May 21, 2024 - Politics & Policy

FBI responds to Trump claim about Mar-a-Lago search

Former U.S. President Donald Trump sits in the courtroom during his hush money trial at Manhattan Cr

Former President Trump sits in the courtroom during his hush money trial at Manhattan Criminal Court on May 20 in New York City. Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

The FBI in a statement on Tuesday said that their search at former President Trump's Mar-a-Lago residence followed standard protocol, which "includes a standard policy statement limiting the use of deadly force."

Why it matters: The statement was a response to a Truth Social post from Trump earlier in the day that inflamed his conservative allies and included misleading claims about President Biden's Justice Department.

  • "The FBI followed standard protocol in this search as we do for all search warrants, which includes a standard policy statement limiting the use of deadly force," the FBI said in the Tuesday statement, according to multiple reports.
  • "No one ordered additional steps to be taken and there was no departure from the norm in this matter," the FBI said.

Zoom in: Trump posted on his Truth Social account on Tuesday that Biden's Justice Department "authorized the FBI to use deadly (lethal) force."

  • Trump's allies seized on his post, with Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) falsely claiming that the DOJ and FBI were "planning to assassinate Pres. Trump and gave the green light."

Trump was indicted last year on charges related to the investigation into his handling of classified documents after he left the White House. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

  • He has often turned to social media to deride his criminal cases, presenting himself as the victim of politically motivated prosecutors.

The big picture: Court documents unsealed Tuesday provided new details about the FBI's search at Mar-a-Lago.

  • In one of Trump's team's filings, they wrote that the FBI was authorized under Justice Department policy to use "deadly force," which is typical department policy, the Washington Post notes.
  • "Every FBI operations order contains a reminder of FBI deadly force policy," former assistant director of counterintelligence at the FBI Frank Figliuzzi wrote on the social media platform X.
  • "Even for a search warrant. Deadly force is always authorized if the required threat presents itself."

Flashback: Former FBI assistant director in charge Steve D'Antuono testified before Congress last year, saying, "it wasn't even a show of force, right, because we were all in agreement."

  • "We made sure we interacted with the Secret Service to make sure we could get into Mar-a-Lago with no issues," he said.
  • "We're not banging down any doors. We weren't bringing any like FBI vehicles, everything that was reported about helicopters and a hundred people descending on, like a Die Hard movie, was completely untrue, right. That is not how we played it."

Go deeper: Trump's attorneys found classified docs in his bedroom months after raid

Editor's note: This story has been updated with details on a testimony from Steve D'Antuono.

Go deeper