OPINION: This article contains commentary which may reflect the author's opinion
In recent days, new details have emerged about the unprecedented raid on the former president’s Florida home.
Mar-A-Lago, Trump’s Florida mansion, was raided by the FBI on Monday. According to reports, the raid was part of an investigation into whether Trump took classified documents from the White House and stored them at his mansion.
A safe at Trump’s home was broken into by federal agents in search of documents the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) wants.
There were 15 boxes of classified information seized by the agents, but they did not disclose what the boxes contained.
Mulvaney, who served as acting chief of staff during Trump’s presidency, believes that someone within the former president’s circle could have tipped off the FBI ahead of the Mar-a-Lago raid.
‘I didn’t know there was a safe at Mar-a-Lago and I was the chief of staff for 15 months,’ Mulvaney explained to CNN’s New Day.
Having access to the former president’s documents at Mar-a-Lago would require a ‘really close’ relationship with him, according to the former chief of staff.
‘This would be someone who was handling things on day to day, who knew where documents were, so it would be somebody very close inside the president, my guess is there’s probably six or eight people who had that kind of information,’ Mulvaney indicated.
As Newsweek reported earlier this week, the FBI conducted Monday’s raid based on information from an informant who told them where Trump’s documents were located. Trump’s orbit included a ‘rat’, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The Daily Mail reported that “as of Wednesday Trump and his allies have begun speculating who among them could be the snitch.”
All official documents are supposed to be handed over to the National Archives upon leaving the presidency.
The National Archives already retrieved 15 boxes of documents from Trump’s property earlier this year, but someone familiar with Trump’s document storage reportedly told investigators there still may be more documents at the private club.
Two months before the raid, FBI officials wrote to Trump’s lawyers requesting they install a stronger lock on the room where he stored documents, scattered among the former president’s suits, sweaters and golf shoes.
But then on Monday, 30 agents showed up and hauled away 12 more boxes of documents after reportedly breaking into the former president’s safe and sifting through ex-First Lady Melania’s closet.
Trump loyalist Mulvaney, who stepped back from the inner circle after the January 6 riot, said he couldn’t speculate who the informant was.
According to him, Trump should probably release the receipt of the raid and a copy of the warrant as well as the record of the raid, since he agrees with Republicans that it should be more transparent on the part of the Justice Department.
‘Maybe the best thing for everybody to do right now in order to calm things down and sort of reset the playing field is for Trump to come forward with the search warrant that he received and the receipt of the documents that were taken, and the DOJ to come forward with the affidavit that they swore out to a judge,’ Mulvaney stated.
A heated debate broke out between Mulvaney and CNN’s Brianna Keilar when Mulvaney said conducting a raid just for documents was absurd.
‘You folks know I’ve been critical of the president’s conduct on January 6th,’ Mulvaney declared. ‘But if it is just about documents, that’s almost absurd. That’s the same thing that the FBI was investigating Hillary Clinton for, and I don’t remember them invading her home. If you are Republican, the reason you’re asking to act the way you are, the last 48 hours, is that you really do feel like you’re not getting fair treatment from your own government and that’s a very dangerous place to be.’
‘But there are pictures of documents Donald Trump flushed down the toilet,’ Keilar retorted. ‘Does he not get the benefit of the doubt as well?’
‘Sure, I think that’s worth investigating,’ replied Mulvaney. ‘Keep in mind, what was that piece of paper? It had Elise Stefanik’s name on it.’
‘Mick, we can’t — in fairness, Mick, it was torn up,’ commented Keilar. ‘We don’t know what was on it. That’s just a fact.’
‘It says Stefanik on it,’ reiterated Mulvaney.
‘One word, it said a lot of other — we don’t know what the whole document said,’ declared Keilar. ‘You can see Stefanik’s name was on there but you can’t extrapolate from just one word.’
‘I’m not defending destroying documents,’ Mulvaney came back. ‘I don’t think this was related to the Presidential Records Act directly. It is not a criminal statute. It is in code 44 of the USC, not 18, the criminal statute. I’m not really sure how the Presidential Records Act ties in. Yes, the president has to keep almost everything, but not everything when you are the president. Again, if we’re talking about documents, that’s part of my point here, Brianna. You just invaded the home of a former president of the United States, to look for documents? Why was it so important? Why couldn’t it be handled by a subpoena?’