Background of the FBI raid on Trump’s residence in Florida and accusations of seeking to prevent him from running for president

AFP

Senior Republican Party officials voiced support for former US President Donald Trump on Tuesday after the FBI raid on his Florida residence sparked a political firestorm in a deeply polarized and divided country.
Monday’s surprise attack exacerbated judicial pressure on the 45th president of the United States, amid welcome from his political opponents and condemnation from his supporters.
Several former Trump advisers have urged the former president to immediately confirm that he will be a presidential candidate in 2024.
“Nothing like this has ever happened to a President of the United States before,” Trump, 76, said of the FBI search of his Mar-a-Lago residence that continued throughout the day.
He denounced what he called “prosecutorial misconduct” and “armed use of the justice system” by “far-left Democrats who are desperately trying to prevent me from running for president in 2024.”
White House spokeswoman Karen Jean-Pierre said President Joe Biden received no advance notice of the raid and respects the Justice Department’s independence.
Asked about the possibility of riots in response to Trump’s legal troubles, Jean-Pierre responded: “There is no place for political violence in this country.”
The FBI, led by Christopher Wray, who was a Trump appointee, declined to disclose the reasons for the unprecedented move against a former president.
However, several US media reported that federal agents were conducting a search warrant in connection with possible mishandling of classified documents transferred to Mar-a-Lago after Trump left the White House in January 2021.
A day after the raid, US Representative Scott Perry, a Trump ally, announced that FBI agents had seized his cellphone, without explaining why they did so.
“This morning, on a trip with my family, three FBI agents visited me and confiscated my cell phone,” Perry told Fox News, denouncing what he called “this type of banana republic tactic.”

Trump is also facing intense judicial investigations into his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election and the Jan. 6 attack on Capitol Hill by his supporters.
Top Republicans were quick to show their support for the former president, who was not present at Mar-a-Lago when the raid took place.
Mike Pence, a former Trump representative and a potential 2024 challenger, expressed “deep concern” about the raid on Trump’s home, saying it showed “partisan bias” on the part of the Justice Department.
Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik described what happened as a “dark day in American history.”
She said, “If the FBI can raid an American president, imagine what they could do to you,” to which Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu replied, “Why can’t the FBI investigate an American president?” We are not Russia, where the law does not apply to the head of state and his comrades.”
For his part, Kevin McCarthy, a representative from California and a candidate for the presidency of the House of Representatives if the Republicans recover the majority in the House in the midterm elections in November, accused the Department of Justice of participating in an “armed politicization”.
Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel called the raid “disgraceful.”
As for Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, a close Trump ally, he said “launching an investigation against a former president so close to the election is beyond problematic.”
After denouncing the raid in a lengthy statement on Monday, Trump’s team on Tuesday announced the launch of a fundraising campaign asking “every male and patriotic American to come forward” and donate to fight what Trump called “endless political persecution”.
Trump’s former social media director, Dan Scavino, urged the former president to speed up the announcement of his candidacy again.