As news broke that the FBI had seized 10 boxes of evidence while carrying out their search warrant on former President Donald Trump’s Mar-A-Lago residence, his lawyers were floating the idea that something more sinister might be going down.
Appearing Tuesday evening on Fox News, Trump lawyer Alina Habba expressed concerns about the actions of FBI personnel, alleging the possibility of planted materials.
“Quite honestly, I’m concerned that they may have planted something, you know?” the attorney said. “At this point, who knows? I don’t trust the government, and that’s a very frightening thing as an American.”
a Trump lawyer (Alina Habba) floats the idea that the FBI planted evidence at Mar-a-Lago. That's the second time today a Trump lawyer has floated this. pic.twitter.com/vdIjxFTtp4
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) August 10, 2022
Striking a similar tone, Trump lawyer Christina Bobb took issue earlier in the day on Real America’s Voice with “not [being] allowed to observe” the search while being present during the raid on Monday on Trump’s legal behalf.
“No, there is no security that something wasn’t planted,” the lawyer said. “I’m not saying that’s what they did.”
“This was a completely unnecessary power flex. It was a weird flex,” Bobb added. “It’s quite honestly sad to see what they have done to our country.”
Asked by The Daily Beast on Tuesday whether she believes the FBI is playing tricks, Bobb said: “I have no reason at this point in time to believe anyone has made anything up.”
The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that National Archives had already seized 15 boxes of documents “and other items” from the resort in January “that Mr. Trump should have handed over to the agency at the end of his term.”
Those boxes contained several documents that federal law requires be turned over once a president leaves office, along with archives that officials described as “classified national security information.”
A source told the newspaper that those documents included correspondence between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, among others. The discovery of those documents led to the involvement of the Justice Department. In June, Justice Department lawyers returned to Mar-a-Lago, where they sought more information about the sensitive material taken from the White House. Investigators were led to a basement where boxes of documents were stored, but investigators “looked around and eventually left,” a source told the Journal.
A June 8 letter from the Justice Department ordered Trump’s legal team to secure the room where the documents were stored. The latest search was undertaken because the FBI believed even more classified documents had been stored at the residence, the paper reported but it is unclear how or if the latest search is connected to the June visit.
The FBI raid might have caused some headaches within Trump’s orbit, but it also now gives MAGAworld allies more than enough material to cast Trump as a victim, which one current adviser sees as a path for Trump to win a second term—or, as some advisers falsely claim, a third term.
“The Biden folks love to talk about preserving ‘norms,’ and now they’re so desperate to ‘get’ Trump that they’re raiding his home and turning him into a martyr,” a Trump adviser told The Daily Beast. “They’re going to mess around and single-handedly get him re-elected.”
Elsewhere, on cable news on Tuesday night, several Trump backers cast doubt on the legitimacy of law enforcement activity at the former president’s estate.
Fox News host Jesse Watters suggested that the FBI is engaging in illegal activity.
Watters: What the FBI is probably doing is planting evidence.. We also have a hunch that they doctored evidence to get the warrant pic.twitter.com/hR2Ac8tP1t
— Acyn (@Acyn) August 9, 2022
“What the FBI is probably doing is planting evidence, which is what they did during the Russia hoax,” Watters asserted, pejoratively referring to the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, a habit among Fox’s primetime hosts. “We also have a hunch they doctored evidence to get the warrant.”
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich also baselessly ginned up fears about evidence tampering.
Referring to the “fake FBI,” Gingrich said on right-wing activist Charlie Kirk’s show, “You’ll notice they didn’t allow anybody on the Trump side into Mar-a-Lago. So we have no idea whether or not they planted evidence.”
By Wednesday morning, Trump had backed the theory that the FBI might have “plant[ed]” evidence at his Florida residence.
“Everyone was asked to leave the premises, they wanted to be left alone, without any witnesses to see what they were doing, taking or, hopefully not, ‘planting.’ Why did they STRONGLY insist on having nobody watching them, everybody out?” he wrote on Truth Social. “Obama and Clinton were never ‘raided,’ despite big disputes!”