Former President Donald Trump sent a message to Attorney General Merrick Garland shortly before Garland’s Thursday comments about the raid on Trump’s estate in the Mar-a-Lago community in South Florida, according to a new report.
Trump’s message, reported by The New York Times on Saturday citing “a person familiar with the exchange,” came after days of outrage over the Monday raid, and was reported to the Times by what the Times said was “a person familiar with the exchange.
“The country is on fire,” Trump told Garland, in a message passed along by “a person close to Mr. Trump,” according to the Times. “What can I do to reduce the heat?”
If a reply was made, the Times did not report upon it.
On Saturday, Fox News reported that during the raid, FBI agents grabbed boxes of records covered by attorney-client privilege.
The report, which cited “sources familiar with the investigation” who were not named, also said some records seized were potentially covered by executive privilege.
The report said the Justice Department rejected the request of the former president’s attorneys for the appointment of an independent special master to review the records.
In a social media post, Trump asked that the records covered by privilege be returned.
“Oh great! It has just been learned that the FBI, in its now famous raid of Mar-a-Lago, took boxes of privileged ‘attorney-client’ material, and also ‘executive’ privileged material, which they knowingly should not have taken,” he wrote on his Truth Social platform.
“By copy of this TRUTH, I respectfully request that these documents be immediately returned to the location from which they were taken. Thank you!” Trump wrote.
In a series of posts, Trump vented his rage at the FBI, citing former FBI Director James Comey, former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, former FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok and former FBI attorney Lisa Page.
“The FBI has a long and unrelenting history of being corrupt. Just look back to the days of J. Edgar Hoover. In the modern era, nothing has changed except that it has gotten far worse. Look at Comey, McCabe, Strzok and lover Lisa Page. Check out the brilliantly written but damning I.G. Reports. See what they were willing to do in order to get Crooked Hillary Clinton elected (they failed), and got caught!” Trump wrote.
“They spied on my campaign, pushed the FAKE Dossier, and illegally used the FISA Court. The Inspector General said the FBI acted with ‘gross incompetence and negligence.’ I was fully vindicated in the Russia, Russia, Russia SCAM, the “No Collusion” Mueller Investigation, Impeachment Hoax #1, Impeachment Hoax #2, and all else.,” he wrote.
Trump then wrote about the damaging raid.
“NOW THEY RAID MY HOME, ban my lawyers and, without any witnesses allowed, break the lock that they asked us to install on the storage area that we showed them early on, which held papers that they could have had months ago for the asking, and without the ridiculous political grandstanding of a ‘break in’ to a very storied, important, and high visibility place, just before the Midterm Elections,” Trump wrote.
“The whole World was watching as the FBI rummaged through the house, including the former First Lady’s closets (and clothing!), alone and unchecked. They even demanded that the security cameras be turned off (we refused), but there was no way of knowing if what they took was legitimate, or was there a ‘plant?’ This was, after all, the FBI!” Trump wrote.
The FBI said it took 11 sets of documents with some kind of marking as confidential but did not specify where they were found.
The Times report said the Justice Department was triggered by surveillance footage showing boxes moving in and out of a storage room.
Trump spokesman Taylor Budowich said it was “no surprise that boxes may be moved in and out of a storage room.”
“That’s not news,” he said, according to the Times. “If there was actual concern, the D.O.J. could have asked, just like they had previously, and they would have, again, received full cooperation.”
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