Former President Donald Trump on Monday accused the FBI of "ransacking" his home during their August search for classified documents after returning to his Mar-a-Lago residence for the first time since the raid.
Trump announced on Sunday that he would fly back to Mar-a-Lago for the first time since the Justice Department recovered hundreds of classified documents and found dozens of empty folders marked classified last month. Trump has repeatedly claimed that the search was unwarranted even though a federal judge signed off on the search after being presented with evidence that a crime had occurred.
"I'll soon be heading to the scene of the unwarranted, unjust, and illegal Raid and Break-In of my home in Florida, Mar-a-Lago," Trump wrote on Truth Social. "I'll be able to see for myself the results of the unnecessary ransacking of rooms and other areas of the house. It has already been proven that so much has been wrongfully taken, it is not a 'pretty thing.' So sad! The 4th Amendment, and much more, has been totally violated, a grave invasion of privacy."
The Fourth Amendment protects Americans against unlawful search and seizure, not against searches executed in response to a lawful federal warrant. The search was executed after the DOJ learned that Trump's team falsely certified that they had returned all classified documents taken to Mar-a-Lago earlier this year, including from inside sources.
Trump returned to his Palm Beach resort on Sunday after spending most of the last five weeks at his properties in New Jersey, New York and Virginia. Trump took to Truth Social again after 1 am to complain that the FBI agents did not take off their shoes while searching his room.
"Arrived in Florida last night and had a long and detailed chance to check out the scene of yet another government 'crime,' the FBI's Raid and Break-In of my home, Mar-a-Lago," he wrote. "I guess they don't think there is a Fourth Amendment anymore, and to them, there isn't. In any event, after what they have done, the place will never be the same. It was 'ransacked,' and in far different condition than the way I left it. Many Agents - And they didn't even take off their shoes in my bedroom. Nice!!!"
Trump previously groused about the FBI agents after the DOJ publicized a photo showing top-secret document covers found during the raid.
"Terrible the way the FBI, during the Raid of Mar-a-Lago, threw documents haphazardly all over the floor (perhaps pretending it was me that did it!), and then started taking pictures of them for the public to see," he wrote on Truth Social. "Thought they wanted them kept Secret?"
Trump during a rally earlier this month also claimed that the FBI searched the room of his 16-year-old son Barron, though legal experts have cast doubt on his allegation.
"They rifled through the first lady's closet drawers, and everything else," he claimed. "And even did a deep and ugly search of the room of my 16-year-old son — leaving everything they touched in far different condition than it was when they started. Can you believe it?"
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Trump's comments come amid a legal battle with the Justice Department over the documents. Trump, weeks after the search, filed a motion requesting a special master to review whether any of the documents were privileged even though an FBI "filter team" had already reviewed the documents for potentially privileged materials and planned to return them, according to the DOJ. A Trump-appointed federal judge last week ordered the review sought by Trump and blocked the DOJ from continuing its criminal investigation during the review, prompting criticism from legal experts.
The Justice Department on Friday asked the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta to lift the judge's order barring them from accessing about 100 documents with national security classification markings, warning that the order "irreparably harms" the criminal probe and "needlessly" requires the "disclosure of highly sensitive records" to Trump's lawyers.
The filing said that the judge's order could harm national security and enable efforts to obstruct the probe.
"The government's need to proceed apace is heightened where, as here, it has reason to believe that obstructive acts may impede its investigation," the filing said, adding that the order may also prevent the FBI from identifying "other records still missing."
President Joe Biden on Sunday told CBS News that he has not spoken to officials about the documents because "I don't want to get myself in the middle of whether or not the Justice Department should move or not move on certain actions they could take."
But Biden recalled his shock at seeing the FBI photo of top-secret documents found at Mar-a-Lago.
"How that could possibly happen?" Biden recalled thinking. "How anyone could be that irresponsible? And I thought, 'What data was in there that may compromise sources and methods?'"
about the Mar-a-Lago raid