Speed Reads

You gotta know when to hold 'em

Trump alone could clear up a lot of the mystery about the FBI's Mar-a-Lago raid, legal experts say

There are a lot of opinions about Monday's FBI search of former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago club, and a little bit of confirmation from Trump's lawyers about what the FBI agents were looking for. But few people know what prompted the high-stakes search or the severity of Trump's potential legal jeopardy.

The FBI and Justice Department are staying mum about their raid, as required during active investigations, but "they are not the only ones in possession of relevant information," Politico's Kyle Cheney writes. In fact, "Trump is in perhaps the best position to reveal more details about what transpired on Monday."

"The former president has access to the full inventory of items that federal investigators were seeking as well as what was taken from his estate during the search," Politico reports. "He or his lawyers were almost certainly presented with a copy of the search warrant executed at Mar-a-Lago — though not the underlying affidavit or other supplemental materials." CNN's Elie Honig has more details.

Trump is the one who publicly disclosed the FBI raid, and his lawyer Christina Bobb, who was at Mar-a-Lago during Monday's search, told Real America's Voice on Tuesday that investigators said they were "looking for classified information that they think should not have been removed from the White House, as well as presidential records."

"Sooner or later, the Justice Department and Mr. Trump will have to clarify the substance of what has happened," Federation of American Scientists open-records advocate Steven Aftergood told Politico. "Then we will know, was there a real violation of the law or was this some kind of speculative adventure. As far as I can tell, the FBI is not prone to the kind of — to what members of Congress have called a banana republic–like invasion. That doesn't happen, especially with a court order."

In lieu of explaining why the FBI took the risky step of executing a search warrant at his property, Trump is fund-raising off the raid and, one adviser told The Washington Post, he "sounded buoyed by the development, bragging about how many Republicans were supporting him publicly" and arguing "the search would help him politically in the end." The court of public opinion may eventually have enough facts to render a verdict, but in the court of law, the Post says, Trump's legal team is seeking recommendations for a really good criminal defense lawyer.