Mar-a-Lago, former President Donald Trump’s Florida resort where he’s largely resided since leaving the White House, was raided by the FBI on Monday in connection to a Justice Department investigation into the handling of classified documents.
The Lincoln Project — a consistent foil for Trump from interests on the Right concerned about his rise and impact — tore into the ex-president after the raid news emerged. The organization released a video with dramatic music and clips of news coverage of the FBI’s search of Trump’s resort interspersed with a repeating clip of Trump himself saying “uh-oh.” “Someone’s in bigly trouble,” The Lincoln Project quipped in a caption. How the underlying investigation might turn out isn’t, of course, immediately clear, but The New York Times outlines how FBI personnel were required to show a court the relevant probable cause, which would be the well-grounded suspicion a crime was committed and that the Mar-a-Lago search could produce evidence of it.
Someone's in bigly trouble. pic.twitter.com/S1GWPZJ4Lk
— The Lincoln Project (@ProjectLincoln) August 9, 2022
The Times also notes high-ranking officials at the Justice Department likely provided support for moving forward with the raid at Mar-a-Lago before it was executed. That’s a multi-step process in which someone in the judiciary or the Justice Department could’ve rebuffed the push and likely stopped it, which lessens the possibility of some rogue figure or couple of figures deciding to move forward with heading to the ex-president’s property. Millions of Americans are regularly vulnerable to searches by law enforcement, and for a former president to somehow evade even the possibility of basic accountability for potential criminal activity — or a potential connection to it — would prove more troubling than that individual getting held to the same standards as essentially everyone else. Predictably, those in the former president’s corner, including Trump himself, swiftly began characterizing what the FBI did as some kind of egregious breach.
The search was conducted in part with the aim of uncovering whether administration records that federal law required be provided to federal record-keeping authorities were left at the Florida Trump property. Previously, the National Archives recovered over a dozen boxes of federal records that were improperly taken to Mar-a-Lago at the close of Trump’s presidency despite legal requirements for their preservation by federal authorities — and the agency said it discovered classified materials among the boxes and referred the matter to the Justice Department for further examination. It’s worth remembering Trump himself appointed the current director of the FBI, Christopher Wray.