Trump lawyer blows up his “planted” evidence claims: Trump watched “the whole thing” on CCTV

Trump claims "nobody" was allowed to watch the FBI raid but he and his family watched through surveillance footage

By Igor Derysh

Managing Editor

Published August 12, 2022 12:21PM (EDT)

Former President Donald Trump (Getty Images)
Former President Donald Trump (Getty Images)

Former President Donald Trump and his lawyers have baselessly peddled a conspiracy theory that the FBI may have "planted" evidence during its raid on Mar-a-Lago because "nobody" was allowed to watch. But Trump's lawyer admitted on Thursday that Trump and his family watched the "whole thing" go down from New York through CCTV footage from the resort.

Trump and his attorneys, Christina Bobb and Alina Habba, immediately claimed that the FBI may have "planted" damning evidence during the Mar-a-Lago raid on Monday without any proof, citing only the fact that Bobb was prevented from observing the search as is standard in such FBI operations. Trump, Bobb and Habba in numerous statements speculated about what the FBI may have done while "nobody" was watching.

"The FBI and others from the Federal Government would not let anyone, including my lawyers, be anywhere near the areas that were rummaged and otherwise looked at during the raid on Mar-a-Lago," Trump ranted on Truth Social on Tuesday. "Everyone was asked to leave the premises, they wanted to be left alone, without any witnesses to see what they were doing, taking or, hopefully not, 'planting.' Why did they STRONGLY insist on having nobody watching them, everybody out?"

Bobb acknowledged on Thursday that while surveillance cameras at Mar-a-Lago were shut off for a "very short period of time" while FBI agents spoke to Trump's legal team, the former president and his family were able to view the entire raid through surveillance video.

"I think the folks in New York — President Trump and his family — they probably had a better view than I did. Because they had the CCTV, they were able to watch," Bobb told the right-wing outlet Real America's Voice.

Bobb said that she was busy speaking with investigators during the search but the Trump family saw "the whole thing."

"So they actually have a better idea of what took place inside," Bobb said.

The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this week that FBI agents asked for "surveillance cameras to be turned off, citing officer safety."

"You're telling me they didn't?" Real America's Voice host Gina Loudon asked Bobb.

"They did. So initially they said that... need to turn off all cameras and of course, the staff complied... oh the FBI is making us turn off the cameras and then lawyers said that you don't actually don't have to turn them off," Bobb said. "So shortly after they turned them back on."

Eric Trump confirmed in an interview with the Daily Mail that staff refused to turn off the security cameras and that he was able to view video of the raid. He also claimed in the interview that the FBI "would not give her a copy of the search warrant" even though Bobb acknowledged that she received it.

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Attorney General Merrick Garland on Thursday called Trump's bluff, announcing that the DOJ had filed a motion to unseal the search warrant from the raid, which targeted secret documents related to nuclear weapons, according to The Washington Post. Trump on Truth Social claimed that he would encourage the "immediate release" of the document even though he could release it himself.

Garland confirmed on Thursday that Trump's lawyer received a copy of the search warrant.

"Copies of both the warrant and the FBI property receipt were provided on the day of the search to the former president's counsel, who was on site during the search," Garland said.

Bobb offered a novel defense for why Trump's team is refusing to release the warrant in an interview with NewsNation on Thursday.

"We're trying to do everything in accordance with the law," she argued.

"There's actually nothing preventing you guys from releasing it, though," anchor Leland Vittert shot back.

"Other than decorum. I mean, we're trying to work well with the Justice Department," Bobb replied amid a torrent of attacks on the DOJ from TrumpWorld.

By Igor Derysh

Igor Derysh is Salon's managing editor. His work has also appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Boston Herald and Baltimore Sun.

MORE FROM Igor Derysh

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Aggregate Christina Bobb Donald Trump Merrick Garland Politics