Former President Donald Trump was hit with a criminal indictment last week that stemmed directly from the FBI's unprecedented raid on his Mar-a-Lago residence in South Florida to retrieve government documents he allegedly unlawfully retained after leaving the White House in 2021.
Now comes word from a former top FBI official involved in the matter that aside from the raid being unprecedented, it was also likely unnecessary and violated several normal procedures and protocols, the Conservative Brief reported.
It also appears to strongly bolster the assertion that the entire thing was, from the start, a politically motivated hit job against President Joe Biden's chief political rival.
Just the News reported earlier this month -- prior to Special Counsel Jack Smith unveiling a 37-count felony indictment against former President Trump -- that the Republican-led House Judiciary Committee had just interviewed a former top FBI official who expressed "strong concerns" about the manner in which the FBI and Justice Department had handled the Mar-a-Lago raid in August 2022.
That official was Steven D'Antuono, formerly the assistant director in charge of the FBI's Washington Field Office, whose testimony to the committee highlighted "several abnormalities" leading up to and during the FBI raid.
In a June 9 letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland from Committee Chair Jim Jordan (R-OH), the chairman wrote, "During his testimony, Mr. D’Antuono expressed strong concerns with the Department’s pursuit of the raid and noted several unusual features in the Department’s handling of the case."
"During his transcribed interview, Mr. D’Antuono detailed how he disagreed with the Justice Department’s approach to the raid and described several abnormalities about the Department’s actions in pursuing its investigation of President Trump," Jordan continued.
The first of those "abnormalities" highlighted in D'Antuono's testimony was the fact that the Washington Field Office had been assigned by FBI Headquarters to execute the search warrant, rather than the Miami Field Office that had jurisdiction over the area where Mar-a-Lago is located.
That goes against everything that had been learned following the anti-Trump "Crossfire Hurricane" investigation, namely that "investigations should be run out of the Field" and not from FBI Headquarters or the Washington Field Office.
Another "unusual" and "out of the ordinary" factor was that a U.S. Attorney was never assigned to oversee the investigation into former President Trump's alleged mishandling and unlawful retention of government documents.
Instead, the DOJ assigned the probe to Jay Bratt, the head of the counterintelligence division within the Department's National Security Division -- which again plays into the purportedly learned lesson that "Headquarters does not work the investigation."
D'Antuono also took issue with the fact that the FBI never attempted to ask for consent to conduct a search prior to seeking a search warrant, nor did FBI agents wait for any of Trump's attorneys to be present before executing that warrant -- with the former official testifying that, based on his 20 years of experience, Trump and his attorneys likely would have voluntarily consented to a requested search of Mar-a-Lago in the absence of a warrant.
"The Committee previously requested information and documents related to the FBI’s raid of President Trump’s home, which the Department has refused to provide," Chairman Jordan wrote in his letter to AG Garland. "In light of this testimony and the Department’s failure to respond to our previous oversight requests, we write to renew and supplement our request for documents necessary for our oversight."
The congressman concluded by reiterating his prior requests for "all documents and communications" that referenced or related to the Mar-a-Lago raid and certain named individuals, and set a deadline of June 16 for the attorney general to respond -- though that date has since come and gone and it is unclear if Garland ever did provide the information that Jordan sought.