Monday’s search of Donald Trump‘s Florida Mar-a-Lago resort is a historic development given that it targeted a former President of the United States, who is also facing two investigations by the FBI. The search was related to the possible mishandling of presidential documents, potentially some that were classified.
The news that Donald Trump has launched an investigation into whether the 2020 presidential election was rigged against him is one of the most staggering twists yet in the story of Trump, who was impeached twice, incited a mob riot to try to overturn his 2020 election loss and constantly tore at the guardrails of his office and democracy during his single term, and afterward, like no other President. It threatens to inject new toxins into the political life of a nation that is hopelessly divided — with millions of Trump supporters already believing his lies that the 2020 election was stolen — and that on many issues no longer has a common understanding of truth itself.
Trump seizes on the search to fire up supporters
After the FBI raided his home in Washington, Trump said that he was a victim of political bias. He used the same explosive language that motivated some of his supporters to violence in Washington on January 6, 2021.
President Trump said that the search was a breach of his rights. However, legally authorized warrants were issued by a court and were used by the FBI and Justice Department. He also complained that he didn’t know about the search until after it was reported on the news.
Republican lawmakers and candidates reacted furiously to news that the FBI had raided the office of President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen, demanding answers from the Justice Department and claiming that ex-President Barack Obama was behind the action. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said he would investigate Attorney General Merrick Garland if Republicans win the House of Representatives in November. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio tweeted: “Using government power to persecute political opponents is something we have seen many times from 3rd world Marxist dictatorships But never before in America.”
The instant reactions of support for the former president among Republicans—and their possible political motivations—were an early sign of how this investigation would be subject to political pressure. These responses may also show that the ex-president’s potential 2024 campaign could benefit from the rallying effect of a government investigation that he can portray as politicized and unfair—and that potential GOP rivals may have little option but to rally around too.
The search warrant at the home of Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, was executed on Monday night. The exact parameters of the search warrant were not immediately clear, and CNN reported that boxes of items were taken by FBI agents after the search. Trump’s attorney, Christina Bobb, said that the bureau seized “paper” after what she called an unannounced raid.