What We Know About the Mar-a-Lago Search

Trump’s very bad week continues. Today he was deposed by lawyers from New York Attorney General Letitia James’ office. He took the Fifth.

Today, Trump’s lawyers are claiming that the FBI found nothing incriminating at Mar-a-Lago but also that they planted evidence at Mar-a-Lago.

At WaPo, Philip Bump reviews what we know, and don’t know, about Monday’s FBI search of Mar-a-Lago (no paywall). This is worth reading, as it includes a lot of details about what was going on at Mar-a-Lago during the search. In brief: A pack of agents arrived at 9 am. The Secret Service was not told in advance they were coming. There were no guests staying there, and Trump was in New York/New Jersey, so the place was pretty empty.

The lawyers started arriving about 10 am. The lawyers who have seen the warrant verified that the agents were looking for documents, including classified documents, that belong to the government and shouldn’t have been removed from the White House.

The search concluded about 6:30 pm. The agents removed about 12 boxes of materials, most of which had been stored in a basement.

Another good source of information is this timeline by Zach Montague at the New York Times (no paywall). This goes back to the day before Trump vacated the White House. It appears the Justice Department initiated an investigation into Trump’s document violations in April.

Some time last spring, some federal agents, including one involved in counterintelligence, met with Trump and some of his lawyers at Mar-a-Lago. Philip Bump’s article said that at this meeting it was learned a lot of documents were stored in a basement with no security whatsoever. After that meeting, Trump put a padlock on the door, which was broken on Monday. So the searchers knew the documents were there.

A comment I heard repeated on MSNBC last night was that possibly the DoJ obtained a search warrant instead of a subpoena because of national security concerns.

Why would Trump want to hoard secret government documents in his basement? One, incrimination; two, leverage; three, maybe he could sell them for a lot of money.

Another comment I heard on the teevee is that there could be a connection between the seizure of Rep. Scott Perry’s phone yesterday and the Mar-a-Lago documents. Preliminary examination of the documents might have prompted the seizure of the phone. This is speculation, obviously.

So that’s as much as we know right now, I believe.

Update: This morning there were rumors in rightieworld that there must have been an informant. Now Newsweek is reporting there was an informant, according to unnamed government officials.  But I don’t see why an informant was necessary, since the feds already knew Trump was keeping a bunch of White House documents in the basement. The only way this would be significant would be if the informant described some especially sensitive document.

15 thoughts on “What We Know About the Mar-a-Lago Search

  1. Sheesh, does the FBI arrest Mango Mussolini this week and does he flee to a sh*t 'ol kingdom to continue his insurgency?  Stay tuned.

    Like a weird political cosplay show. Does this mean Perry is off the Island?

  2. An informant might have been necessary to state that the documents were still there. The freshness of information is an important factor in authorizing a search warrant, and avoiding having the evidence suppressed.

    And if you use only a subpoena, you are giving the target control over what will be produced. You don't give a dope dealer a subpoena for his drugs. You are not only allowing him to choose what to produce, you are commanding him to incriminate himself, which the Fifth Amendment forbids. 


    • They knew exactly where the documents in the basement were, in the basement. That was discussed in the spring meeting with Trump and his lawyers were.

  3. “there could be a connection between the seizure of Rep. Scott Perry’s phone yesterday and the Mar-a-Lago documents“


    I’m all in. Betting my entire stack….

    …..that  Scott Perry used that phone to commit a crime after the Mar a Lago search was executed and the crime was related.

    The statement the congressman released reeked of panic.

  4. That Trump lawyers are claiming docs were planted means serious stuff was found. Trump's lawyers are laying the groundwork that the FBI can't prove that what they seized wasn't actually brought with the FBI to frame Trump. I don't think any juror will buy this defense but it's all they got.

    There was damn little time between J6 and the inauguration on January 20. The rats were leaving the sinking ship and after J6, I suspect no one was eager to be the one to commit a crime for Trump when Trump was clearly and finally on the way out. IF preparation to reverse the election began even before November, there was a lot of incriminating stuff. (As the hearings demonstrated.) 

    If you think like Trump (an exercise I don't recommend) you want to destroy the evidence that's purely harmful but you want to retain stuff that may have value in extorting silence or lies. Trump doesn't have the patience to go through boxes of papers to determine what should be returned and what Trump might be able to keep and want to keep. Delegating the task to anyone gives that person ownership over Donald Trump. 

    A conviction would make Trump ineligible to hold office, which Trump would appeal to the US Supreme Court. I'm not sure the conservative members of the court want Trump around. The radical wing has a different view of law and order than you or I, but chaos is not their intent. 

