Former president Donald Trump has accused FBI agents of “planting” evidence during their search of his Mar-a-Lago residence, alleging that federal authorities would not let his legal team observe the activity.
“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. Everyone was asked to leave the premises, they wanted to be left alone, without any witnesses to see what they were doing, taking or, hoopefully not, ‘planting.’ Why did they STRONGLY insist on having nobody watching them, everybody out? Obama and clinton were never ‘raided,’ despite big disputes!” Mr Trump said on his Truth Social platform.
The charge is yet another embrace of a right-wing conspiracy theory that has no basis of evidence worth believing; still, the former president has never had a problem spreading such conspiracies and has spent months insisting that Hunter Biden, the president’s eldest son, be arrested and charged with various assumed crimes. Mr Biden has not been accused of any wrongdoing by federal officials. This particular conspiracy appears to have originated with one of his longtime confidantes, Steve Bannon.
He also spent the majority of 2016 calling for his then-opponent Hillary Clinton to be “locked up” over her handling of official emails at the State Department and another laundry list of alleged crimes he has levied at every Democrat he has faced so far.
Much of Mr Trump’s continued anger with federal law enforcement also stems from his embarrassment resulting from the investigation into his 2016 campaign and the Russian government, which ended in several of his closest advisers facing criminal charges while he and his family escaped most allegations of wrongdoing. Mr Trump has long complained that the Russia investigation was a “hoax” because it failed to uncover any evidence proving that his campaign coordinated with Russia. He has falsely blamed the Obama administration of ordering wiretaps on him as part of the probe, though top Justice officials have insisted that no wiretaps ever took place and that Barack Obama was not involved with approving the probe.
Republicans and allies of Mr Trump have mostly acted with outrage following the FBI raid of Mar-a-Lago and demanded answers from investigators. Some have also vowed to launch congressional investigations of the DOJ should the GOP take control of the House.
Despite that, the DOJ has remained silent about the circumstances of the raid since it occurred, and its investigation has continued without any criminal charges being filed. The agency is heading up a grand jury investigation in Washington related to the events of January 6 in addition to its handling of claims that Mr Trump and his team illegally took classified materials from the White House. No members of the Trump administration have faced any atonement thus far for inspiring or organising the massive mob of armed Trump supporters who attacked and stormed the US Capitol amid Mr Trump’s efforts to halt the Electoral College count and overturn the election.
Some Republicans like Sen Tim Scott have called for the investigation to play out but it remains clear that the bulk of the party believes that the Justice Department is only pursuing investigations of Mr Trump due to a political motive.