This article first appeared here.
President Joe Biden’s administration was involved in the raid of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence through a “special access request,” according to documents obtained from the National Archives by America First Legal.
On August 8, 2022, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) raided Mar-a-Lago on the grounds of retrieving alleged classified documents. According to the establishment media, Biden administration officials were “stunned” to hear of the unprecedented action. The Archives also claimed that it had “not been involved in the DOJ investigation.”
But documents show 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, America First Legal revealed Monday:
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, 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.
”If the OIG acted independently in making a referral to the FBI, then Mr. Laster would not have involved himself in the FBI’s review of the 15 boxes in his capacity as the Director of the White House Liaison Division “responsible for all access requests for Presidential records.” Similarly, the FBI affidavit before the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida that provided the 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.” However, the evidence is that the Biden White House and the Department of Justice coordinated to obtain the Trump records, and perhaps create a pretext for a law enforcement raid, by way of a “special access request.”
“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, released a statement ripping the White House’s reported role in the FBI raid of Trump’s home.
“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 vowed to keep investigating the developing scandal.
Attorney General Merrick Garland has appointed Special Counsel Jack Smith to handle the probe into documents that Trump took at the end of his presidency.Trump has recently called the FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago “illegal and unconstitutional.” He also scolded Smith as a “radical left lunatic known as a bomb thrower who is harassing hundreds of my people day after day over the boxes hoax.”