A senior Justice Department official condemned the FBI’s raid on Mar-a-Lago as a “spectacular backfire” for triggering a tsunami of backlash against the Justice Department.
What are the details?
Two senior DOJ officials spoke with Newsweek and disclosed new details about what led up to the raid.
According to one official, the FBI specifically planned to conduct the raid when former President Donald Trump was not present at Mar-a-Lago. Trump was in New York at the time of the raid, Fox News reported.
“What a spectacular backfire,” the senior DOJ official said of the FBI’s attempt to keep the raid “low-key.”
“I know that there is much speculation out there that this is political persecution, but it is really the best and the worst of the bureaucracy in action,” the official explained. “They wanted to punctuate the fact that this was a routine law enforcement action, stripped of any political overtones, and yet [they] got exactly the opposite.”
The second DOJ official told Newsweek the FBI “were seeking to avoid any media circus” but “they also created the very firestorm they sought to avoid, in ignoring the fallout.”
The officials explained the FBI had been planning the raid for weeks after receiving information from a confidential source about allegedly classified documents being stored at Mar-a-Lago. Newsweek reported the informant both identified the documents and told investigators where they were located.
Importantly, the sources told Newsweek that Attorney General Merrick Garland did not have advance knowledge about the specifics of the raid. Instead, FBI Director Christopher Wray approved the raid.
“I know it’s hard for people to believe,” one of the DOJ officials said, “but this was a matter for the U.S. attorney and the FBI.”
Despite claims that Garland was not involved in the planning of the raid, Republican lawmakers are demanding that Garland and Wray face repercussions for the unprecedented raid.
“I’ve never been a fan of overusing impeachment, but I think there has to be an investigation. And if it warrants it, there’s going to have to be a look at whether or not the attorney general has misused his office for political purposes. Have they gone after a political opponent? I mean, this is beyond the pale,” Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said on Fox News.
“At a minimum, Garland must resign or be impeached. The search warrant must be published. Christoper Wray must be removed. And the FBI reformed top to bottom,” Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) said.