FBI waited until Trump left Mar-a-Lago to avoid a 'confrontation': report
(Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

According to an exclusive report from TMZ, the FBI took great pains to schedule their search of Mar-a-Lago when Donald Trump was out of town because they feared he would make a scene.

Late Monday, the FBI descended upon the luxury Florida resort armed with a warrant. The FBI declined to comment on whether the search was happening or what it might be for, nor did Trump give any indication of why federal agents were at his home.

But multiple media outlets cited sources close to the investigation as saying that agents were conducting a court-authorized search related to the potential mishandling of classified documents that had been sent to Mar-a-Lago.

According to the TMZ report, based on their sources, "... the feds timed the raid so there would not be a confrontation between agents and the former President."

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The report goes on to note that there was the possibility the former president might have been handcuffed and the agents were leery about how that would play out.

"Sources involved in numerous FBI searches tell TMZ ... even if there were not a confrontation, protocol in raids like the one Monday would go like this," the report stated. "The FBI would swoop in and, if the target of the search warrant was in the house, agents would typically handcuff the target until the property was secured. The target would not be arrested, but rather detained."

The report continued, "Once the property was secured, agents would remove the handcuffs but the target could not reenter the premises until the raid was completed," before adding, "This would present an extremely awkward situation for the feds, and it would become a political hot potato."

The National Archives said in February it had recovered 15 boxes of documents from Trump's Florida estate, which the Washington Post reported included highly classified texts, taken with him when he left Washington following his reelection defeat.

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The documents and mementos -- which also included correspondence from ex-US president Barack Obama -- should by law have been turned over at the end of Trump's presidency but instead ended up at his Mar-a-Lago resort.

The recovery of the boxes raised questions about Trump's adherence to presidential records laws enacted after the 1970s Watergate scandal that require Oval Office occupants to preserve records related to administration activity.

The Archives had requested then that the Justice Department open a probe into Trump's practices.


With additional reporting by AFP