Former US President Donald Trump has said his Florida home was raided by the FBI, and that agents broke open a safe.

Mr Trump said in a statement that Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach was “occupied by a large group of FBI agents”.

Monday’s search was reportedly connected to an investigation into Mr Trump’s handling of official papers.

“These are dark times for our nation,” Mr Trump’s statement said. “Nothing like this has ever happened to a president of the United States before.”

Neither the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) nor the justice department have commented on the reported search.

An unnamed law enforcement official told CBS News, the BBC’s US partner, that the Secret Service was notified shortly before the warrant was served around 10:00 local time (14:00 GMT), and that agents protecting Mr Trump helped the FBI investigators.

Several boxes were taken away, the source said, adding that no doors were kicked down and that the raid had concluded by the late afternoon.

A federal search warrant must be signed by a judge. Though such a warrant does not suggest that criminal charges are expected, law enforcement agencies must first demonstrate the possibility that evidence of illegality will be found.

There has never been a search warrant quite like this in American history, Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg told the BBC, describing it it as “a big deal”.

American presidents are required by the Presidential Records Act (PRA) to transfer all of their letters, work documents and emails to the National Archives (NA).

There are also other federal laws regarding the handling of classified documents.

In February, the National Archives said it had retrieved 15 boxes of papers from Mar-a-Lago, which Mr Trump should have turned over when he left the White House.

The agency later told Congress the boxes included “items marked as classified national security information”.

Mr Trump’s lawyer, Christina Bobb, told NBC News that some papers had been seized during the search.

 

BBC