In a viral tweet, CBS “Evening News” anchor and managing editor Norah O’Donnell cast doubt on former President Donald Trump’s announcement that federal agents seized his passports when she claimed the federal government did not have possession of the personal travel documents.
Trump announced on Truth Social on Monday that his passports were confiscated by the FBI during their raid of his Mar-a-Lago residence last week.
“In the raid by the FBI of Mar-a-Lago, they stole my three Passports (one expired), along with everything else,” Trump wrote. “This is an assault on a political opponent at a level never seen before in our Country. Third World!”
O’Donnell, who admitted she was amplifying a narrative fed to CBS by an unnamed Department of Justice official, however, confidently tweeted that “the FBI is NOT in possession of former President Trump’s passports” even though “Trump has accused the FBI of stealing his three passports during the search of his Mar-a-Lago home.”
Nearly 15 minutes after her original tweet, O’Donnell added: “if any items not contained in the warrant were retrieved during the FBI search at Mar-a-Lago, they will be returned.”
As several news sources indicated, Trump’s passports were not named in the search warrant nor itemized on the FBI’s property receipt but were ultimately taken by federal agents.
An email sent hours before O’Donnell’s tweet from Jay Bratt, the chief of the counterintelligence and export control section in the DOJ’s National Security Division, confirms that “the filter agents seized three passports belonging to President Trump, two expired and one being his active diplomatic passport” during the raid last week.
“We are returning them, and they will be ready for pickup at WFO at 2 pm today,” Bratt wrote.
Twitter eventually added a context label to O’Donnell’s misleading tweet, but the damage was already done. With almost 40,000 likes and nearly 13,000 tweets, O’Donnell’s lie by omission went viral.
Even after admitting in her Monday evening segment that Trump’s passports were, in fact, included in the evidence extracted from the Florida mansion, O’Donnell has yet to correct her misleading tweet.
Instead, the “60 Minutes” correspondent doubled down by retweeting her colleague who amplified a statement from the FBI justifying the passport seizure.
“In executing search warrants, the FBI follows search and seizure procedures ordered by courts, then returns items that do not need to be retained for law enforcement purposes,” the FBI said in the statement posted by CBS Associate Producer Rob Legare.