Donald Trump Plays The Blame Game Over FBI Findings

Donald Trump's life after the White House is quickly becoming as controversial as the one within it. The former president's Mar-a-Lago residence was the subject of a search by the FBI on August 7, with the plainclothes agents going over every inch before emerging with 11 sets of classified documents. After Trump himself announced his home had been raided, social media was afire in the days that followed. Trump supporters accused the agency of overstepping its bounds, while the anti-Trump faction wondered exactly what had been removed. 

The plot thickened at week's end, when Attorney General Merrick Garland approved the unsealing of the FBI's search warrant and the receipt for the property removed, with Trump himself saying he "encouraged" their release (per NPR). The documents revealed that among the items seized were documents classified as "Confidential," "Secret," and "Top Secret," with no indication that the papers had been declassified by Trump. What's more, sources told The Washington Post that the root cause of the Mar-a-Lago raid may have been to determine whether any of the documents were related to nuclear weapons.

According to CNN and other sources, the search is part of a Justice Department investigation to determine whether the former president violated the Espionage Act, in addition to other crimes related to obstruction of justice. The act forbids unauthorized "retrieval, storage, or transmission of national defense information or classified material." 

Trump has responded in a typical fashion: with furious finger-pointing.

Donald Trump has gone on the offensive

Former president Donald Trump is opting to go on the offensive regarding the document seizure. First, he claimed to be the innocent victim of persecution and fell back on two catchphrases. On his Truth Social feed, (as reported on Twitter), he blasted the all-caps accusation "WITCH HUNT," and followed up with a longer post. "Nuclear weapons issue is a Hoax, just like Russia, Russia, Russia was a Hoax, two Impeachments were a Hoax, the Mueller investigation was a Hoax, and much more," he wrote in part. 

Later, Trump appeared to spread a conspiracy theory. Because no lawyers or other potential witnesses were allowed into Mar-a-Lago during the raid, Trump repeated his accusations against the FBI, writing, "Planting information anyone?"

Then, Trump forged a what-about argument, with his White House predecessor as the target. One of several Truth Social posts on the subject (via Salon) read, "I continue to ask, what happened to the 33 Million pages of documents taken to Chicago by President Obama? The Fake News Media refuses to talk about that. They want it CANCELED!" That approach fell flat, though, since those papers were not only declassified, they were taken by the National Archives, per CNN.

On August 12, Trump stated that he actually did declassify the documents in question. This may not be enough to vindicate him, however. The New York Times explains that it is still a crime to "[take] or hoard material with restricted national-security information."