The real reason this FBI “raid” of Mar-a-Lago means Donald Trump’s goose is cooked

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When Donald Trump announced this evening that the FBI had just “raided” his Mar-a-Lago home, what he really meant was that the DOJ had the FBI carry out a search warrant that had been signed off on by a judge. Details are still sparse about the specific nature of the warrant, but it’s widely believed to be in relation to Trump’s theft of classified documents when he left office.

Several things jump off the page right now. First, the DOJ would have needed to convince a federal judge that it was probable that such a warrant would produce proof of Trump’s guilt. Second, this warrant was apparently a no-knock warrant, which generally means that the DOJ would have needed to convince the judge that Trump or someone else in the building would likely have tried to destroy evidence if he’d known the warrant was coming.

It’s also worth keeping in mind that the DOJ has multiple confirmed criminal investigations into Donald Trump. There’s the one that’s centered on the fake elector plot and appears to be targeting John Eastman, Jeffrey Clark, and others in an effort to get to Trump. Then there’s the probe into Trump’s theft of classified documents, which appears to have been the basis of today’s raid.

These DOJ probes are separate, but they are allowed to share information with each other. So even if the DOJ sent the FBI into Mar-a-Lago today specifically to obtain the stolen classified documents, anything else that the DOJ collected today (within the scope of that search warrant) can now be shared with other DOJ probes into Trump.


It’s also notable that while Trump is at Mar-a-Lago most of the time these days, he’s apparently at Trump Tower in New York today. This allowed the FBI to carry out the search warrant without the complication of Trump being there and throwing a fit, or whatever stunt he might have tried to pull.

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