Trump fanatics of all colors and creeds descended on Mar-a-Lago for a second night to send a defiant message to his political enemies: ‘You’ll never take down 45’.
The former president’s backers included a raucous coalition of Proud Boys, Cuban exiles and African Americans sporting Blacks For Trump T-shirts.
Supporters honked horns, belted out rock anthems and waved flags and banners as they gathered at Trump’s Florida residence one day after it was dramatically raided by Feds.
Law enforcement kept the crowds from gathering directly outside the swank private club in Palm Beach where Trump lives part-time from fall to spring.
But a hundred or so die-hards – with MAGA hats, US flags and Trump 2024 shirts – lined the nearby causeway instead to show their contempt for the FBI probe into allegations Trump took a stash of classified documents with him when he left office.
Trump, disclosing the search in a lengthy statement, claimed that agents had opened up a safe at his home and described their work as an ‘unannounced raid’ that he called ‘prosecutorial misconduct.’
He accused the FBI of a double standard, claiming the bureau ‘allowed’ Hillary Clinton to ‘acid wash’ 33,000 emails from her time as secretary of state.
For the second consecutive day, irate Donald Trump supporters descended on his Mar-a-Lago home to protest the FBI raided as part of an investigation into whether he took classified records from the White House to the Florida residence
DailyMail.com cameras saw tons of pro-Trump signs, along with a smattering of anti-Trump protesters near the gated estate on Tuesday after many came just hours after the ex-president himself announced the investigation.
Trump, disclosing the search in a lengthy statement, claimed that agents had opened up a safe at his home and described their work as an ‘unannounced raid’ that he called ‘prosecutorial misconduct’
Signs became more and more creative, with one even depicting the former president as John Rambo
‘It’s a bunch of bull***t. They are looking for anything they can find to stop him from running in 2024,’ said Tank, a member of the Broward County Proud Boys chapter who declined to give his full name.
He told DailyMail.com around 20 Proud Boys were headed to Mar-a-Lago to peacefully support the President.
‘We have thinned out the bad actors, we don’t condone violent behavior,’ he insisted, swigging from a bottle of Stella Artois beer and making the controversial OK symbol with his fingers that some say is a white supremacist gesture.
‘We are just here to support the future President,’ he added. ‘Trump will surprise a lot of people in 2024. There are going to be a lot of sad Democrats.’
His sentiments were echoed by Maurice Symonette, 63, a promoter and salesman who pulled into Palm Beach in a Rolls-Royce to protest with Blacks for Trump.
‘Before he ran, Trump had the support of rappers, athletes and boxers, you can’t call this guy a racist.
‘It’s Joe Biden who once said n***r in Congress,’ he said, referring to Biden’s 1985 use of the N-word when quoting someone else.
‘This investigation is another feeble attempt to take Trump down. But they can’t take down 45. The deplorables are taking over.’
Wheelchair-bound Ray Bulman, a retired firefighter, said he had left his home in Margate, Florida just a handful of times in the past five years prior to making the hour-long trip to Mar-a-Lago.
‘I have diabetes, PTSD, I rarely get out of the house. But I had to be here, someone has to stand up for this country,’ Ray, 70, told DailyMail.com.
‘They are after Trump because he likes to drain the swamp. He has thousands of lawyers but it’s hard to beat the government and the lying media.’
DailyMail.com revealed earlier Tuesday that police were on high alert in case Trump backers brought guns to their protest.
But the mood was jubilant and more akin to a tailgate party until police lost patience and started to tow cars for illegally parking along Southern Boulevard which links West Palm Beach to exclusive Palm Beach island.
Accountant Joe Culhane came wielding a baseball bat for a flagpole and wearing a T-shirt declaring his support for 2nd Amendment rights.
He decided against bringing a firearm because he didn’t want to make life difficult for the cops, he told DailyMail.com.
‘It’s difficult for them to know who the good guys are. I could be Antifa for all they know,’ said 61-year-old Joe, of Lake Worth, Florida.
