The FBI raided Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida and broke into a safe in his palatial home, the former president confirmed Monday.
Trump said in a message on his social media forum Truth Social that his home had been “raided, and occupied” and was “currently under siege” due to what he claimed was prosecutorial misconduct.
“Nothing like this has ever happened to a President of the United States before,” Trump wrote.
“After working and cooperating with the relevant Government agencies, this unannounced raid on my home was not necessary or appropriate.”
FBI agents were reportedly searching for classified documents that Trump brought with him from the White House to Mar-a-Lago after his presidency ended.
The National Archives and Records Administration said it had found classified material in 15 boxes at the residence earlier this year and alerted the FBI. The agents were looking for additional presidential records Trump may have relocated to his Florida estate in Monday’s raid.
Trump called the raid a politically motivated move by Democrats who don’t want him to run again in 2024.
“It is 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,” he wrote.
The raid comes as the Justice Department is examining the actions of Trump in its criminal investigation of efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election. That probe is seperate from the department’s investigation into his handling of classified materials.
The National Archives has said that some of the records it received back from the former president had been torn up, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Trump compared the FBI search to “an assault [that] could only take place in broken, Third-World Countries” and also to the Watergate scandal.
The former Republican president said the “large group” of FBI agents even broke into his safe.
“The lawlessness, political persecution and Witch Hunt must be exposed and stopped.”
A source who was at Mar-a-Lago at the time of the FBI raid told The Post that it was “like the scene of a ‘Die Hard’ movie” as armored cars came screeching up to the Palm Beach resort Monday morning and “at least 100” FBI agents charged into Trump’s home.
“It was totally unexpected,” the source said. “The place was mostly closed today, so the only people there were close personal friends of Trump.
“The staff were absolutely terrified.”
The former president was at Trump Tower in New York at the time of the raid, according to CNN.
Justice Department spokesperson Dena Iverson declined to comment on the search, including about whether Attorney General Merrick Garland had personally authorized the search.
Federal law bars the removal of classified documents to unauthorized locations, though it is possible that Trump could try to argue that, as president, he was the ultimate declassification authority.
There are multiple statutes governing classified information, including a law punishable by up to five years in prison that makes it a crime to remove such records and retain them at an unauthorized location. Another statute makes it a crime to mishandle classified records either intentionally or in a grossly negligent manner.