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FBI responds to claims that Mar-a-Lago raid amounted to an assassination attempt on Trump
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FBI responds to claims that Mar-a-Lago raid amounted to an assassination attempt on Trump

The bureau maintains the raid was business as usual; however, some Trump allies believe it was designed to go sideways.

Court filings in the federal classified documents case against former President Donald Trump created a stir Tuesday, prompting new concerns about the nature of the FBI's Aug. 8, 2022, raid of Mar-a-Lago.

The indication that federal agents were authorized to use deadly force prompted Trump and his allies to conclude that the raid had the makings of an assassination attempt.

The FBI has responded, pointing out the offending policy is simply standard procedure. Others have also pointed out that the Trumps were out of state at the time of the raid, which was coordinated with U.S. Secret Service in advance.

The filing

According to a motion for relief filed on Trump's behalf, FBI agents were directed by an "Operations Order" to seize "classified information, [National Defense Information], and US Government records as described in [the] warrant."

'Law enforcement officers of the Department of Justice may use deadly force when necessary.'

When executing the raid — which was personally authorized by Attorney General Merrick Garland — agents were apparently cleared to go in hot.

The order said, "Law enforcement officers of the Department of Justice may use deadly force when necessary," according to the filing.

The filing, which argued the raid was unconstitutional, indicated further that "the agents planned to bring 'Standard Issue Weapon[s],' 'Ammo,' 'Handcuffs,' and 'medium and large sized bolt cutters,' but they were instructed to wear 'unmarked polo or collared shirts' and to keep 'law enforcement equipment concealed.'"

RealClearInvestigations' Julie Kelly highlighted that among the stated "contingencies," armed FBI agents were instructed to be "prepared to engage with [Former President of the United States] and [U.S. Secret Service] Security Team."

The fury

Trump and several of his allies seized upon the filing, suggesting that the deadly force authorization amounted to clearance for a hit.


Trump noted on Truth Social, "WOW! I just came out of the Biden Witch Hunt Trial in Manhattan, the 'Icebox,' and was shown Reports that Crooked Joe Biden's DOJ, in their Illegal and UnConstitutional Raid of Mar-a-Lago, AUTHORIZED THE FBI TO USE DEADLY (LETHAL) FORCE. NOW WE KNOW, FOR SURE, THAT JOE BIDEN IS A SERIOUS THREAT TO DEMOCRACY. HE IS MENTALLY UNFIT TO HOLD OFFICE — 25TH AMENDMENT!"

The Washington Post indicated that the Trump campaign also circulated a fundraising email claiming that "BIDEN'S DOJ WAS AUTHORIZED TO SHOOT ME!"

In the first of a series of greatly ridiculed tweets, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) asked, "Was deadly force authorized against Biden for his docs? Were they going to shoot SS then Pres Trump, Melania, and Barron too?"

"I made sure that he knew," Greene said in a subsequent tweet, which has received a community note. "The Biden DOJ and FBI were planning to assassinate Pres Trump and gave the green light. Does everyone get it yet???!!!!"

Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) asserted, "Biden ordered the hit on Trump at Mar-a-Lago."

Former Trump adviser Steve Bannon said on his show "War Room" that this was an "assassination attempt on Donald John Trump or people associated with him. They wanted a gun fight. ... They had use of deadly force authorized by the director of the FBI and Merrick Garland. They brought a medic, a combat medic. They brought — they had a triage plan for the injured and they had a trauma center."

The FBI policy

"The FBI followed standard protocol in this search as we do for all search warrants, which includes a standard policy statement limiting the use of deadly force," the bureau said in a statement obtained by the New York Post. "No one ordered additional steps to be taken and there was no departure from the norm in this matter."

'Deadly force is always authorized if the required threat presents itself.'

Frank Figliuzzi, the FBI's former assistant director of counterintelligence, noted that "every FBI operations order contains a reminder of FBI deadly force policy. Even for a search warrant. Deadly force is always authorized if the required threat presents itself."

Community notes on Gosar and Greene's tweets also indicated the deadly force authorization "is standard language by the DOJ relating to their policy on use of force and has nothing to do with President Biden."

In 2023, former FBI assistant director in charge Steve D'Antuono testified to Congress that it "wasn't even a show of force," reported Axios.

"It wasn't even a show of force, right, because we were all in agreement," D'Antuono told the House Committee on the Judiciary. "We didn't do a show of force, right. I was adamant about that, and that was something that we agreed on, right, the FBI agreed on, right. No raid jackets, no blazed FBI. We interact. We made sure we interacted with the Secret Service to make sure we could get into Mar-a-Lago with no issues. We're not banging down any doors."

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Joseph MacKinnon

Joseph MacKinnon

Joseph MacKinnon is a staff writer for Blaze News.
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