‘Strong Concerns’: House Judiciary Demands FBI Docs On Trump Raid After Testimony From Former Bureau Official

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James Lynch Investigative Reporter
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A former senior FBI official testified to the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday about the FBI’s unusual methods for carrying out its Aug. 2022 raid on former President Donald Trump’s Florida estate.

Former Assistant Director of the FBI Washington Field Office Steven D’Antuono testified to the committee, expressing “strong concerns” with how the FBI executed the Mar-a-Lago raid. D’Antuono was one of the “most senior” FBI officials involved with the raid, the House Judiciary Committee’s letter stated.

“During his testimony, Mr. D’Antuono expressed strong concerns with the [Justice] Department’s pursuit of the raid and noted several unusual features in the Department’s handling of the case. Mr. D’Antuono, who had over two decades of FBI experience, noted his frustration that the FBI was going to be ‘left holding the bag again’ with respect to the search of President Trump’s residence,” the letter reads.

The witness also specifically testified about “several abnormalities” in the Justice Department’s approach to the Trump raid, the letter notes. (RELATED: Trump Indictment Unsealed)

The FBI allegedly assigned the execution of the search warrant to the Washington Field Office instead of the Miami Field Office, despite the search taking place in the Miami office’s territory. D’Antuono testified that the FBI did not seek consent to search the premises prior to seeking a search warrant and refused to wait for Trump’s attorney before executing the search.

Additionally, the Justice Department did not assign a U.S. Attorney to oversee the investigative matter, and decided to put the national security division on the case, per the letter. Jay Bratt, the chief of the Counterintelligence and Export Control Section of the national security division, was made “the lead prosecutor on the case,” D’Antuono testified. Bratt was reportedly accused of prosecutorial misconduct by a lawyer representing Trump official Walt Nauta, who was indicted by the Justice Department on Thursday night. (RELATED: Donald Trump Announces Major Shakeup In Legal Defense)

“The Committee previously requested information and documents related to the FBI’s raid of President Trump’s home, which the Department has refused to provide. In light of this testimony and the Department’s failure to respond to our previous oversight requests, we write to renew and supplement our request for documents necessary for our oversight,” the letter asserts.

Justice Department officials have until 5:00 p.m. on June 16 to provide the Judiciary Committee with the requested information and documents, according to the letter.

The FBI raided Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in August to obtain classified documents Trump kept stored after he left the White House. FBI agents executed a court-authorized search warrant at Mar-a-Lago and obtained 102 documents with classified markings, Trump’s indictment alleges. (RELATED: ‘Deranged Lunatic’: Trump Tears Into Special Counsel Overseeing Indictment)

A previous DOJ affidavit said the FBI reviewed 15 boxes Trump turned over to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in Jan. 2022. Fourteen of the boxes had classification markings, and authorities retrieved 184 classified documents from those boxes, according to the affidavit.

Trump was indicted by the Justice Department on Thursday night on 37 counts related to mishandling classified information and obstructing government efforts to retrieve classified documents. He will be summoned to a federal courthouse in Miami at 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday.

DOJ Special Counsel Jack Smith spoke Friday about the investigation of Trump and the resulting indictment.

“The prosecutors in my office are among the most talented and experienced in the Department of Justice. They have investigated this case adhering to the highest ethical standards and they will continue to do so as this case proceeds,” Smith stated. 

The FBI declined to comment on the matter.