President Biden vehemently denied on Wednesday that he had advance notice of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s search of former President Donald Trump’s Florida home, which unearthed hundreds of pages of highly classified documents.
At the end of a White House event detailing Biden’s plan to cancel student loan debt for some Americans, a Fox News reporter asked the president: “How much advance notice did you have of the FBI’s plan to investigate Mar -a-Lago?”
“I had no advance notice — none, zero, not one iota. Thank you,” Biden responded.
Since the FBI executed a search warrant at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort and home in Palm Beach, Fla., on Aug. 8, Republicans have accused the Biden administration of “weaponizing” the Justice Department in an effort to further damage politically the former President.
On Tuesday, Trump himself led that chorus.
“The White House has categorically stated that they were NOT INVOLVED and knew absolutely nothing about the political Witch Hunt going on with me and that they knew absolutely nothing about the Mar-a-Lago Break-In. repeated strongly over and over again. WRONG!” Trump wrote in a statement posted on his social media platform. “Remember, these are the people who spied on my campaign, denied it and got caught. Through John Solomon’s great reporting (Fake Pulitzer Prize?), the docs reveal that they knew everything, in fact they led the charge – a political NO. NO!”
Contrary to Trump’s claim, a federal judge signed the FBI’s warrant authorizing the search warrant after months of negotiations between the former president and the National Archives over boxes Trump removed from the White House and kept at his home in Florida.
The FBI’s search warrant suggests the administration believes the information at Trump’s residence may violate the Espionage Act, which covers the mishandling and destruction of sensitive documents, among other possible laws.
Trump has pointed to a May 10 letter from Debra Wall, acting comptroller of the United States, to Trump’s legal team about the former president keeping national security documents and other sensitive material. The letter says Trump took more than 700 pages of classified documents to his Florida resort, some of which were classified as the most secret in the administration.
Trump allies who participated in an excerpt concluded it proved the Biden administration had been tipped off for months that the Mar-a-Lago raid was in the works. In the excerpt, Wall writes that at one point she sought guidance from the White House counsel’s office.
“On April 11, 2022, the White House Counsel’s Office, confirming a request from the Department of Justice supported by FBI letterhead, formally forwarded a request that NARA provide the FBI with access to the 15 boxes for its review within seven days” , He wrote. .
However, in the very same letter, Wall makes it clear that the White House counsel’s office and Biden himself had delayed receiving them because of the politically charged circumstances of negotiations to retrieve and inspect the documents Trump is accused of improperly carrying in Florida.
“Counsel to the President has informed me that, in light of the special circumstances presented here, President Biden awaits my determination, in consultation with the Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel, as to whether or not to support the precedent The President’s supposed “protective assertion of executive privilege,” he wrote.
Since the Aug. 8 search of Trump’s home, the White House has vehemently denied any prior knowledge of it.
“The President was not informed, he was not aware,” White House press secretary Karin Jean-Pierre said at an Aug. 9 briefing. “No one in the White House received a warning.”
At a press conference on August 11, Attorney General Merrick Garland said he had “personally approved the decision to seek a search warrant in this matter.”
“Loyal adherence to the rule of law is a fundamental principle of the Department of Justice and our democracy,” Garland said. “Upholding the rule of law means applying the law uniformly, without fear or favor. Under my watch, that’s exactly what the Department of Justice does.”