President Biden stayed silent Tuesday about the FBI’s unprecedented Monday raid on former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate.
Biden took no questions at either of his public events as his aides insist he had no advance knowledge of the bureau’s activities in Palm Beach, Fla.
“President Biden, what did Attorney General [Merrick] Garland tell you about the Trump raid?” a reporter for The Post shouted at the conclusion of Biden’s second event of the day, where he signed documents in the White House East Room approving the admission of Finland and Sweden to NATO.
The Post then followed up: “Do you approve of the FBI’s Trump raid, President Biden?”
Biden didn’t give a verbal response, though he smiled broadly during a photo with the ambassadors from Finland and Sweden after hearing the first inquiry.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre also declined to address the raid in any detail at her Tuesday briefing.
“This is not something I’m going to comment on today from here at all,” she said. “This goes to the Department of Justice and that’s where I refer you to.”
But Jean-Pierre also claimed the White House “learned just like the American public did” of the raid — without a tip-off from the Justice Department, echoing what a White House official told reporters Monday night.
The Justice Department is the parent agency of the FBI and is led by Garland, a former federal judge who former President Barack Obama nominated to the Supreme Court. When Trump won the 2016 election in a shocking upset, he killed Garland’s nomination,
Federal authorities have said very little on the record about the FBI raid, which is believed to be linked to more than a dozen boxes of documents that Trump brought to Mar-a-Lago after leaving office.
It’s unclear whether the FBI is investigating Trump for potentially committing a crime and authorities reportedly were in contact with Trump’s legal team regarding potential classified information in his papers ahead of the raid.
Trump and his Republican allies — and even some Democrats, such as disgraced former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and 2020 presidential candidate Andrew Yang — expressed concern about the raid on Trump, who is the GOP’s presidential frontrunner ahead of 2024.
The 45th president suggested that the raid is the continuation of the FBI’s “witch hunt” into whether he colluded with Russia during the 2016 campaign.
Trump’s former White House budget director, Russ Vought, called for the abolition of the FBI following the raid.
“If the cry of 2016 was ‘lock her up,’ the cry of 2024 must be ‘break them up.’ We are done with a deep state that is weaponized against the American people,” Vought wrote.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) vowed that House Republicans would investigate the FBI’s conduct if they retake power as polls suggest is likely next year.
Presidents have the unilateral ability to decide whether to declassify information, but critics say that Trump’s retention of records may run afoul of the Presidential Records Act. That law says violators can never again hold public office, though the provision may be unconstitutional due to Supreme Court rulings that only the Constitution and not statute can enumerate requirements for federal elected office.
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