Eric Trump revealed FBI agents refused to hand over the search warrant for their raid on Mar-a-Lago and kicked an attorney off the property in a new, incisive account of the Monday operation at the Florida estate.
Speaking exclusively to DailyMail.com, the former president’s son said the 30 agents who arrived at the property asked staff to turn security cameras off – but they refused.
He also said that the attorney was forced to stand at the end of the Mar-a-Lago driveway while the team searched inside – and allegedly used safe crackers to break into his father’s safe.
The latest explosive account comes with the Department of Justice facing mounting pressure to explain what grounds they had for the search.
Eric said that his father’s lawyer Christina Bobb was forced to stand at the end of the Mar-a-Lago driveway throughout the raid.
‘There’s 30 agents there,’ he recalled of the Monday search in a phone call with DailyMail.com. ‘They told our lawyer… you have to leave the property right now. Turn off all security cameras.’
‘They would not give her the search warrant,’ he claimed. ‘So they showed it to her from about 10 feet away. They would not give her a copy of the search warrant.’
He said that Bobb was confused why a lawyer for the person’s home being raided by the FBI was not able to see or obtain a copy of the search warrant.
Eric said he would be ‘thrilled’ to find out if there was a valid search warrant.
‘It’s all a coordinated attack with the FBI,’ the former president’s son added, insisting the raid was approved by President Biden.
‘Do you think that the FBI director is going to raid the former president’s house, especially a house as you know, kind of world renowned as Mar Lago is in a place as public as Mar Lago is without getting the approval of President [Biden]?’ Eric questioned.
By not turning off the security cameras, Eric said they saw the FBI raiding areas of the property that they ‘shouldn’t have been.’
Donald Trump lamented Wednesday that the FBI blocked his lawyers from the property during the raid at his Palm Beach, Florida residence and suggested that agents may have ‘planted’ evidence.
The fallout from the raid comes as Trump confirmed on his alternative social media site Tuesday evening that he will be deposed Wednesday in questioning part of the New York attorney general’s civil investigation into his family’s real estate business.
The New York probe is just one of many the former president is facing, including the one that led to the raid on Monday involving the reported removal of official documents from the White House when he left office last year.
‘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,’ Trump posted to his Truth Social page on Wednesday morning.
‘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,” he continued while placing doubt that the raid was conducted properly.
Trump, 76, questioned: ‘Why did they STRONGLY insist on having nobody watching them, everybody out? Obama and Clinton were never ‘raided,’ despite big disputes!’
Christina Bobb, a Trump lawyer, told Real America’s Voice on Tuesday that the raid was a ‘weird flex’ and repeated Trump’s suspicions that the RBI might have planted something during the search.
‘No, there is no security that something wasn’t planted,’ the 37-year-old 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.’
Even though Palm Beach reached a sweltering 91 degrees with high humidity on Monday, Trump’s lawyers were left outside near a parking lot and were not allowed inside the air conditioned building where the raid was happening.
The former president was spotted arriving back at his Manhattan residence in Trump Tower on Tuesday night.
The raid on his Florida home the previous day saw investigators ransack his office for several hours.
Trump continued to vent his fury on Tuesday at the raid – which is believed to have been carried out to retrieve documents the former president took from the White House when he left.
By law, all presidential correspondence and documentation must be handed over to the National Archives, and since February it has been clear that Trump did not comply. Some documents were returned to the National Archives at the beginning of this year, but apparently not all.
FBI agents were inside the 128-room Florida estate for nine hours on Monday, with 30 agents roaming through the entire 3,000-square-foot private quarters.
The investigators searched the master bedroom, known as the Versailles Room, which Melania Trump renovated two years ago.
They rummaged through the former first lady’s wardrobe and searched through clothing, according to The New York Post.
The agents also searched a separate office and safe, and a locked basement storage room in which 15 cardboard boxes of material from the White House were stored, the paper said.
The Justice Department has not commented on the raid, which analysts said would have needed to be approved at the highest level.
Sources told the Post that Trump’s attorneys, led by Evan Corcoran, were ‘cooperating fully’ with federal authorities to arrange the return of the documents, with the process beginning in May 2021 when it was noticed that some records were missing.
In January 2022, some of the documents were returned, and in February this year the news became public.
In early June, four top DOJ officials traveled to Mar-a-Lago to speak with the former president’s attorneys about the documents.
The DOJ’s counterintelligence and export control section chief Jay Bratt was reportedly among the group who sat down with Trump’s lawyers.
Trump’s team showed the government officials where Trump was storing documents – in a basement room. Investigators reportedly observed that some of the files there were marked as classified.
At one point the former president himself reportedly stopped in to say hello and ‘make small talk’ before leaving again, CNN reported.
Days after the investigators’ visit, they reportedly sent a letter to Trump’s staff asking them to secure the room where they observed the documents being stored.
Aides then padlocked the area, according to CNN.
It is unclear what transpired between June and this week to make the FBI decide to forcibly claim the documents.
But a former FBI agent told DailyMail.com that Monday’s raid was likely sparked by new information from an ‘informant’ and a breakdown in cooperation between the agency and former president.
Retired FBI Special Agent in Charge Michael Tabman, who served the agency for 24 years, said a raid of this level of sensitivity would need to be approved by Attorney General Merrick Garland.
‘I think somebody gave them information indicating that these documents are there,’ Tabman said, adding two hypothetical ‘insider’ revelations: ‘You have not been told the truth about their existence. You’re not getting them unless you come get them.’
‘I think there was inside information – call it an informant if you want,’ he told DailyMail.com. ‘I believe either someone told them something or some other information was stumbled upon, which was kind of conclusive in their minds that they had to go now to get that or they’re not getting it.’
