Donald Trump Investigated
Donald Trump is facing three separate investigations:
The January 6th Committee investigated his role in inciting the January 6th Capitol attack.
The FBI is investigating the illegal removal of classified documents from the White House.
The Manhatten DA investigated tax fraud by Trump's businesses. The Trump empire was found guilty of 17 counts of tax fraud in December 2022.
This page focuses on the ongoing investigations.
The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot voted to subpoena former President Donald Trump for his role in inciting violence during the January 6th Capitol attack in order to stop the peaceful transfer of power.
Trump defied the subpoena. The Committee has not stated how it will proceed.
Trump-appointed FBI officials signed off on a warrant to raid Trump's residence in search of highly classified documents.
Here's what they found.
Trump’s FBI Director Got Search Warrant for Mar-a-Lago
The FBI executed a court-approved search warrant at former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida on August 8, 2022.
The law enforcement raid was ordered by Trump-appointed FBI Director Christopher Wray with a warrant granted by Judge Bruce Reinhardt, Magistrate Judge of the Southern District of Florida. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced he personally approved the search after establishing probable cause.
Sources say the search is part of the FBI’s investigation into classified materials Trump allegedly took from the White House to his Florida resort, in violation of US law and national security.
What The Warrant Says
The warrant reveals that the FBI is investigating Donald Trump for a potential violation of the Espionage Act and removed classified documents from the former president’s Florida estate earlier this week.
It further reveals that FBI agents removed more than 20 boxes from former President Donald Trump’s resort and residence in Palm Beach, Florida, as well as binders of photos, sets of classified government materials and at least one handwritten note.
Federal agents seized just one set of “top secret/SCI” documents, according to the search warrant receipt. Agents took four sets of “top secret” documents, three sets of “secret” documents, and three sets of “confidential” documents.
The warrant receipt didn’t detail what these classified documents were about.
Earlier this year, Trump had to return 15 boxes of presidential records to the National Archives that he took from the White House at the end of his term.
Why Trump’s Estate Was Searched According to the Affidavit
A released affidavit details the Department of Justice's reason to believe the search of Trump’s Palm Beach, Florida, resort home would turn up evidence of illegality.
The affidavit confirms probable cause that some of the materials taken from the White House by the former president were particularly sensitive.
The Justice Department asked to search President Donald J. Trump’s Florida residence after retrieving an initial batch of highly classified national security documents, out of concern that their disclosure could compromise “clandestine human sources” used in intelligence gathering.
The affidavit was heavily redacted, with more than half of the highly anticipated pages blacked out, in order to protect witnesses and the integrity of the investigation.
Why Is Taking Documents from the White House Illegal?
The Presidential Records Act of 1978 requires presidents and White House staffers to preserve official documents, communications, and records to give to the National Archives at the conclusion of the president’s term.
US law has long held that official records, documents, and even gifts to a President belong to the American people, not to the politician who held the office.
A federal grand jury has been conducting a grand jury investigation into whether documents that ended up at Trump’s Florida home were mishandled. Trump’s inner circle and White House staff have testified that President Trump also attempted to destroy records on multiple occasions.
What Was Found at Mar-a-Lago?
During the search of Trump’s estate, FBI agents found four dozen empty document folders marked “CLASSIFIED,” according to a court filing. 43 of these folders were found in Trump’s office, while the remaining five were found in a storage room.
42 additional empty folders were found marked “Return to Staff Secretary/Military Aide.” 28 of those empty folders were found in Trump’s office, 14 were in a storage room.
Additionally, FBI agents found over 10,000 government documents without any classification markings.
In a separate court filing on August 30, the FBI disclosed that they found over 100 documents marked as classified at Mar-a-Lago.
What it Takes to Obtain a Search Warrant
A search warrant request is made by a federal law enforcement agency only if officials conclude that information related to a criminal investigation can be found at someone’s property.
A warrant is used when there is a sense of prosecutorial urgency. According to the Department of Justice’s guidebook the Justice Manual, a search warrant is only used when “it appears that the use of a subpoena, summons, request, or other less intrusive alternative means of obtaining the materials would substantially jeopardize the availability or usefulness of the materials sought.”
For the Justice Department or the F.B.I. to obtain a search warrant, it must be approved by a federal judge or magistrate. There are often highly specific limitations on a search to protect citizens’ Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable searches and seizures.
Law enforcement agencies must then prove “probable cause,” meaning that they have evidence that any search would likely find evidence of crime. The warrant also must include the specific location to be searched and the nature of the search to prevent agents from going beyond the parameters of what has been requested.
