After former President Donald Trump publicized that the FBI had taken three of his passports during their raid on Mar-a-Lago last week, reports circled that Trump may have been a "flight risk."
While passports can be seized if an individual faces criminal charges, Trump has not yet been charged for taking government documents back to his Palm Beach home.
While Trump claimed the FBI "stole" his passports in "an assault on a political opponent," Politico reported that the Bureau obtained Trump's passports unintentionally. The passports were found by a "filter team" that goes through everything that was confiscated to ensure items like privileged attorney-client communications are not assessed or included as part of their investigation.
The FBI notified Trump's attorneys they had the passports, telling them they could pick them up. Trump then publicized that the agency had taken his passports.
"Wow!" Trump declared on his Truth Social social media platform, after the Justice Department notified his lawyers and told them to pick up the passports. "In the raid by the FBI of Mar-a-Lago, they stole my three Passports (one expired), along with everything else. This is an assault on a political opponent at a level never seen before in our Country. Third World!"
"So Trump team now publicizing this email," from the Dept. of Justice, Politico's Kyle Cheney reports, "which shows: 1) DOJ obtained three passports (two expired, not one, as Trump said) and alerted Trump lawyers 2) They were recovered by a filter team, which weeds out privileged info. 3) Trump publicized this after DOJ offered them back."
Prior to Politico's report, attorneys opined that Trump was a flight risk — regardless of how or why the passports were obtained.
Attorney Tristan Snell, who successfully prosecuted the Trump University case for the New York Attorney General’s Office, remarked, “Trump is still a flight risk even without passports. He could go to NYC, to the consulate of a country that does not allow US extradition (such as Russia), and ask for asylum.”
“The FBI isn’t going to decide that someone who hasn’t been charged with a crime is a flight risk, that would be up to a judge,” noted freelance journalist Yashar Ali.
While Trump has not been charged with any crimes relating to the Mar-a-Lago raid, some critics said he should have to give them up.
“Frankly speaking, Trump is a flight risk,” wrote Qasim Rashid, an attorney and human rights activist. “The judge should require he surrender his passport and his jet should be grounded.”
The truth is that the FBI obtained the obtained the passports by accident during its search and told the former president's lawyers that they could pick them up.
With David Badash.