Former President Donald Trump on Saturday characterized the FBI raid on his Mar-a-Lago estate as a "WITCH HUNT" and suggested the White House knew about it beforehand.
"The "White House" just announced that it had NO KNOWLEDGE of the early morning RAID on Mar-a-Lago, or the break in of Melania's closets, my safe's, or the secured and locked storage area where unclassified documents were safely held, and which the FBI knew of, was shown, and made recommendations that another lock be added (which they cracked, but not with the safecracker that they brought with them!)," Trump said in a post on his TRUTH Social website.
"Does ANYBODY really believe that the White House didn't know about this? WITCH HUNT!"
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre earlier this week said President Joe Biden wasn't briefed on the raid.
"The president was not briefed, was not aware of it," she told reporters. "No one at the White House was given a heads-up," she added.
The FBI recovered "top secret" and even more sensitive documents from Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate, according to court papers released Friday after a federal judge unsealed the warrant that authorized the sudden, unprecedented search this week.
A property receipt unsealed by the court shows FBI agents took 11 sets of classified records from the estate during a search on Monday.
The seized records include some marked not only top secret but also "sensitive compartmented information," a special category meant to protect the nation's most important secrets that if revealed publicly could cause "exceptionally grave" damage to U.S. interests. The court records did not provide specific details about information the documents might contain.
The warrant says federal agents were investigating potential violations of three different federal laws, including one that governs gathering, transmitting or losing defense information under the Espionage Act. The other statutes address the concealment, mutilation or removal of records and the destruction, alteration or falsification of records in federal investigations.
Trump earlier Saturday said he would be "victorious" in the probe because he has "TRUTH" on his side.
"Like all of the other Hoaxes and Scams that they've used to try and silence the voice of a vast majority of the American People, I have TRUTH on my side, and when you have TRUTH, you will ultimately be victorious," Trump said in a statement oh his TRUTH Social platform.
The former president, who, in the past has alluded to a 2024 run at the presidency, added, "just received the strongest poll numbers I have ever gotten, and the largest amount of campaign contributions from the 'people.' The public gets the 'Scam,' but this time much earlier than all of the others!"
He ended with, "MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!"
In a statement earlier Friday, Trump claimed that the documents seized by agents were "all declassified," and argued that he would have turned them over if the Justice Department had asked.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart, the same judge who signed off on the search warrant, unsealed the warrant and property receipt Friday at the request of the Justice Department after Attorney General Merrick Garland declared there was "substantial public interest in this matter," and Trump said he backed the warrant's "immediate" release. The Justice Department told the judge Friday afternoon that Trump's lawyers did not object to the proposal to make it public.
In messages posted on his Truth Social platform, Trump wrote, "Not only will I not oppose the release of documents ... I am going a step further by ENCOURAGING the immediate release of those documents."
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.
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