Following normal procedures to avoid political influence, the White House was not informed about the warrant until it had been executed.
Supreme Court denies Trump bid to void ruling in Mar-a-Lago raid documents case
The Supreme Court denied a request by former President Donald Trump to vacate a lower appeals court ruling in a case related to the FBI raid and seizure of documents from his Florida residence.
Trump had asked the Supreme Court to allow a so-called special master to review more than 100 classified documents that were found by FBI agents at his home among the more than 11,000 government records seized at his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach.
The appeals court said that subset of records could only be reviewed by the Department of Justice, which is conducting a criminal investigation of Trump.
JANUARY 6TH COMMITTEE INVESTIGATION
Why Rioters Attacked the Capitol
The January 6th House Committee investigated events leading up to and during the attack on the Capitol on January 6, 2021. As part of that investigation, the Committee investigated the reasons why rioters stormed the Capitol.
The first Committee hearing revealed that many of the convicted rioters, both on video and through interviews, said the only reason they stormed the Capitol Building was because Donald Trump asked them to.
“What really made me wanna come was the fact that, you know, I had supported Trump all that time. Uh, I did believe, you know, that the election was being stolen. Um, and Trump asked us to come…He personally asked for us to come to DC that day. I thought for everything he's done for us, if this is the only thing he's gonna ask me, I'll do it,” said one of the rioters.
Stephen Ayres, a former Trump supporter from Ohio, said he learned about the “Stop the Steal” rally on social media and decided to attend.
Ayres illegally entered the Capitol building on January 6th because Trump told him to during his speech. “Basically, you know, the President got everybody riled up and told everybody to head on down [to the Capitol]. So we basically … just following what he said,” Ayres testified to the Committee.
What motivated Ayres to leave the Capitol was when Trump put out a Tweet asking his supporters to go home.
These reports, in addition to tweets sent by Trump himself, led the Committee to further investigate Donald Trump’s role in the attack through thorough interviews with those close to him during that period.
In particular, the Committee is investigating why it took Trump so long to ask rioters to stop attacking the Capitol. With the Capitol attack in full force – as Capitol Police were being hospitalized and dying defending the building and Congress – Trump refused to listen to pleas from his staff, family, and advisors to instruct his supporters to end the riot. It wasn’t until 4:17 P.M., three hours after rioters entered the Capitol and after police had retaken control and secured the building, that Trump tweeted for them to go home. “This was a fraudulent election, but..we have to have peace. So go home. We love you; you’re very special...But go home.”
Claiming Election Fraud Despite Recommendations from Top Advisors
Pat Cipollone, the White House Counsel, testified to the Committee that he told Trump to concede the 2020 election. This was after every court ruled against Trump’s claims of election fraud — including Trump-appointed judges.
On January 6th (and for months prior) Trump publicly stated the 2020 election was fraudulent, even though many of his former advisors have gone on record stating that they disagreed with the election fraud claims.
In May 2020, before voting began for the general election, Trump tweeted without evidence, “There is NO WAY (ZERO!) that Mail-In Ballots will be anything less than substantially fraudulent. Mail boxes will be robbed, ballots will be forged & even illegally printed out & fraudulently signed.”
On election night, Trump declared himself winner of the 2020 election before states had finished counting all the legally cast votes, and with Fox News even indicating Biden was going to be the likely winner.
All of the president’s closest aides urged him not to declare, believing it to be too soon. Witnesses claim an inebriated Rudy Guiliani was pushing and supported the decision to prematurely declare victory.
After the votes were counted and Joe Biden won the election, Trump pressured those around him to find election fraud.
Trump and Giuliani made claims such as “Dominion [voting machines] deleted 2.7 million Trump votes nationwide,” and “A truck pulled up to the Detroit center where they were counting ballots. The people thought it was food, so they all ran to the truck. Wasn’t food. It was thousands and thousands of ballots and the ballots were in garbage cans, they were in paper bags, they were in cardboard boxes, and they were taken into the center.”
Trump’s 2020 campaign chief, Bill Stepien, said of Trump’s election fraud claims, “I didn’t think what was happening was necessarily honest or professional.”
Former Trump campaign legal counsel, Matt Morgan, stated the claims were so outlandish that “law firms were not comfortable making the arguments that Rudy Giuliani was making publicly.”
Former U.S. Attorney General, Bill Barr (appointed by Trump in 2019), told Trump he thought the election fraud claims were “bullsh-t” and concluded that Joe Biden won the election.
