JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Questions are swirling around the FBI’s unprecedented search of former President Donald Trump’s Florida residence.
The Associated Press reported that agents on Monday searched Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, which is also a private club, as part of a federal investigation into whether the former president took classified records from the White House to his Florida residence, people familiar with the matter said.
Justice Department spokesperson Dena Iverson declined to comment on the search, including whether Attorney General Merrick Garland had personally authorized it. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the West Wing first learned of the search from public media reports and the White House had not been briefed in the run-up or aftermath.
Since news broke of the search, response has been swift.
There are opposite views of this on both sides of the political aisle, but one thing both sides are agreeing on is they want to know what was in the warrant that the FBI served to go into Mar-a-Lago.
One observer described the FBI’s search of Mar-a-Lago as a political earthquake. Democrats are saying they want answers to why the FBI went in while the shadow of the Jan. 6 committee looms and to questions on whether documents seized by the FBI could disqualify Trump from running for president again.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said, “We believe in the rule of law. That’s what our country is about.”
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., put out a warning to the attorney general that if Republicans retake the House, there will be probes into the search, saying, “Attorney General Garland, preserve your documents and clear your calendar.”
And there was reaction in Florida. Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis called the search “another escalation in the weaponization of federal agencies against the Regime’s political opponents.”
News4JAX caught up with Florida Agriculture Commissioner and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Nikki Fried.
“What I was disappointed in is that our governor escalated the situation last night in calling this a regime, defending an insurrectionist as Donald Trump,” Fried said. “No one is above the law.”
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., also spoke out.
“The truth is this wasn’t about documents,” Rubio said. “This raid was about trying to disqualify a likely future election opponent.”
Trump supporters have gathered outside Mar-a-Lago to show solidarity with the former commander-in-chief.
Much of this debate could be settled or intensified when the Justice Department speaks out and whether the contents of the warrant are made public.
Trump put out a message when this happened, saying, “These are dark times for our Nation, as my beautiful home, Mar-A-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, is currently under siege, raided, and occupied by a large group of FBI agents.”
News4JAX political analyst Rick Mullaney said both sides are getting ahead of themselves and should hear what was in the search warrant first.
“That’s the question the whole nation is asking. What was in the warrant? What were the allegations?” Mullaney said. “And remember, a federal judge had to sign off on the warrant.”
A big question involves whether this turns into an indictment. Rolling Stone published an article Tuesday morning saying that Trump has been interviewing potential criminal defense lawyers to represent him against a federal indictment.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.