Ex-President Trump believes he is in a "banana republic" in light of the raid on his residence. He can be sure of the support of his party friends. Meanwhile, US media are trying to clarify what the FBI investigators were actually looking for in Mar-a-Lago - and whether they found what they were looking for.
After the search of ex-US President Donald Trump's property in the US state of Florida, further details about the action became known. The background was apparently Trump's handling of documents from his tenure. At the beginning of the year it became known that the national archives responsible for storing presidential correspondence suspected several boxes with confidential material, among other things, in Trump's private club. Trump finally handed over several documents to the agency in January. Investigators are said to have visited Trump's property in the spring to talk to his team about the government documents that were taken, as US media reported.
After that, there was another exchange between investigators and Trump's lawyers, it said. The officials finally suspected that Trump or his team were still keeping important documents under lock and key, the Washington Post wrote, citing anonymous sources. The FBI is said to have taken twelve boxes during the search.
According to the broadcaster CNN, the ex-president's security personnel, the Secret Service, were informed about the action about an hour before the search. The Secret Service finally secured access but did not actively help in the search for the documents. Trump was not at his property during the action.
At the same time, powerful Republicans backed Trump. "Our cities are teeming with criminals, but Garland's politicized Justice Department is targeting President Trump and members of Congress," House Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told Attorney General Merrick Garland. The influential Republican Mitch McConnell, whom Trump himself repeatedly denigrates as an "old crow", demanded that the Justice Department investigate the events immediately. Former US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley made a similar statement.
And even Trump's former deputy Mike Pence backed Trump. "Yesterday's action undermines public confidence in our legal system," he said. The appearance of partiality on the part of the Justice Department must be removed. Pence recently distanced himself from Trump. He is said to have ambitions to run for the presidency in 2024. Trump also keeps flirting with a candidacy, but has not yet officially declared it.
Many Democrats had recently urged Attorney General Merrick Garland to launch an investigation into Trump in the wake of the new findings surrounding the Capitol attack on January 6, 2021. Critics accused Garland of being too hesitant. The search of Trump's property in the course of the affair about the missing documents was all the more surprising. Recently, however, there were also increasing indications that the Department of Justice was examining Trump's behavior around January 6 and the 2020 presidential election more closely.
The news portal "Axios" reports that the FBI has confiscated the mobile phone of Trump ally Rick Perry. However, this process should have nothing to do with the current search and the documents. Rather, Perry was part of the team surrounding Trump that was actively working to overturn the outcome of the 2020 election.