When Trump believed there to be a fraudulent “big vote dump” in Detroit, Barr investigated and explained, “Mr. President, there are 630 precincts in Detroit. And unlike elsewhere in the state, they centralize the counting process. So they're not counted in each precinct, they're moved to counting stations.”
Barr ultimately asks Trump: “did all the people complaining about [fraud] point out to you, you actually did better in Detroit than you did last time? I mean, there's no indication of fraud in Detroit.”
Barr even went as far as saying Trump must have “become detached from reality if he really believes this stuff."
Once Ivanka Trump heard that from Barr, she also accepted the election results. Ivanka Trump told Committee investigators, “I respect Attorney General Barr, so I accepted what he was saying.”
Trump Used Twitter to Recruit for the Riot
On December 19, former President Donald Trump laid the groundwork for a mob attacking the Capitol. In a tweet, he invited his supporters to Washington, D.C., saying that the protest “will be wild.”
In the hours after Trump’s tweet, the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers formed an alliance. The next day, the Proud Boys created an encrypted chat to coordinate the attack.
A Twitter employee who worked on content moderation testified to the Committee that members of extremist groups took direction from Trump and began coordinating with each other. The Twitter employee worried about the former president using the platform to incite violence.
“If former President Donald Trump were any other user on Twitter, he would have been permanently suspended a very long time ago,” the Twitter employee said.
In the end, it wasn’t until after the attack on January 6th that Twitter removed Trump from the platform for violating its policy on glorifying violence.
Trump’s informal advisor Roger Stone and former National Security Director Michael Flynn both coordinated with extremist groups in the lead up to January 6th.
Trump Pressures Mike Pence to Overturn Election Results
After firing various aids, Trump worked with supporters to organize the Stop the Steal rally on January 6th. During the rally, Trump urged Vice President Pence to overturn the election results and instructed supporters to walk to the Capitol, “we're going to walk down to the Capitol.” He later said, "We fight like hell. And if you don't fight like hell, you're not going to have a country anymore.”
At 2:24pm, with rioters inside and surrounding the Capitol, Trump tweeted, “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution … USA demands the truth!”
Two minutes later, video shows Mike Pence being escorted from the Joint Session by the Secret Service; rioters outside are chanting to hang Pence.
According to the January 6 Committee investigators, “Aware of the rioters chanting to ‘hang Mike Pence,’ the president responded with this sentiment: ‘Maybe our supporters have the right idea. [Mike Pence] deserves it.’”
Following the Capitol attack, eleven Trump administration officials resigned in protest of Trump’s actions. Many other Republican leaders spoke out denouncing the violence.
The January 6th Committee found that Trump and his top allies tried to influence witness testimony. Witness tampering is a federal crime punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
Search and Seizure Warrant Full Text
To: Any authorized law enforcement officer An application by a federal law enforcement officer or an attorney for the government requests the search of the following person or property located in the Southern District of Florida (identify the person or describe the property to be searched and give its location): See Attachment A
I find that the affidavit(s) or any recorded testimony, establish probable cause to search and seize the person or property described above, and that such search will reveal (identify the person or describe the property to be seized): See Attachment B
Signed: Hon. Bruce Reinhart, U.S. Magistrate Judge
Property to be searched
The premises to be searched, 1100 S Ocean Blvd, Palm Beach, FL 33480, is further
described as a resort, club, and residence located near the intersection of Southern Blvd and S
Ocean Blvd. It is described as a mansion with approximately 58 bedrooms, 33 bathrooms, on a
17-acre estate. The locations to be searched include the "45 Office," all storage rooms, and all
other rooms or areas within the premises used or available to be used by FPOTUS and his staff
and in which boxes or documents could be stored, including all structures or buildings on the
estate. It does not include areas currently (i.e., at the time of the search) being occupied, rented,
or used by third parties (such as Mar-a-Largo Members) and not otherwise used or available to be used by FPOTUS and his staff, such as private guest suites.
Property to be seized
All physical documents and records constituting evidence, contraband, fruits of crime, or other items illegally possessed in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 793, 2071 , or 1519, including the following:
a. Any physical documents with classification markings, along with any containers/boxes (including any other contents) in which such documents are located, as well as any other containers/boxes that are collectively stored or found together with the aforementioned documents and containers/boxes;
b. Information, including communications in any form, regarding the retrieval, storage, or transmission of national defense information or classified material;
c. Any government and/or Presidential Records created between January 20, 2017, and January 20, 2021; or
d. Any evidence of the knowing alteration, destruction, or concealment of any government and/or Presidential Records, or of any documents with classification markings.