Former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate is seen on Sept. 14, 2022, in Palm Beach, Florida.

Former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate is seen on Sept. 14, 2022, in Palm Beach, Florida. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images/TNS)

(Tribune News Service) — The FBI pushed back against federal prosecutors’ plans to search former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort for classified documents last year, according to a news report.

Despite ample evidence that Trump had defied a subpoena for return of the documents, senior agents suggested the Justice Department should accept false claims by Trump’s lawyers that he had returned all the top secret materials, The Washington Post reported Wednesday.

“We are not the presidential records police,” Steven D’Antuono, the chief of the FBI’s Washington, D.C., field office, reportedly told prosecutors.

The FBI instead wanted to get Trump’s lawyers to agree to a consensual search, a step that would have given the former president the chance to move, hide or destroy the documents.

The infighting resulted in a significant delay between the time prosecutors had evidence that Trump defied the subpoena and when the FBI eventually carried out the search with the blessing of a federal judge on Aug. 8.

Agents found more than 100 classified documents in the search. They also found dozens of empty classified document folders, raising the possibility that some of the documents were removed before the search.

Special counsel Jack Smith is investigating whether Trump or anyone else broke laws governing handling of classified documents or obstructed the probe. He’s also investigating Trump’s scheme to overturn his loss in the 2020 presidential election.

Trump has said he did nothing improper and has called Smith a partisan attack dog.

Since the Mar-a-Lago search, President Joe Biden’s lawyers reported finding a small number of classified documents at an office he used before the onetime vice president returned to the White House. The FBI found a handful more documents in its own search of Biden’s home in Wilmington, Delaware, for which Biden gave permission.

Former Vice President Mike Pence’s lawyers also found 12 classified documents at his residence in Indiana. Like Biden, he vowed to cooperate and encouraged the FBI to do its own search, which turned up one additional classified document.

©2023 New York Daily News.


Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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