In the aftermath of the FBI raid at former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home, a Justice Department official said that the operation has backfired after garnering furious responses from many on the right and that it was not the FBI’s intention to make a political fiasco.
On Monday, FBI agents arrived at Trump’s home in Florida with a search warrant to obtain any government documents that the former president may have had in his possession, Newsweek reported.
According to the 1978 Presidential Records Act, once out of office a former president is required to hand over government documents to the Archives.
The raid was based on information that the FBI received from a confidential source who reported that Trump was hiding classified documents, two officials told Newsweek.
According to these two sources Newsweek spoke with, the FBI was trying to keep the raid quiet.
It was deliberately timed to happen while Trump was not at Mar-a-Lago.
One Justice Department official, who was also with the FBI for 30 years, told Newsweek that FBI officials wanted to deny Trump the publicity of a raid.
However, the attempt to keep the raid quiet failed.
“What a spectacular backfire,” the anonymous DOJ official said, according to Newsweek.
“I know that there is much speculation out there that this is political persecution, but it is really the best and the worst of the bureaucracy in action,” the official said.
“They wanted to punctuate the fact that this was a routine law enforcement action, stripped of any political overtones, and yet [they] got exactly the opposite,” they added.
Both of Newsweek’s government sources also said that the FBI raid did not have political intentions.
Allegedly, the bureau simply wanted to recover sensitive, classified documents that were supposedly illegally taken from the White House.
The officials said that the FBI had been preparing for the operation at Mar-a-Lago for several weeks.
Meanwhile, the FBI Miami Field Office and headquarters were planning around Trump’s scheduled return to Florida from his New York and New Jersey homes.
“They were seeking to avoid any media circus,” Newsweek’s second source said.
This source is a senior intelligence official and was briefed on the investigation and operation concerning the recovery of the classified documents.
“So even though everything made sense bureaucratically and the FBI feared that the documents might be destroyed, they also created the very firestorm they sought to avoid, in ignoring the fallout,” they added.
“It really is a case of the Bureau misreading the impact,” the official added.
The raid sparked the ire of many Republican officials and Trump supporters.
Kevin McCarthy, the House minority leader, has even threatened to investigate the DOJ, if the GOP is able to regain control of the House in the upcoming election, The Guardian reported.
“I’ve seen enough,” McCarthy said in a statement. “The Department of Justice has reached an intolerable state of weaponized politicization.”
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