Tabman claimed while there was cooperation between Trump and the FBI at one point, the agency may have gotten a sense that the former president and his team were ‘telling you what they want to tell you with limited information.’
FBI protocol, according to Tabman, is to move forward with seizing information once they feel that ‘voluntarily’ obtaining it is no longer viable.
‘You know, everything could disappear,’ Tabman said. ‘You got evidence that you need to get before it disappears or it moves and you can’t see it anymore.’
In order to obtain the warrant for a raid, the FBI would need to prove probable cause and conduct the search in a timely manner. Agents can’t just ‘poke around’ someone’s home in a case like this, Tabman said.
He also claimed the FBI could have gotten the sense that Trump was just no longer being ‘fully cooperative’ with the investigation – leading them to see the raid approval.
Tabman said that while it doesn’t appear any protocols were broken in conducting the raid, it’s still an ‘unprecedented’ move in the sense that the FBI has never raided a former president’s home before.
‘I can’t think of this having happened to a former president,’ Tabman noted.
‘I don’t see any protocols that were broken in any way,’ the retired FBI special agent added. ‘They must have obviously had probable cause.’
The ex-president was at Trump Tower in New York City when the FBI raided his Florida estate. Eric Trump told Fox News he informed his father of the raid.
Trump and his allies quickly sought to cast the search as a weaponization of the criminal justice system and a Democratic-driven effort to keep him from winning another term in 2024 – though the Biden White House said it had no prior knowledge and current FBI Director Christopher Wray was appointed by Trump five years ago.
Trump, disclosing the search in a lengthy statement late Monday, asserted that agents had opened a safe at his home, and he described their work as an ‘unannounced raid’ that he likened to ‘prosecutorial misconduct.’
‘These are dark times for our Nation, as my beautiful home, Mar-A-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, is currently under siege, raided, and occupied by a large group of FBI agents,’ Trump said through his Save America PAC,’ he said.
‘I stood up to America’s bureaucratic corruption, I restored power to the people, and truly delivered for our Country, like we have never seen before.
‘The establishment hated it.
Now, as they watch my endorsed candidates win big victories, and see my dominance in all polls, they are trying to stop me, and the Republican Party, once more.
‘The lawlessness, political persecution, and Witch Hunt must be exposed and stopped.’
Justice Department spokesperson Dena Iverson declined to comment on the search, including whether Garland had personally authorized it.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the West Wing first learned of the search from public media reports and the White House had not been briefed in the run-up or aftermath.
‘The Justice Department conducts investigations independently and we leave any law enforcement matters to them,’ she said. ‘We are not involved.’
About two dozen Trump supporters stood in protest at midmorning Tuesday in the Florida summer heat and sporadic light rain on a bridge near the former president’s residence. One held a sign reading ‘Democrats are Fascists’ while others carried flags saying ‘2020 Was Rigged,’ ‘Trump 2024’ and Biden’s name with an obscenity. Some cars honked in support as they passed.
Trump’s Vice President Mike Pence, a potential 2024 rival, said Tuesday that he was concerned about the FBI ‘s raid – despite their 20-month estrangement.
‘I share the deep concern of millions of Americans over the unprecedented search of the personal residence of President Trump,’ Pence tweeted Tuesday afternoon. ‘No former President of the United States has ever been subject to a raid of their personal residence in American history.’
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell echoed Pence, saying: ‘Attorney General Garland and the Department of Justice should already have provided answers to the American people and must do so immediately.’
‘The FBI director was appointed by Donald Trump,’ said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., when asked about GOP allegations that the raid showed the politicization of the Justice Department. She added, ‘Facts and truth, facts and law, that’s what it’s about.’
Trump was meeting late Tuesday at his Bedminster, New Jersey, club with members of the Republican Study Committee, a group headed by Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana that says it is committed to putting forth his priorities in Congress.
The FBI reached out to the Secret Service shortly before serving a warrant, a third person familiar with the matter told The Associated Press. Secret Service agents contacted the Justice Department and were able to validate the warrant before facilitating access to the estate, the person said.
The Justice Department has been investigating the potential mishandling of classified information since the National Archives and Records Administration said it had received from Mar-a-Lago 15 boxes of White House records, including documents containing classified information, earlier this year. The National Archives said Trump should have turned over that material upon leaving office, and it asked the Justice Department to investigate.
Bobb said in her interview with 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.’
There are multiple federal laws governing the handling of classified records and sensitive government documents, including statutes that make it a crime to remove such material and retain it at an unauthorized location. Though a search warrant does not necessarily mean criminal charges are near or even expected, federal officials looking to obtain one must first demonstrate to a judge that they have probable cause that a crime occurred.
Two people familiar with the matter, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation, said the search Monday was related to the records probe. Agents were also looking to see if Trump had additional presidential records or any classified documents at the estate.
Trump has previously maintained that presidential records were turned over ‘in an ordinary and routine process.’ His son Eric said on Fox News on Monday night that he had spent the day with his father and that the search happened because ‘the National Archives wanted to corroborate whether or not Donald Trump had any documents in his possession.’
Trump himself, in a social media post Monday night, called the search a ‘weaponization of the Justice System, and an attack by Radical Left Democrats who desperately don’t want me to run for President in 2024.’
The probe is hardly the only legal headache confronting Trump. A separate investigation related to efforts by him and his allies to undo the results of the 2020 presidential election – which led to the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol – has also been intensifying in Washington. Several former White House officials have received grand jury subpoenas.
And a district attorney in Fulton County, Georgia, is investigating whether Trump and his close associates sought to interfere in that state’s election, which was won by Democrat Joe Biden.