Local law enforcement officers are seen in front of the home of former President Donald Trump at Mar-A-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida on August 9, 2022.
Giorgio Viera | AFP | Getty Images
The attorney, Christina Bobb, also told NBC on Tuesday that a copy of the search warrant that FBI agents left at the Mar-a-Lago residence in Palm Beach indicated agents are investigating possible violations of laws related to the Presidential Records Act and the handling of classified material.
Monday’s raid was the first known search by the FBI of the residence of a president or former president in connection with a criminal investigation. Trump was not in Mar-a-Lago during the search.
Before the search, it was known that a federal grand jury in Washington, D.C., was investigating the removal of records that were taken from the White House to Mar-a-Lago when Trump left office in January 2021. Some of those documents were marked classified.
Workers move boxes out of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House grounds, before the departure of U.S. President Donald Trump, in Washington, January 14, 2021.
Erin Scott | Reuters
The National Archives and Records Administration in January 2022 retrieved 15 boxes of White House records that were sent to Mar-a-Lago. At that time, NARA said that all of those records should have been sent to the National Archives when Trump left office, as required by the Presidential Records Act.
Bobb, confirming an account that she first recounted to The Washington Post, told NBC News that lawyers for Trump were talking to Justice Department officials this spring about the records being stored at Mar-a-Lago.
At one meeting, she said, Trump’s lawyers searched through between two and three dozen boxes in a storage area and gave Justice Department officials “a few pages” that could meet the definition of being a presidential record.
Bobb told NBC News that at one meeting on June 3, she and another Trump lawyer were talking with a senior Justice Department official at Mar-a-Lago when Trump stopped by briefly to say hello.
At that meeting, a source close to Trump told NBC New, Trump personally showed the Justice Department official the room where the materials were.
Bobb said Trump officials added a lock on a storage unit after Justice officials said they did not believe it was secure. That lock was broken during the FBI search on Monday, she told NBC.
Trump’s spokesman Taylor Budowich in a new statement issued Tuesday, blasted the FBI search.
“Monday’s brazen raid was not just unprecedented, it was completely unnecessary,” Budowich said. “President Trump and his representatives have gone to painstaking lengths in communicating and cooperating with the appropriate agencies — something that is routine for all similar instances.”
“These disgusting actions by [President]Joe Biden’s administration would make a third-world dictator blush,” he said. “However, in the Democrats’ desperate attempt to retain power, they have unified and grown the entire conservative movement.”
FBI Director Chris Wray was appointed by Trump.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., in a statement Tuesday evening, said, “The country deserves a thorough and immediate explanation of what led to the events of Monday. Attorney General Garland and the Department of Justice should already have provided answers to the American people and must do so immediately.”
To obtain a search warrant, federal law enforcement authorities first are required to demonstrate to a judge that there is probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed and that the evidence they are looking for in the desired search relates to that crime.