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Former prosecutor explains why FBI search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence is ‘high stakes’

The FBI Execution of a search warrant at former President Donald Trump’s Florida residence, Mar-a-Lago, is “uncharted territory”, according to former prosecutor and assistant deputy attorney general Harry Litman.

Litman told CBS News’ Catherine Herridge that obtaining a search warrant in this case would require a very high standard of proof.

“This kind of high-level, high-level service of a search warrant by the FBI. I think it’s unprecedented. My strong guess is at a minimum, there was approval from person # 2 from the Department of Justice, Lisa Monaco, Deputy Attorney General — possibly [Attorney General Merrick] Garland himself,” Litman said.

Sources tell CBS News the search ties into a Justice Department investigation into National Archives claims it found 15 boxes of records including classified material at Mar-a-Lago earlier this year.

Under the Presidential Records Act, documents sent and received as president must be preserved and turned over to the National Archives and Records Administration. But in January, the National Archives recovered 15 boxes recordings of Mar-a-Lago which she said included classified materials. He also said some Trump White House documents were torn or glued together.

Litman said the FBI would seek to execute a search warrant, rather than simply requesting the records, when it fears the records may be destroyed or not abandoned.

In a statement, Trump called the research “an attack by hard-left Democrats who desperately don’t want me running for president in 2024.” He added: “Nothing like this has ever happened to a President of the United States before.”

During an appearance on Fox News’ “Hannity,” Trump’s son Eric said, “They’re threatened by Donald J. Trump, and honestly, I hope — and I’m saying this for the first time — I hope he comes out and beats these guys again, because honestly this country can’t survive this nonsense.”

Litman said it appears the FBI is taking the investigation seriously and that Trump could face consequences if it is discovered that he mishandled White House records while in office.

“It’s a big move that’s going to partly step on a hornet’s nest. It’s not the same as saying they’re going to charge him, but man, they’re treating him like any other suspect. criminal. And it’s dramatic,” Litman said.

President Biden did not comment on the research. A senior White House official said the White House was not given advance notice of the FBI’s search warrant.

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Post expires at 9:42pm on Thursday August 18th, 2022