FBI director Christopher Wray makes first public response to search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home

Mr Wray says he can’t talk about the raid as some Republicans decry his leadership

Abe Asher
Wednesday 10 August 2022 21:49 BST
Donald Trump says Florida Mar-a-Lago estate has been 'raided' by FBI

FBI Director Christopher Wray spoke publicly on Wednesday afternoon for the first time about his bureau’s search of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence. He couldn’t offer much.

“As I’m sure you can appreciate, that’s not something I can talk about,” Mr Wray told reporters in Omaha, Nebraska.

Mr Wray is the first senior official at the Department of Justice to face reporters’ questions about the raid on Mr Trump’s home that shook the political world earlier this week and left allies of the former president fuming. One, Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, even called for Mr Wray’s FBI to be defunded.

The Justice Department as a whole has declined to comment on the search, while the White House has said that it was not notifed about the raid prior to its execution.

FBI officials in plain clothes executed a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago on Monday, reportedly as part of an investigation into Mr Trump’s handling of presidential and potentially classified documents. Mr Trump announced that the search had taken place in a statement on Monday afternoon, bemoaning that federal investigators had broken into his safe.

Christina Bobb, Mr Trump’s attorney, confirmed that FBI investigators left Mar-a-Lago with documents that were in Mr Trump’s possession.

“President Trump and his legal team have been cooperative with FBI and DOJ officials every step of the way,” Ms Bobb said. “The FBI did conduct an unannounced raid and seized paper.”

The raid represents a major escalation of the Justice Department’s investigation into Mr Trump’s handling of documents, which is proceeding alongside a separate investigation into Mr Trump’s conduct in the buildup to and during the Capitol riot on January 6, 2021. Mr Trump is also facing a civil investigation into his business practices in New York, while the House Select Committee has probed his January 6 conduct in front of a national audience throughout the summer.

Mr Trump has called the Justice Department’s investigations a “witch hunt” designed to hurt his political chances in 2024. The former president and his allies have focused much of their ire on Attorney General Merrick Garland, a Joe Biden appointee whose nomination to the Supreme Court was blocked by Senate Republicans in 2016, but also on Mr Wray — a longtime Republican who was appointed FBI director by Mr Trump in 2017.

Sen. Rick Scott of Florida, a potential presidential candidate in two years, tweeted following the raid that “We need answers NOW. The FBI must explain what they were doing today & why.”

Fox News has reported that both Mr Wray and Mr Garland have faced an increased number of death threats since the raid.

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