Donald Trump has claimed FBI agents who searched his Mar-a-Lago home took his passports, calling it a “political assault”.
The former president wrote on his Truth Social site a week after the federal agency moved to recover classified documents from his Florida home that “they stole my three passports (one expired) along with everything else. This is an assault on a political opponent at a level never before seen in our country. Third World.”
The claim was not immediately confirmed by the agency, which typically seizes a passport if the person is believed to be a flight risk – or that they could face criminal charges preventing them from travelling outside the US.
Mr Trump, 76, likely has a regular blue passport issued to US citizens and a red diplomatic passport issued for official government travel.
Without a legal passport, Mr Trump would not be able to travel outside of the United States.
A search warrant released by a court on Friday showed 11 sets of classified documents were removed by agents from Mr Trump’s Florida home. The warrant was granted after the FBI showed probable cause of potential violations of the Espionage Act.
Mr Trump has been urged to tone down his rhetoric, amid a spike in threats against law enforcement.
He promised on Monday to do “whatever we can” to help “bring down the temperature”, before repeating his attacks on the FBI.
Agents have been inundated with an unprecedented avalanche of threats after the bureau’s search of Mar-a-Lago, which the former president has branded a politically-motivated “witch-hunt.”
In his first interview since alleged classified documents removed from the White House were recovered from Mr Trump’s home, he told Fox News: “Whatever we can do to help – because the temperature has to be brought down in the country. If it isn’t, terrible things are going to happen.”
Mr Trump said his office had reached out to a Department of Justice official to convey the message on Thursday.
At the same time as calling for calm, however, Mr Trump repeated attacks on the FBI and defended his supporters’ actions in the interview, saying they are “not going to stand for another scam” and describing the FBI’s past investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election as a “witch hunt.”
“People are so angry at what is taking place,” he said.
As recently as Sunday evening, Mr Trump, 76, called the search an “abuse in law enforcement” and a “sneak attack on democracy” on his social media platform TruthSocial.
On Monday he revealed on the site that agents took his three passports during last week’s search. The FBI did not immediately confirm the allegation.
In the days since the warrant was executed, the FBI and Department for Homeland Security say they have seen an increase in “violent threats” against law enforcement, judiciary and government personnel, including a particular threat to “place a so-called Dirty Bomb in front of FBI headquarters,” according to a bulletin.
“General calls” for civil war and armed rebellion have also risen in recent days on social media.
An attempted attack on an FBI field office in Cincinnati that ended in the suspect being shot dead last Thursday appeared to underscore the real danger behind the threats.
The raid has created fissures in the Republican Party, with staunch Trump backers calling to “defund” the “Gestapo FBI”, while others have sought to create some distance with the former president amid reports there may have been nuclear secrets among the documents found at Mar-a-Lago.
Michael McCaul, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, called Mr Trump’s rhetoric “inflammatory”.
“I don’t want to put any law enforcement in the bull’s-eye of a potential threat,” the representative of Texas told CNBC. “And that’s someone who’s worked with law enforcement most of my career.”
Fox & Friends, which has been generally supportive of Mr Trump, also called on the former president’s supporters not to direct their anger at law enforcement.
“So many supporters of Donald Trump have used this opportunity to go against the FBI,” host Steve Doocy said. “They’re barking up the wrong tree. Don’t blame the FBI.
“It would be great for everybody to tamp down the rhetoric against the FBI, because the FBI simply was doing what the DOJ asked them to do.”
Meanwhile, Rudy Giuliani, Mr Trump’s personal lawyer, has been told that he is a target of the criminal investigation in Georgia into election interference.
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