‘He’s got the Louisville Slugger if anyone comes at us,’ joked his wife Dianna, 61, clutching a flag with Trump’s head superimposed on Rambo’s body.
‘I was so shook up when I heard about the raid that I could not stop crying,’ she added.
‘I was standing next to a woman who escaped from China and she said this is the blueprint for what happened there. It’s communism.’
Cuban exile Flordelis Grotesan, 52, knew first hand what it was like living under the Castro regime.
She made her feelings plain with a T-shirt that declared ‘TRUMP 20/NOW’ and ‘anti communist’.
‘I know what’s going on because I was born a slave in cuba, the Democratic Party is like a filtered version of the communist party there,’ she told DailyMail.com through a translator.
Her ‘F*** BIDEN’ baseball hat needed no translation, however.
‘Trump has done nothing wrong,’ Floredis added. ‘They are just looking for excuses to attack him’.
The former president spent much of the day posting to his TRUTH social media platform, both complaining about his treatment by the feds and celebrating primary victories for candidates he endorsed.
Trump wrote earlier Tuesday evening: ‘We are no better than a third world country, a banana republic’ echoing the words of many conservatives, including Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
He also celebrated the primary victory for Joe Kent over pro-impeachment Washington State Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler: ‘Joe Kent just won an incredible race against all odds in Washington State. Importantly, he knocked out yet another impeacher, Jaime Herrera Beutler, who so stupidly played right into the hands of the Democrats’.
The raid on Trump’s home intensifies the months-long probe into how classified documents ended up in more than a dozen boxes located at Mar-a-Lago earlier this year.
It occurs amid a separate grand jury investigation into efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election and adds to the potential legal peril for Trump as he lays the groundwork for another run.
Donald Trump arrives at Trump Tower the day after FBI agents raided his Mar-a-Lago Palm Beach home, in New York City
Trump accused the FBI of a double standard, claiming the bureau ‘allowed’ Hillary Clinton to ‘acid wash’ 33,000 emails from her time as secretary of state
Those who support Trump said the raid was a clear attempt to thwart a potential 2024 presidential run
Tuesday, supporters brought more and more pro-Trump signs and were in general more organized and passionate, with groups like the far right Proud Boys and Blacks for Trump professing their support outside Mar-a-Lago
Pro former U.S. President Donald Trump decals sit on a supporter’s car during a gathering outside his Mar-a-Lago home
Supporters of former U.S. President Donald Trump wave flags as they gather outside his Mar-a-Lago home
Supporters of former President Donald Trump walk down Southern Boulevard, Tuesday outside the estate
Wheelchair-bound Ray Bulman, a retired firefighter, said he had left his home in Margate, Florida just a handful of times in the past five years prior to making the hour-long trip to Mar-a-Lago
Maurice Symonette, 63, a promoter and salesman, pulled into Palm Beach in a Rolls-Royce to protest with Blacks for Trump
Tank, a member of the far-right Proud Boys and other protesters stands behind the Mar-a-Lago estate
Familiar battle lines, forged during a four-year presidency shadowed by FBI and congressional investigations, quickly took shape again in the wake of Monday night.
Trump and his allies sought to cast the search as a weaponization of the criminal justice system and a Democratic-driven effort to keep him from winning another term in 2024 – even though the Biden White House said it had no prior knowledge of it, and the current FBI director, Christopher Wray, was appointed by Trump five years ago and served as a high-ranking official in a Republican-led Justice Department.
The defense serves as a fresh reminder of the former president’s enduring grip on the GOP, as speculation remains as to whether he will run again in 2024.
EXCLUSIVE: Trump could be BANNED from holding public office if he is found guilty of mishandling classified White House records – and the legal saga will be a ‘huge’ development for his 2024 hopes, legal experts warn
Former President Donald Trump could be banned from holding public office if he is found guilty of mishandling White House records.
