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  09 Aug 2022, 23:04

FBI raid on Trump's Florida home sparks political firestorm

WASHINGTON, Aug  9, 2022 (BSS/AFP) - The dramatic FBI raid on Donald
Trump's palatial Florida residence has supercharged the bitter, polarizing
political debate around the slew of judicial investigations facing the former
president as he considers another White House run.

Monday's shock action marked a stunning escalation of legal probes into the
45th US president, drawing cheers from his political foes and condemnation from
his allies.

"Nothing like this has ever happened to a President of the United States
before," the 76-year-old Trump said of the day-long FBI search of his luxury
Mar-a-Lago resort.

He denounced the FBI raid as "prosecutorial misconduct" and "weaponization
of the Justice System" by "Radical Left Democrats who desperately don't want me
to run for President in 2024."

The FBI declined to provide a reason for the unprecedented move against a
former chief executive.

But multiple US media outlets said federal agents were conducting a
court-authorized search related to the potential mishandling of classified
documents that had been sent to Mar-a-Lago after Trump left the White House in
January 2021.

Trump has also been facing intense legal scrutiny for his efforts to
overturn the results of the 2020 election and the January 6 attack on the US
Capitol by his supporters.

Since taking his last Air Force One flight from Washington to Florida on
January 20 last year, Trump has remained the country's most divisive figure,
continuing to sow falsehoods that he actually won the 2020 vote.

Leading Republicans quickly rallied around the former president, who was
not present at Mar-a-Lago when the raid took place, while top Democrats reacted
cautiously or withheld comment.

"The Department of Justice has reached an intolerable state of weaponized
politicization," said Kevin McCarthy, a California lawmaker who is seeking to
become the speaker of the House of Representatives if Republicans win back the
chamber in November's midterm elections.

Ronna McDaniel, the Republican Party chairwoman, called the raid
"outrageous."

"Countless times we have examples of Democrats flouting the law and abusing
power with no recourse," McDaniel said. "Democrats continually weaponize the
bureaucracy against Republicans."

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, a close Trump ally, said "launching an
investigation of a former President this close to an election is beyond
problematic."

After denouncing the raid in a lengthy statement Monday evening, Trump's
team put out a fund-raising message on Tuesday asking "every single red-blooded
American Patriot to step up" and donate to fight what he called "this
NEVERENDING WITCH HUNT."

- Trump 2024? –

Dan Scavino, Trump's former social media manager, urged him to accelerate
an announcement that he would run again.

"DO IT - 45! #TRUMP2024," Scavino tweeted.

Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic speaker of the House, was asked about the raid
during an appearance on NBC. "No person is above the law," she said, "not even
a former president of the United States."

In his statement, Trump did not give any indication about why the FBI
raided his home but said "they even broke into my safe!"

Andrew McCabe, a former deputy director of the FBI, said he believed the
bureau may have been looking for "something specific" related to its probe into
the alleged mishandling of classified information.

The National Archives said in February that it had recovered 15 boxes of
documents from Mar-a-Lago and asked the Justice Department to look into Trump's
handling of classified information.

The recovery of the boxes raised questions about Trump's adherence to
presidential records laws enacted after the 1970s Watergate scandal that
require Oval Office occupants to preserve records.

Speaking on CNN, McCabe said "there had to be a suspicion, a concern and
indeed specific information that led (the FBI) to believe that there were
additional materials that were not turned over."

Trump's former communications director Alyssa Farah Griffin told CNN that
the raid could fire up his supporters, a small number of whom rallied outside
Mar-a-Lago on Tuesday.

"If it's seen as some sort of massive overreach and not something
incredibly serious, this is a very good day for Donald Trump," Farah Griffin
said.

For weeks, Washington has been riveted by hearings in Congress about the
January 6 storming of the Capitol by Trump supporters and his attempts to
overturn the election won by Democrat Joe Biden.

Attorney General Merrick Garland has been been careful not to tip his hand
when asked whether the Justice Department is building a legal case against
Trump over the Capitol riot.

"No one is above the law," Garland has said, while adding recently that he
intends to "hold accountable every person who is criminally responsible for
trying to overturn a legitimate election."

Trump is also being investigated for his efforts to alter the 2020 voting
results in the state of Georgia, while his business practices are being probed
in New York in separate cases, one civil and the other criminal.


 

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