According to documents acquired from the National Archives by America First Legal, the administration of President Joe Biden was involved in the seizure of former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago residence via a "special access request."
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) raided Mar-a-Lago on August 8, 2022, ostensibly to retrieve classified documents, according to Breitbart News.
The establishment media reported that Biden administration officials were "stunned" to learn of the unprecedented action. Additionally, the Archives asserted that it was "not been involved in the DOJ investigation."
America First Legal revealed Monday that documents indicate the FBI obtained access to the records through a "special access request" from the Biden White House on behalf of the DOJ, contradicting what the Archives told Congress:
Notably, despite the Archives’ claim that it had “not been involved in the DOJ investigation,” the documents show that the Archives’ official responsible for administering all access requests for Presidential records, John Laster, was involved in preparing the 15 boxes for FBI review as late as August 23, 2022.
On October 25, 2022, the Acting Archivist Wall wrote to then-Ranking Members James Comer and Jim Jordan, claiming “NARA received the 15 boxes from President Trump on January 18, 2022, and then discovered that they contained classified national security information.
"Shortly after the discovery, NARA consulted with its Office of Inspector General (OIG), which operates independently of NARA. As DOJ has disclosed publicly in court filings, NARA’s OIG subsequently referred the matter to DOJ on February 9, 2022.”
Laster would not have participated in the FBI's evaluation of the 15 crates in his capacity as Director of the White House Liaison Division, which is “responsible for all access requests for Presidential records” had the OIG acted independently in referring the case to the FBI.
Similarly, the FBI affidavit submitted to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, which provided probable cause for the issuance of a search warrant against Mar-a-Lago on August 8, 2022, stated, “[on February 9, 2022] the Special Agent in Charge of NARA’s Office of the Inspector General sent the NARA Referral via email to DOJ.”
By way of a "special access request," the Biden White House and the Department of Justice coordinated to procure the Trump records and possibly create a pretext for a law enforcement search.
“The special access statute authorizes special access requests to an incumbent president only when the records in question are needed for ‘the conduct of current business’ of the White House,” America First Legal explained. “Providing documents to the DOJ for purposes of a criminal investigation is not the ‘current business’ of the White House.”
Reed D. Rubinstein, senior counselor and director of oversight and investigations, issued a statement criticizing the White House's alleged involvement in the FBI search on Donald Trump's residence.
“The evidence further suggests that Biden officials in the Executive Office of the President and the Department of Justice unlawfully abused their power and then lied about it to the American people,” he said. “This government, it seems, acknowledges no limits on its power to harass, intimidate, and silence its political opponents.”
America First Legal has pledged to continue its investigation into the unfolding scandal. Attorney General Merrick Garland has appointed Special Counsel Jack Smith to oversee the investigation into the documents that Trump removed from the White House upon leaving office.
Recently, Trump described the FBI search on Mar-a-Lago as "illegal and unconstitutional." In addition, he chastised Smith for being a “radical left lunatic known as a bomb thrower who is harassing hundreds of my people day after day over the boxes hoax.”