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FBI Was Authorized To Use ‘Deadly Force’ Against Trump During Mar-A-Lago Raid, Court Filings Show

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The FBI was authorized to use “deadly force” against former President Donald Trump when the Biden administration agency raided Mar-a-Lago in search of classified documents, according to newly unsealed court documents shared on X by independent journalist Julie Kelly.

Attorney General Merrick Garland personally approved the unprecedented raid on Trump’s Florida home in the summer of 2022, after which special counsel Jack Smith indicted Trump for allegedly mishandling classified documents. Notably, President Joe Biden also retained classified documents following his tenure as vice president but was not charged by his own Justice Department because prosecutors said he would likely “present himself to the jury, as he did during our interview with him, as a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.”

A newly unsealed operations order reveals the FBI was authorized to use deadly force against the former president if need be, Kelly reported.

“According to an ‘Operations Order’ produced in discovery, the FBI believed its objective for the Mar-a-Lago raid was to seize ‘classified information, NDI [national defense information], and US Government records as described in [the] search warrant,'” the filing by Trump’s legal team states.

“The Order contained a ‘Policy Statement’ regarding ‘Use Of Deadly Force,’ which stated, for example, ‘Law enforcement officers of the Department of Justice may use deadly force when necessary …’,” according to the filing. “The agents planned to bring ‘Standard Issue Weapon[s],’ ‘Ammo,’ ‘Handcuffs,’ and ‘medium and large sized bolt cutters,’ but they were instructed to wear ‘unmarked polo or collared shirts’ and to keep ‘law enforcement equipment concealed.'”

The FBI also provided “coordinating instructions” on the use of deadly force.

Screenshots of the filing posted by Kelly suggest agents were prepared to confront Trump and his Secret Service agents if the need arose.

“Should [former President of the United States] arrive at [Mar-a-Lago], FBI MM EM and OSCs will be prepared to engage with FPOTUS and USSS Security Team,” read a “Contingencies” list from the filing. (MM may be a reference to the Miami FBI office, and OSC appears to refer to the office of Special Counsel Jack Smith.) The list also included instructions in case the Secret Service were to “provide resistance or interfere with FBI timeline or accesses.”

The filings also included exhibits indicating agents searched both Melania and Barron Trump’s rooms, and were prepared to go door-to-door throughout Mar-a-Lago “to determine occupation status” of each room if the staff did not provide “a list of occupied guest rooms.”

Earlier this month, U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon indefinitely postponed the trial in Smith’s lawfare case against the former president after the DOJ admitted it tampered with evidence. Smith admitted that some of the documents seized during the raid were not kept in the same order in which they were originally found while others may have been misplaced entirely, as my colleague Tristan Justice noted.

[READ NEXT: Federal Agency Had ‘Pallets’ Of Documents Sent To Mar-A-Lago One Year Before DOJ Raid]


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