Former President Donald Trump said Monday that FBI agents “stole” his passports last week when they raided his residence at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla.
“Wow! In the raid by the FBI of Mar-a-Lago, they stole my three Passports (one expired), along with everything else,” Trump wrote in a post on Truth Social.
“This is an assault on a political opponent at a level never seen before in our Country. Third World!” the 45th president added.
FBI agents searched Trump’s residence within his ritzy Mar-a-Lago club Aug. 8 in connection to records that were removed from the White House when Trump left office in January 2021.
Documents unsealed Friday say the Justice Department is investigating whether Trump broke three laws pertaining to official records, including the Espionage Act of 1917 — a law used in recent years to justify harsh sanctions, including against whistleblowers.
An inventory of property that was taken from the resort made no mention of passports, though it did note that agents seized 27 boxes — some of which contained classified documents — two binders of photographs, and a handwritten note, among other items.
Trump and his allies slammed the FBI and said the raid is the latest phase of a long-running “witch hunt” that dates back to the bureau’s investigation into whether he colluded with Russia’s government during the 2016 campaign.
Attorney General Merrick Garland, whose 2016 Supreme Court nomination was nixed by Trump after his upset election win, said last week that he personally signed off on pursuing the search.
Garland and FBI Director Christopher Wray otherwise have said little publicly to defend the raid.
It’s unclear what exactly prompted the unusual FBI operation, which reportedly followed months of talks between Trump reps and the government about the whereabouts and possible return of certain records.
A Washington Post report suggested that the raid may have been spurred by concern about nuclear-related documents, but Trump denied it Friday, saying in a statement: “Nuclear weapons is a hoax, just like Russia, Russia, Russia was a hoax.”
After the search warrant and inventory were unsealed Friday, Trump claimed that the documents in question had already been declassified and that the FBI search was unnecessary.
“They could have had it anytime they wanted without playing politics and breaking into Mar-a-Lago,” he wrote on Truth Social. “It was in secured storage, with an additional lock put on as per their request. They could have had it anytime they wanted—and that includes LONG ago. ALL THEY HAD TO DO WAS ASK.”
The Russia probe failed to find evidence that Trump worked with the Kremlin to win the 2016 election. The investigation was marred by FBI misconduct, including the falsification of court documents by FBI attorney Kevin Clinesmith and revelations that FBI employees leading the probe — including Peter Stzrok, who opened the investigation — trashed Trump in private messages.