The FBI Raid on Donald Trump – Just or Political Theatre?


Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS

Former U.S. President Donald Trump’s estate at Mar-a-lago was raided by the FBI, as the former President either abandoned or failed to prove core privilege issues that he originally raised in pushing for a special master to review documents seized from his Mar-a-Lago home, the Justice Department said. Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS.

Christian Movick, Multimedia Editor & News Writer

For the first time in U.S. history, the home of a former President was raided by the FBI on August 22, 2022.

Some are outraged by what they feel is a politicized FBI conducting an unwarranted raid, while others are happy as they feel former President Donald Trump is beginning to experience consequences for his actions. While America was in the dark as to why the raid occurred at first, more information has come to light.

As it turns out, the investigation into Trump began in February of 2022, when the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration reported to the Department of Justice (DOJ) Trump had fifteen boxes of highly classified documents.

After a review of the referral, the DOJ began a criminal investigation and claimed there was probable cause to believe the classified documents contained national defense information, that obstruction would be found, and that the documents were being stored at an unauthorized location.

In May of 2022, FBI agents claim to have discovered 67 documents marked as confidential, 92 as secret, and 25 as top secret.

In June, the DOJ sent a letter to Trump’s counsel, saying the documents “have not been handled in an appropriate manner or stored in an appropriate location.” The letter goes on to state, “Accordingly, we ask that the room at Mar-a-Lago where the documents had been stored be secured… be preserved in that room in their current condition until further notice.” The counsel then emailed back, acknowledging they had received the letter.

The FBI stated that they believed they had probable cause that Trump was in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 793(e), 2071, or 1519. The full affidavit can be viewed here, though much is redacted.

James Ingolia, a senior at Pattonville High School, expressed he thought the raid was warranted, saying it “did appear there was something” illegal going on.

Ingolia also thought it was entirely possible that President Joe Biden was not aware of the raid beforehand as Biden claims.

“There are a lot of things that go on behind the scenes that even the President doesn’t know about,” Ingolia said.

Ingolia believes Trump should be charged if found guilty.

“Of course, being former president or having a following does not make it okay to do illegal things. People with followings are arrested all the time, so I don’t think (his) followers will be as big of a problem as possibly perceived.”

Another individual here at Pattonville that knows a lot of information regarding the FBI’s history had much to say, however preferred to be anonymous due to concerns revolving around speaking out vigorously against the FBI. The individual spoke on the FBI’s potential politicization, saying that it “absolutely” has been politicized in the past, and that presidents do have power over the organization.
“We know that in the 1960s the FBI had a very, very big vendetta against civil rights organizations, especially the Black Panthers… because of Chief J. Edgar Hoover and LBJ (Lyndon B. Johnson), who basically had it out to get them,” the individual stated, who then also referenced how the FBI treated Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as an example as well. The individual also went on to say that it would “seem stranger if they weren’t continuing to be politicized,” and that it does appear they have a political leaning on certain issues.
In terms of some scandals the FBI has been involved in, the individual heavily emphasized a counter intelligence program known as Cointelpro. “Cointelpro is basically a direct assault on people… that the FBI considered to be people that were not living up to the status-quo. Whether that was Dr. King, the Black Panthers, or hippie subgroups throughout the United States.”
The individual also provided an example of more recent shady dealings of the FBI, citing the San Bernandino shooting of 2016. The anonymous individual stated that the FBI claimed they couldn’t break into the terrorist’s phone, and Apple refused to let them in. “Strangely enough,” the individual explained, “the FBI was able to get in anyway. You know, these kinds of things are rampant, there’s plenty of examples.”
The individual also went on to say that other examples couldn’t be thought of right then, but that it doesn’t mean there isn’t more. “A lot of it comes out way later… if we didn’t have people that broke into an FBI field agency and stole documents, we wouldn’t know Cointelpro existed.” The individual went on, saying, “that’s the problem, is that they’re able to actually wash some of this stuff away because, ‘well, it’s for the good of the country’, or ‘it’s for the good of the American people.’” The individual ended with a warning to blindly trusting the FBI, saying, “When you see the past of the organization, understand what it does, and who has run this organization, you probably will be able to decide for yourself how you think they work, how they act, and what their process is.”
While it appears that Trump is in violation of the law if the FBI is telling the truth, the debate lies within the “if” of that statement. Due to the FBI’s past, there is much mistrust between the organization and the American public. It has even left those that don’t support former President Trump to be skeptical as well. This story is still developing, and more information is expected to continue to come out in both the short term future, as well as the long term future.