Days after the surprise FBI search of Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate, some big questions remain unanswered. By practically all accounts, the feds were searching for classified documents Trump might have taken with him from the White House. But what specifically triggered the search this week? A number of stories explore the subject, raising the possibility that a Trump insider expressed concerns to the Justice Department.
- Before the search: In June, Justice Department investigators visited Mar-a-Lago to discuss Trump's trove of documents there, but they appeared to have left that relatively cordial visit without major concerns, per the Wall Street Journal. (They did suggest adding a lock to a storage unit, the Washington Post reported.) And before that June visit, the National Archives had retrieved 15 boxes of documents from the estate. So why the return trip this week?
- Informant? "Someone familiar with the stored papers told investigators there may be still more classified documents at the private club," the Journal reports, citing sources described as close to the matter. Newsweek similarly reports that the search was "based largely on information from an FBI confidential human source, one who was able to identify what classified documents former President Trump was still hiding and even the location of those documents." The report cites two senior government officials.
- National security: CNN weighs in with a similar report, saying that "at least one witness" voiced concerns to the FBI that the former president was holding classified documents at Mar-a-Lago with national security implications. It remains unclear what was taken during this week's search, but agents left with about 10 boxes of material.
- But who? At Axios, Mike Allen writes that "Trumpworld is abuzz with speculation about which close aide or aides has 'flipped' and provided additional sensitive information to the FBI about what former President Trump was keeping at Mar-a-Lago." A report at Rolling Stone amplifies this, quoting sources who say that Trump himself has voiced suspicions that some Republicans visiting the Florida estate of late have been "wearing a wire."
- Conspiracy theories: Trump's orbit is gripped by "a wave of concern and even paranoia" in the the wake of the search, reports Politico. Among the conspiracy theories in circulation is that agents planted incriminating material and perhaps even recording devices. “I can tell you all of us agree this is corrupt,” says longtime Trump ally Michael Caputo. “Many people in Trump world agree with me that this is theater and this is designed to damage the president, this is designed to damage Republicans in the midterms, and it is designed to advance the interests of the Democratic Party. And you know what, they completely failed.”
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