A retired FBI agent told the Daily Mail on Monday that the agency's raid on former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago residence was likely the result of a tip from an informant.
Former Special Agent in Charge Michael Tabman said a reported claim Trump is housing classified documents could have come to the FBI through somebody providing "information indicating that these documents are there."
"I think there was inside information – call it an informant if you want," Tabman said. "I believe either someone told them something or some other information was stumbled upon, which was kind of conclusive in their minds that they had to go now to get that, or they're not getting it."
Tabman, who served within the FBI for 24 years, emphasized that a raid at this level would probably necessitate the approval of Attorney General Merrick Garland.
"I believe the Attorney General approved it himself given the sensitivity," Tabman said, adding that it also could have been delegated to a "deputy attorney general" in order to "avoid perceptions since he is a political appointee."
If Garland approved the decision through his Justice Department, the proposal would then move to a judge for a final ruling based on proof of probable cause, Tabman said.
Although Tabman does not believe any protocols were broken in the raid of Trump's Florida home, he noted that he "can't think of this having happened to a former president."
Republican politicians and conservative pundits were quick to condemn the unannounced event by the FBI. That group includes former Vice President Mike Pence, whom Trump publicly broke with in the aftermath of the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol.
"I share the deep concern of millions of Americans over the unprecedented search of the personal residence of President Trump," Pence wrote on Twitter.
"Yesterday's action undermines public confidence in our system of justice and Attorney General Garland must give a full accounting to the American people as to why this action was taken and he must do so immediately."
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