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Former top FBI agent confirms Justice Department's aggressive push to conduct surprise raid on Mar-a-Lago
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Former top FBI agent confirms Justice Department's aggressive push to conduct surprise raid on Mar-a-Lago

Former top FBI agent Steven D'Antuono provided new insight last week into the Justice Department's aggressive actions leading up to the Mar-a-Lago raid.

D'Antuono, the top agent in the FBI's Washington field office when the raid occurred last August, spoke with the House Judiciary Committee last week. In that closed-door meeting, D'Antuono divulged details about internal deliberations that led up to the infamous raid.

"There was consternation from both sides," D'Antuono told lawmakers, Politico reported. "DOJ wants stuff. We were pushing back."

D'Antuono explained that DOJ wanted the FBI to execute a raid on Mar-a-Lago immediately after a search warrant was approved, but his team wanted cooperation from Trump's team. They argued, in part, that an aggressive approach was unnecessary because Trump wasn't at the club, so the documents stashed there weren't in danger.

"We made comments like this — like, 'no one is down there anyway at this point,' right?" D'Antuono said. "It's empty. The [former] president is gone. He was in Bedminster, or wherever he was. Let's plan this the right way. We've got time."

Not only did the FBI doubt the documents were at risk, but agents worried about the public ramifications if the bureau moved forward with a raid.

"Honestly, I didn't want the spectacle for obvious reasons of why we're sitting here today," D'Antuono told the committee. "It's a reputational risk, right, and that's the way I looked at it from the Bureau."

D'Antuono's testimony corroborates what was reported earlier this year: that FBI officials were worried about the political and public ramifications of a surprise raid on Trump, but the DOJ pushed for it anyway.

From the Washington Post:

On one side, federal prosecutors in the department’s national security division advocated aggressive ways to secure some of the country’s most closely guarded secrets, which they feared Trump was intentionally hiding at Mar-a-Lago; on the other, FBI agents in the Washington field office urged more caution with such a high-profile matter, recommending they take a cooperative rather than confrontational approach.

In the end, the DOJ prevailed, and the rest is history.

Now, Trump faces 37 criminal charges related to his retention of classified documents and allegations that he obstructed the government's attempts to retrieve them. The former president will be arraigned in federal court on Tuesday.

D'Antuono told Politico that he preferred not to comment on his testimony.

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Chris Enloe

Chris Enloe

Staff Writer

Chris Enloe is a staff writer for Blaze News
@chrisenloe →