The raid on Donald Trump’s Florida estate stunned his supporters, enemies and observers around the world.

While Mr. Trump described it as a “dark times for our nation”White House officials admitted they knew nothing of the FBI’s plans to storm his Mar-a-Lago home.

These are three different investigations underway into the former president: one in Atlanta for conspiracy to commit election fraud during the 2020 election, another in New York in the financial affairs of his real estate company, and a third by a committee. restricted US House on the United States Capitol Uprising.

What was the FBI looking for in Florida?

After Donald Trump’s presidency ended in January last year, officials discovered he had brought 15 boxes from the White House to his home in Mar-a-Lago, Florida.

This investigation was initiated by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), the independent US government body charged with preserving historical and government records.

Police vehicles outside Trump’s estate in Mar-a-Lago

After asking for the boxes to be returned, in January of this year NARA found that they contained government documents, including those “marked as classified national security information”, as well as gifts, letters and mementos.

NARA then referred the case to the United States Department of Justice to investigate whether Trump’s unauthorized handling of the documents constituted a violation of federal law.

Some of the documents in the boxes are subject to the Presidential Records Act.

Approved by Congress following the 1972 Watergate scandal, it stipulates that presidential documents are not owned by the then president and should be handed over to NARA when they leave office to be made public 12 years later.

Mr. Trump may also have potentially violated the government’s proper document handling legislation while he was still in office or be charged with obstruction of justice if it was discovered that he was covering up his tracks.

In April, it was reported that a federal grand jury investigation had begun and the Justice Department had made several requests, including a subpoena to NARA for the boxes and interviews with various people in the Trump administration.

Donald Trump's Florida home, Mar-a-lago, is ransacked by FBI agents
An aerial view of the property

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The case is ongoing and while the FBI did not release a statement in connection with Monday’s raid, people familiar with the case said this was the focus of it.

It is unclear what law enforcement was looking for, but it is likely that it was additional evidence that would have helped with the prosecutors’ case.

They are trying to prove that Trump or his collaborators have intentionally violated the law.

That would mean producing evidence showing Trump’s camp was told it wasn’t allowed to take documents.

Their investigation will examine who put the items in the boxes, any correspondence about them, and how they were transferred from Washington to Florida.

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Trump refuses to comment on the raid

What did Trump say?

In a lengthy statement posted online, the former president said his home was “besieged, ransacked and occupied by a large group of FBI agents.”

He wasn’t there at the time, but was informed by his son, Eric Trump, who told Fox News that the search warrant involved a box of documents taken from the White House and that his father had cooperated with NARA on the matter. For me yes.

This was echoed by Trump himself, who claimed to have “worked and collaborated with the relevant government agencies”.

As a result, he described the research as “unnecessary or appropriate”, “prosecution misconduct”, “arming the judiciary” and “an attack by radical democrats who desperately don’t want me to run for president in 2024” .

He likened his case to that of his longtime political rival Hillary Clinton, who said, “He was allowed to delete and acid-wash 33,000 emails AFTER they were sued by Congress.”

Hillary Clinton in New York in February
Hillary Clinton in New York in February

Trump added: “Absolutely nothing has happened to hold her accountable.

“He even took antiques and other items from the White House.”

A federal investigation was launched on Ms. Clinton in 2016 after it emerged that she had sent confidential information to her personal email account. It ended without her or any of her aides being charged.

Torn documents clog the White House toilets

During his presidential election campaign and his tenure, Trump repeatedly attacked Ms. Clinton, whom he dubbed “corrupt Hillary,” while investigating her email activity.

According to sources close to him during his time in the White House, he often tore up official documents, forcing assistants to put them back together so as not to break laws that prohibit people from destroying presidential documents.

Donald Trump.  Image: AP
Image: AP

A new book by a New York Times reporter also explains how White House staff allegedly found torn scraps of documents in the cabinet.

Most of his conduct while in office was laid bare by the House of Representatives Committee investigating the January 6 uprising.

Staff recounted how he regularly ditched the White House switchboard and instead took official business on his personal cellphone.

Such gaps in the call logs have caused problems for the committee, which is still looking into whether Trump committed crimes the day the White House was stormed by protesters.

President Donald Trump gestures as he steps aboard Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House on Wednesday, January 20, 2021, in Washington.  Trump is on his way to his Mar-a-Lago Florida Resort.  (AP Photo / Alex Brandon)
Donald Trump leaves the White House for the last time in January 2021

Change of tone from the Attorney General

The FBI did not comment on the raid, with senior officials instead describing it as an “orderly execution of a search warrant”.

White House officials say they are unaware of the raid and have seen it in the media.

An affidavit is usually made to FBI agents about a given case, which is then considered by a judge.

But such a high-level warrant – of a former president’s private property – would likely have to be signed by Attorney General, Merrick B Garland.

Garland, nominated by Biden, is known for his caution, so Monday’s developments suggest a distinct change of tone in the establishment’s handling of the case.

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