  5. One thing that we absolutely know. When the next round of hearings of the J6 committee resume in September we're going to be in for one hell of a show.

    • Trump spins everything like a reality show and will dismiss the J6 hearings, evidence, and conclusions as a competing reality show the audience should disregard. The only reason this method has worked is because damn few Republican politicians will accede to objective reality when the vast majority of voters are living the delusion. The craven politics of Republicans in Congress supports the fantasy as reality.

      Criminal court is a different venue. The prosecutor and the judge will dismiss any juror who demonstrates they are living in the Alex Jones conspiracy world. Evidence and testimony will be what they see and hear. The instructions from the judge will lay out HOW they can reach a verdict. In NYC and DC, Trump is likely to face an impartial jury. 

  6. Finally, the Feds came down to Merde de Lardass, and picked-up whatever it was tRUMP was secreting away.

    My question is, did the FBI agents bring along a plumbers-snake to check the toilet lines for secret documents, or did they call-in Roto-Rooter?

    As for who snitched, maybe one of the kids? 
    Who else would have a better idea of what the old loon was socking away?

    Also, too:  RepubliKKKLANs are still cracking me up!

    They've circled the wagons around their bad-boy, Bad Orange
    Fanta Santa after the FBI's visit to Merde de Lardass.

    They whine, shriek, and howl about how something like this undignified "raid" never ever happened to ANY other presiDUNCEs.  "Why, OH WHY, do they pick on the greatest presiDUNCE in world history?!?"

    It's simple, rqqeally:  No previous president was anywhere near as corrupt as this orange hemorrhoid pillow in human form.

  7. Everyday the DOJ and the FBI don't make statements as to what they are doing and who they are working for the more their credibility goes down the drain.

    • I have a sense that the DOJ and the FBI are properly doing their jobs and working for the USA to build a case against this alleged criminal mob boss/former president.  I think at this point they are doing so with an objective impartiality and diligence which would not be possible if that same alleged criminal was still in office pulling their strings.  In my opinion their credibility has gone up by showing that they are, indeed, "on it".  I expect statements will come in time, but if the DOJ and FBI were scrambling to put out statements in response to media pundits and faithful cultists critiquing their actions from the sidelines and demanding explanations, that would do nothing to sway the outrage boiling over in Trumpworld.

  8. This is justice with kid gloves on.  Compared with normal justice for the vast majority of us, this is justice with serious levels of class difference.  Could this happen to you as the republicans claim.  Not in your lifetime if you are not in the super elite class. You will never get the kid glove treatment Trump got.  You will get the normal treatment where you are even terrified even if totally innocent.  If you are driving your vehicle, they don't even need a warrant to search your stuff.  Don't try to call Ms. Linsey Graham if this happens to you. He will not grab a mike and use his position to plead your case.  For you the fix is not in.  You will need to politely try to prove you are not engaged in criminal activity to a very skeptical audience.
    Catch 22 appies to you.    

  9. I believe that trump was planning to sell those files to the highest bidder, which probably would have been Putin or the Chinese leader.

  10. Garland has since spoken, and he's reminded us that Trump and his lawyers have the search warrant and the property receipt, that Trump could release if he wanted to, dispel all the uninformed and overheated chatter on the right about why the raid occurred and why it isn't part of a political witch hunt.  Of course, Trump wants to keep the truth under wraps as long as possible, so he can continue to inflame his followers with false information, fundraise off it, and have them commit acts of idiocy, like the armed lunatic that attacked the Cincinnati FBI office today.

    Meanwhile, the Failing New York Times reports:

    Trump repeatedly resisted returning sensitive documents he took with him to Mar-a-Lago, his Florida club and residence, the Times reported its sources said. The National Archives, which the Presidential Records Act tasks with properly storing such materials, tried for months to retrieve records it believed were missing before turning the matter over to the Justice Department, the sources said.

    So they tried the subpoena route to get the docs, and Trump did not comply, so they had no choice but the search warrant route to get the documents.  

    Republicans are all over the airwaves and interwebs, falsely accusing democrats of orchestrating the raid on Trump's palace in an effort to "get" him, ignoring the facts and evidence that speaks to his guilt.  Meanwhile, they refuse to condemn violent threats from their supporters.  We know enough now to know that the search warrant was more than justified, and its time democrats push back and remind the public that, just like with J6, when the party of Trump doesn't get its way democracy, the constitution and the rule of law don't matter, they resort to mob rule and violence, yet another reason they need to be voted out in 2022.


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