regain these things.”

Trump once asked if anyone would like to auction a copy of a speech he had just given on eBay.

Advertisement

In other incidents, Trump also tasked his aides with carrying boxes of unread memos, articles and draft tweets aboard the presidential plane for him to review before tearing them up.

A former senior Trump administration official said a deputy from the office of the secretary of staff would go into a room to retrieve items from the trash can and Trump’s desk after he left.

Advertisement
Donald Trump speaks at a rally on September 25, 2021 in Perry, Georgia (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

A profile was already created in 2018 Politically on two employees given the responsibility of pasting Trump’s notes back together after he tore them up.

A statement from NARA also said: “Some of the Trump President’s records obtained by the National Archives and Records Administration included paper records that had been torn up by former President Trump.

Advertisement

“As has been reported in the press since 2018, during the Trump administration, White House officials recovered and taped together some of the torn records.

“These were turned over to the National Archives at the end of the Trump administration along with a number of torn up records that had not been reconstructed by the White House.”

Advertisement