Former President Donald Trump on Monday accused the FBI of having inappropriately seized his passports during the controversial raid one week earlier of his Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida in search of purportedly classified documents that should have instead been stored with the National Archives.
Many Democrats and media pundits immediately dismissed Trump’s claim as false, but the FBI later admitted that it had seized the former president’s passports and would return them immediately, the Conservative Brief reported.
Media dispute Trump claim about seized passports
It was on Monday afternoon that former President Trump took to his Truth Social platform and wrote, “Wow! 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!”
There was instant pushback against that claim by numerous Democrats and media pundits who insisted that Trump was lying about his passports being taken. including CBS Evening News anchor Norah O’Donnell, who went so far as to cite an unnamed senior Justice Department official in what turned out to be a carefully-worded denial that the FBI had possession of Trump’s travel documents.
“NEW: According to a DOJ official, the FBI is NOT in possession of former President Trump’s passports. Trump had accused the FBI of stealing his three passports during the search of his Mar-a-Lago home,” O’Donnell tweeted. About 20 minutes later, though, she added in a follow-up tweet that “if any items not contained in the warrant were retrieved during the FBI search at Mar-a-Lago, they will be returned.”
FBI admits passports were improperly seized
That follow-up admission from O’Donnell proved advisable as a top spokesman for the former president, Taylor Budowich, responded to the anchor’s initial post with a screenshot of an email from a top DOJ official acknowledging that Trump’s passports had been inadvertently seized and would be returned forthwith.
“This is how Fake News works, folks. Biden admin actively feeds half truths & lies that the media willingly amplifies — advancing a partisan narrative to attack Trump,” Budowich said. “@NorahODonnell, did your ‘source’ read you this email? Did you bother asking if they indeed seized the passports?”
This is how Fake News works, folks. Biden admin actively feeds half truths & lies that the media willingly amplifies—advancing a partisan narrative to attack Trump.@NorahODonnell, did your “source” read you this email? Did you bother asking if they indeed seized the passports? https://t.co/DlzkagN0ie pic.twitter.com/VwCU7DPCvg
— Taylor Budowich (@TayFromCA) August 15, 2022
On Tuesday, O’Donnell’s own CBS News confirmed that the FBI had indeed taken Trump’s passports, as well as the authenticity of the email shared by Budowich, but that the bureau had also already returned them to the former president after noticing the mistake.
FBI also improperly seized privileged materials
Meanwhile, it was also revealed this week that Trump’s passports weren’t the only materials improperly seized by the FBI during the raid of Mar-a-Lago.
Trump posted on Sunday, “Oh great! It has just been learned that the FBI, in its now famous raid of Mar-a-Lago, took boxes of privileged ‘attorney-client’ material, and also ‘executive’ privileged material, which they knowingly should not have taken.”
“By copy of this TRUTH, I respectfully request that these documents be immediately returned to the location from which they were taken. Thank you!” the former president added.