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Donald Trump and fellow conservatives claim the FBI planted evidence when they raided the former president’s private residence at Mar-A-Lago. He started building the case against the Justice Department with this post on Truth Social: “Everyone was asked to leave the premises, they wanted to be left alone without any witnesses to see what they were doing, taking, or hopefully not, “planting.”
MAGAmericans expressed anger over the FBI’s “raid” that disrupted their president’s home. To show support, many spent the night outside Mar-a-Lago to show their admiration and repeat a common MAGA mantra: “Trump’s innocent. He’s never done anything wrong.”
The planted evidence theory made the rounds on Fox News, with program hosts repeating the allegations against the FBI agents.
Republican Senator Rand Paul (Ky.) shared his “planted-evidence” concerns on Fox & Friends. He asked how the public knows what they put in those boxes to entrap Trump. Host Ainsley Earhardt added that Trump’s lawyers said they brought backpacks; she asked, “I wonder what’s in those backpacks?” She suggested they contained the so-called planted evidence.
Fox’s Judge Jeanine Pirro offered some advice for the Justice Department: “You do not break into a house of a guy you’ve been working with for nine months, that you have to admit was cooperating with you. For presidential records? No.”
She referred to the classified documents Trump removed from the White House. A few months ago, officials from the National Archives and Records Administration recovered 15 boxes of presidential materials. However, investigators learned from a confidential informant that additional cartons were stored in Mar-a-Largo’s basement. On Monday, agents served a search warrant and removed 12 boxes.
In the middle of Eric Trump’s complaints about the FBI agents’ actions, he said the staff was ordered to turn off the surveillance cameras. Because they refused, Trump, his kids, and lawyers were able to watch agents’ movements while executing the search warrant.
One of the former president’s lawyers confirmed they watched everything the estate’s cameras captured. Christina Bobb told Real America’s Voice host: “I think the folks in New York — Trump and his family — probably had a better view than I did. Because they had the CCTV, they were able to watch.” Bobb was at Mar-a-Lago answering agents’ questions, so she could not witness the so-called raid, but the “Trump family [saw] the whole thing,” according to Business Insider.
Trump claims he was framed in this “unfounded politically motivated witch hunt.” Eric swears President Joe Biden was behind the so-called raid. Additionally, sources close to the former president contend the FBI’s timing was deliberate because they knew he would not be at Mar-a-Lago on Monday.
Stephen Colbert likened Trump’s response to Monday’s FBI search and seizure to Al Capone using this quote:
I’ve never done anything wrong. Nobody can prove that I ever did anything wrong. It’s pretty tough when a citizen with an unblemished record must be hounded from his home. I am feeling very bad, very bad. How would you feel if the police, paid to protect you, acted towards you like they [acted] toward me?
Claims that law enforcement agents plant evidence when they are searching are common among defendants. While some accusations are proven true, many are not. For example, the 1994 double-homicide case against O.J. Simpson. His attorneys convinced jurors that authorities planted evidence against the former NFL star. As a result, the jury acquitted him in the murders of his ex-wife Nicole and Ron Goldman, her friend.
Like the stolen election claims, Trump and his ardent supporters’ message that the FBI illegally planted evidence to frame him continues to grow. If his attorneys pursue that as a defense, they might succeed in helping Trump win one of his many lawsuits.
Written by Cathy Milne-Ware
(Updated Aug. 12, 2022, to include information from Business Insider)
The New York Times: Trump is baselessly suggesting that the F.B.I. may have planted evidence during its search. By Alan Feuer
CNN: Timeline: The Justice Department criminal inquiry into Trump taking classified documents to Mar-a-Lago
The Late Night with Stephen Colbert: “Civil War” Trended on Twitter After Mar-a-Lago Raid…(YouTube)
Business Insider: Trump and his family watched the FBI search Mar-a-Lago via the property’s security feed, says the former president’s lawyer; by Cheryl Teh