September 26, 2022

SNITCH: FBI was told where to look at Mar-a-Lago by an inside informant

SNITCH: FBI was told where to look at Mar-a-Lago by an inside informant

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A human source prompted the FBI’s recent search of Donald Trump’s Mar-A-Lago resort this week. An informant able to identify what documents the former President failed to turn over to the National Archives, knew where they were located, and was aware of exactly what the feds were looking for was responsible for giving the FBI the crucial details they needed to execute the search.

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Trump is currently under investigation by the House Oversight Committee and the Department of Justice for removing confidential records in violation of the Presidential Records Act, and the informant has apparently been cooperating in those investigations.

According to Newsweek, two senior officials with direct knowledge of the FBI’s directive spoke on condition of anonymity.

“The FBI [is] solely intent on recovering highly classified documents that were illegally removed from the White House. Preparations to conduct such an operation began weeks ago, but in planning the date and time, the FBI Miami Field Office and Washington headquarters were focused on the former president’s scheduled return to Florida from his residences in New York and New Jersey.”

At around 10 AM EST on Monday, roughly two dozen federal agents and technicians showed up at the Palm Beach resort in what they hoped would be a low-key and under-the-radar execution of their search. A 30-year Justice Department veteran told Newsweek:

“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. 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 Justice Department veteran went on to call the event “a spectacular backfire.”

Trump and his allies have denounced the raid as “political” and an overreach when the opposite is true. Put in place after Watergate in response to abuses by the Nixon administration, the 1978 Presidential Records Act establishes that presidential records belong to the U.S. government and explicitly states:

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“Whoever, having the custody of any such record, proceeding, map, book, document, paper, or other thing, willfully and unlawfully conceals, removes, mutilates, obliterates, falsifies, or destroys the same, shall be fined” $2,000, up to three years in prison or “shall forfeit his office and be disqualified from holding any office under the United States.”

In 2018, responding to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s email scandal, Trump himself signed a law making it a felony to remove and store classified documents.

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Investigation into whether Trump returned classified documents began shortly after the former President left office. The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), was skeptical that it had everything that should have been submitted, and Archivist David Ferriero testified before Congress in February that the agency was in talks with Trump almost immediately after the transfer of power.

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In January of this year, a federal grand jury concluded that the Presidential Records Act had been violated after being presented with copies of documents returned by Trump.

A Secret Service source confirmed the U.S. Secret Service director was notified in advance of the search, and, in the affidavit to obtain the search warrant, the informant provided substantial information regarding the whereabouts of documents relevant to the warrant. Trump attorney Lindsey Halligan, who was present at Mar-A-Lago, said three rooms were targeted by the FBI – a bedroom, an office, and a storage room.

The revelation that someone close to the inner workings of the Trump world has turned informant isn’t likely to sit well with the ex-President. The news adds another nugget of disaster to what already appears to be a bad week for the twice-impeached former guy – and it’s only Wednesday.

Original reporting by William M. Arkin at Newsweek

Follow Ty Ross on Twitter @cooltxchick

Ty Ross

News journalist for Washington Press and Occupy Democrats.

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