by Jennie Taer
The top levels of the Biden administration, including the White House and officials leading the Department of Justice (DOJ), were likely aware of the Mar-a-Lago raid and may have even moved the warrant forward, two retired FBI agents told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Former President Donald Trump announced Monday night that the FBI raided his Florida home, while the Department of Justice (DOJ) had an ongoing investigation into the possible mishandling of classified documents after 15 boxes of White House documents ended up at Mar-a-Lago, according to The Washington Post.
Federal agents took away ten more boxes after the search, according to The Wall Street Journal, citing a source with knowledge.
The retired FBI agents said that the White House likely received a briefing before the FBI conducted the raid. However, a White House spokesperson told the DCNF they “did not have notice of the reported action,” referring the DCNF to the DOJ, which declined to comment.
“So an event like yesterday’s is orchestrated, and particularly because it’s done against the former president. It’s orchestrated at the highest levels,” retired FBI Agent Robert Chacon, who focused on criminal, counterterrorism and forensic matters, told the DCNF.
“So that means the FBI director, it means the attorney general or his Deputy Attorney General was personally involved in this. There’s just no way I can believe that this warrant wouldn’t have been secured or that action wouldn’t have been taken without approval from the highest levels,” he added.
The White House counsel may also have been briefed ahead of the raid because the investigation centered around a former president, retired FBI supervisory special agent Todd Hulsey told the DCNF.
“Because we’re talking about a former president of the United States, the approval levels to move forward with requesting a court issue a search would most certainly be no lower than that of Deputy Attorney General, which is Lisa Monaco. It is likely that the attorney general, Merrick Garland, himself approved moving forward with making this application to the court,” Hulsey said.
“It is also almost certain that the White House was briefed. That does not mean the president was briefed. But someone at the White House would have been briefed considering it’s a former president we’re talking about and that person most likely would have been the White House counsel,” he added.
Chacon agreed that the White House would’ve probably had prior knowledge despite their claims that they had no advanced knowledge.
“I feel any administration wants to be kept abreast of all major things like this so they don’t get blindsided,” Chacon said.
Hulsey said that the search warrant most likely went through multiple levels of approval.
“Prior to getting the search warrant issued by the independent magistrate, the federal judge, probable cause has to be established. So, an FBI agent will write an affidavit outlining all the probable cause to believe that there’s a violation of federal law that will be reviewed and edited by the prosecutor assigned to the case and then it will go to, depending upon the approval levels required, it will go to main justice for review,” Hulsey explained.
“Depending upon the level of public official that’s current or former the approval levels go higher. For example, a city councilman probably only requires the United States Attorney to approve,” he added.
Neither White House nor the FBI responded to the DCNF’s requests for additional comment.
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Jennie Taer is a reporter at Daily Caller News Foundation.
Photo “The White House” by Alex Proimos. CC BY 2.0.