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FBI agents searched former President Donald Trump’s Florida home on August 8 for presidential files and classified documents that had been improperly removed from the White House. Social media posts claiming the FBI search was politically motivated have swirled online, though there is no evidence that President Joe Biden ‘had his Justice Department raid the FBI’ at the home. of Trump, as a viral post claimed.


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As calls for civil war launched on social media following an FBI raid of former President Donald Trump’s Florida home on August 8, conservative pundits and politicians fanned those flames by claiming the raid was a political attack, despite the lack of evidence.

The search warrant was initially sealed, but a movement to unseal it which was filed by prosecutors on August 11 confirmed the reports of various new organizations this the mandate searched for classified documents that Trump may have taken when he left the White House. The National Archives and Records Administration had already recovered 15 boxes of materials from his Mar-a-Lago residence in January and, at the time, NARA said that Trump’s representatives “continued to seek additional presidential documents from the National Archives.”

But conservative talk radio personality Clay Travis, whose show replaced At Rush Limbaugh, caught on Twitter the day of the search to speculate: “So the president with the lowest approval ratings in our lifetime just had the FBI raid his Department of Justice at the private home of the leading candidate to replace him in the upcoming election? It’s crazy at the third world level of the banana republic. And scary.

This claim has been copied and reposted on other social media platforms, including Facebook, where prominent Trump supporter David Harris Jr. shared it, and instagramwhere a fan account of former Trump press secretary Kayleigh McEnany with 252,000 followers posted a screenshot of the tweet.

But the assertion goes beyond expressing the opinion that the research was politically motivated. It also distorts some facts.

First, it suggests that President Joe Biden ordered the FBI to search Trump’s house. There is nothing to support this claim.

Biden received no advance notice of the search, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said august 9. He “learned about this FBI search through public reports,” she said.

“The president was not informed…was not aware,” said Jean-Pierre, responding to a reporter’s question. “No one in the White House has been notified,” she said.

There is no evidence to contradict this account.

In fact, there is evidence to back it up, since Attorney General Merrick Garland said at a press conference on August 11 he made the final call to continue the search.

“I personally endorsed the decision to seek a search warrant in this case,” Garland said.

It should also be noted that FBI Director Christopher Wray was appointed by Trump. He announced his choice on Twitter June 7, 2017, saying Wray was “a man with irreproachable credentials.

However, a search of any kind does not depend solely on law enforcement officials. They must convince a federal judge that there is probable cause that a crime has been committed and that evidence of that crime can be found at the site of the search, as we explained earlier. This process protects people from “unreasonable search and seizure,” as the Fourth Amendment provides.

And, while a minor point, Travis is wrong about the claim that Biden has “the lowest approval ratings of our lifetime.” According compiled survey data per the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research, the president with the lowest approval rating over the past 20 years was George W. Bush, who had a 19% approval rating at the end of his then second term. the country was falling into a recession. Trump had the lowest approval rating – 29% – at the end of his only term as he tried to overturn the results of the election he had just lost. Biden comes in third, with a recent approval rating of 31%.

Travis was not the only one to make this type of claim, however. Other conservative pundits as well as some Republican members of Congress have issued similar claims suggesting the research was politically motivated.

Representative Matt Gaetz, for example, appeared on podcast by former Trump White House strategist Steve Bannon on August 9. He told Bannon the research was a “political performance” and claimed his fellow Republicans in Congress told him, “We’re ready for this battle.” Let’s put on the armor of God and go fight.

Likewise, in a video posted on TwitterSenator Marco Rubio compared the research to measures taken by the Nicaraguan president Daniel Ortega to silence his opposition.

But, as we said, there is no suggestion that Biden or the White House were involved. Rather, the search appears to be tied to NARA’s ongoing efforts to recover presidential documents.

Editor’s Note: FactCheck.org is one of many organizations work with facebook to debunk misinformation shared on social media. Our previous stories can be found here. Facebook has no control over our editorial content.

Sources

Kiely, Eugene, Robert Farley and Lori Robertson. “Questions and Answers About the FBI’s Search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Home.” FactCheck.org. August 9, 2022.

National Administration of Archives and Documents. Press Releases in Response to Media Questions on Presidential Records. February 14, 2022.

Gaetz, Matt (@RepMattGaetz). “The FBI raid on Mar-A-Lago is the most defining moment of Joe Biden’s presidency. It was a political performance against Trump. The antidote must not be a penny more for this administrative state which has been armed against our people in a very fascist way.” Twitter. August 9, 2022.

Rubio, Marco (@marcorubio). “Biden is playing with fire using a documentary dispute to get @TheJusticeDept to persecute a likely future election opponent Because one day what happens will happen And then we become Nicaragua under Ortega.” Twitter. August 8, 2022.

Goldsmith, Jack. “Independence and Accountability in the Ministry of Justice.” Right. January 30, 2018.

Kiely, Eugene. “Why did Trump fire Comey? » FactCheck.org. Updated May 12, 2017.

Trump, Donald (@realDonaldTrump). “I will nominate Christopher A. Wray, a man of impeccable credentials, to be the new director of the FBI. Details to follow.June 7, 2017.

White House. Press briefing by the press attaché Karine Jean-Pierre. August 9, 2022.

Roper Center for Public Opinion Research. Cornell University. Highs and lows of presidential endorsement. Accessed August 10, 2022.