The FBI searched Trump’s mansion without Biden’s knowledge, according to the White House | International
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The FBI searched the mansion of Donald Trump in Florida without the knowledge of the president of the United States, Joe Biden, according to the White House. The presidential spokeswoman, Karine Jean-Pierre, assured this Tuesday that despite the sensitivity and exceptional nature of the action, the Justice Department did not previously inform Biden. The registry has caused a political earthquake that could condition both the legislative elections next November and the presidential elections in 2024 and that is aggravating political polarization throughout the country.
Incredible as it may appear, the White House assures that Biden found out about the registry from the news “as just another American”, that he had no prior information about it. “The Department of Justice independently conducts investigations and we leave any law enforcement matters to them. It would not be appropriate for us to comment on any ongoing investigation,” the spokeswoman said.
Jean-Pierre gave his daily press conference on Tuesday after neither the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) nor the Department of Justice had given any explanation on the reasons for the search carried out at Mar-a-Lago throughout the day. in Palm Beach (Florida) by federal agents. The FBI has followed its usual policy of not explaining ongoing investigations, although this is not just any case.
For now there are more unknowns than certainties, but some details of the investigation have been revealed, which focuses on the handling of documents, including secret papers, by Trump. The law considers the reports, documents and even handwritten notes that the presidents handle in the exercise of their position to be public property and obliges them to hand them over to the National Archives upon dismissal.
Trump initially breached that obligation. In May 2021, the National Archives staff approached the former president to inquire about documentation that he had not delivered. In parallel, the Congressional commission investigating the assault on the Capitol on January 6, 2021, demanded that Trump hand over those writings, and the former president judicially challenged that order. The Supreme Court rejected his request to keep the documents in his possession.
In January 2022, faced with the threat of more drastic actions, Trump handed over 15 boxes of documents. Among them were letters from North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and the note left for him by his predecessor, Barack Obama, on his last day in the Oval Office. In addition, there were documents classified as secret, as reported to Congress by the Archives office. In February he learned that the Archives had asked the Justice Department to open an investigation.
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It has now emerged that federal agents went to Mar-a-Lago last spring, met with Trump’s lawyers and asked to see if and where the former president still has presidential documents. On that visit, four investigators met with two Trump attorneys. The former president himself was at his mansion at the time and greeted them. The agents verified that Trump still had records and asked that they remain well guarded, according to the US media.
Apparently, this process was referred to by Trump this Monday in the statement in which he announced that his mansion was being searched. “After working and cooperating with the relevant government agencies, this unannounced incursion into my home was neither necessary nor appropriate,” Trump said in the statement in which he foolishly bought that court-authorized record with the Watergate spying on the Democratic Party.
US criminal law punishes anyone who “willfully and unlawfully conceals, removes, mutilates, erases, falsifies, or destroys” federal documents in their custody with penalties ranging from a fine to three years in prison and disqualification from holding public office. Trump was not scrupulous about this rule despite the harsh campaign he had waged against Hillary Clinton before the 2016 elections for the use of a private email account for official business. Trump’s former spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, acknowledged this Tuesday on CNN that inappropriate handling of documents and records.
The latest revelation shows photographs of notes allegedly handwritten by the former president thrown into the toilet. Earlier, during his years in office, numerous reports pointed out that Trump tore up reports, documents and memos after reading them and White House employees had to go behind putting them back together with duct tape.
The Archives confirmed earlier this year that the returned documentation “included papers that had been destroyed by former President Trump,” some of which were glued together and others only pieces remained.
However, it is unknown what documents the FBI agents were looking for in their registry on Monday and why they have done it now and some question that this inappropriate handling of the records is enough to justify an unprecedented action such as the one carried out. To obtain the court order, it is necessary to show the judge evidence of a crime and convince him that there is no other way to obtain evidence that is less harmful than entering a private home, even more so in the case of a former president.
Republicans and Trump supporters are asking for explanations about the search and have criticized the action as an instrumentalization of the justice of a police state. Even Mike Pence, who was vice president under Trump but has distanced himself from him, joined the request. The attorney general, he said, “must fully account to the American people why this action has been taken and must do so immediately.”
The former president has broadcast this Tuesday on his social network the video with which he was presented at the conservative congress last Saturday, in which he makes an apocalyptic portrait of the United States with an electoral campaign tone that seems to indicate that he wants to run for the presidency again in 2024.
Biden, meanwhile, has appeared this morning to sign the law that promotes the production of microprocessors in the United States, one of his recent legislative victories in Congress. His speech has been marred by a persistent cough that has forced him to interrupt him on several occasions. The president has issued a statement on the law without taking any questions or commenting on the Mar-a-Lago search. Later, he has reappeared to sign the documents of accession of Sweden and Finland to NATO, but he has not gone out of the script either. Biden’s recent hot streak has been abruptly overshadowed by Mar-a-Lago’s record.
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