Federal law prohibits someone convicted of mishandling documents from holding any office in the US, legal experts have warned could be a ‘huge’ development for Trump’s hopes to run for president in 2024.
‘If Trump is convicted under this federal statute, he would be prohibited from holding any office including the office of the president,’ former federal prosecutor Neama Rahmani told DailyMail.com. ‘That would be huge.’
Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida was raided by the FBI Monday, reportedly as part of an investigation into whether he took classified documents with him when he left presidential office.
Trump, in his dramatic announcement of the raid, did not specifically say what the federal agents were looking for, just that his home was ‘under siege, raided, and occupied by a large group of FBI agents.’
Trump could be facing ‘significant criminal exposure’ if the FBI raid determines he destroyed government records, Rahmani, who is president of West Coast Trial Lawyers, told DailyMail.com Monday night.
He said Trump would likely be charged under US Code Title 18, Section 2071 which involves concealment or destruction of US government documents.
The code states that anyone who ‘willfully and unlawfully conceals, removes, mutilates, obliterates, or destroys, or attempts to do so, or, with intent to do so takes and carries away any record’ could be fined and sentenced to a maximum of three years in prison.
The provision also states that anyone convicted of records concealment or destruction ‘shall forfeit his office and be disqualified from holding any office under the United States.’
‘His lawyers told him about the law requiring that he preserve White House documents, so he was on notice and that will bolster the case and help prove intent if prosecutors charge Trump.’
Trump took 15 boxes of material with him in January 2021 after he left office.
The boxes were returned to the National Archives a year later, in January 2022, but agents on Monday were reportedly looking to see if Trump had additional presidential records or any classified documents at his South Florida estate.
‘FBI agents, in an investigation like this, are not always going to find every missing document or even discover every instance where a paper went missing,’ Rahmani warned. ‘It’s not hard to destroy documents and in some cases investigators will never find any evidence that a document even existed.’
He added: ‘In other instances, investigators can figure out something is missing, if for example they have testimony from a government official who says he was tasked with writing up a transcript and he did that, but the document can’t be found anywhere. Then you know someone destroyed it. But figuring out who did that can be another mystery.’
Rahmani noted the raid of Trump’s home was likely carried out only by agents involved in searching for documents that should have been in the National Archives.
He said the agents investigating the January 6, 2021 insurrection at the US Capitol ‘may have nothing to do with this operation.’
‘But if evidence comes out from the raid that sheds light on Trump’s involvement in the Capitol Riot, then that will absolutely become part of the Jan. 6 investigation,’ the legal expert added.
‘The sooner he kicks off his campaign, the better,’ Indiana GOP Rep. Jim Banks, the chair of the Republican Study Committee, said in an interview.
Banks was among about a dozen Republican lawmakers who spent several hours Tuesday evening with Trump at his summer home in Bedminster, New Jersey. During a meal that included steak, scallops, mashed potatoes, salad and a Trump cookie, the group talked about the upcoming midterm elections and the 2024 presidential race, Banks said.
The former president told the lawmakers ‘his mind is made up’ about a 2024 campaign and ‘we’ll all be happy with his decision.’
The FBI search seemed to trigger a shift among Trump’s advisers, who had been privately urging him to wait until after the midterm elections to announce his intention to seek the presidency again. Suddenly, some of those same advisers were urging him to launch his campaign before the November elections.
Trump stoked such speculation in the hours after the search by posting a campaign-style video on social media. ‘The best is yet to come,’ he said.
He followed up with a fundraising appeal, making it personal by declaring ‘it’s important that you know that it wasn’t just my home that was violated – it was the home of every patriotic American who I have been fighting for.’
In Columbia, South Carolina, Sen. Lindsey Graham said he spoke with Trump and felt sure another campaign was coming.
‘One thing I can tell you,’ Graham said. ‘I believed he was going to run before. I’m stronger in my belief now.’
As Republicans rallied behind Trump, Democrats pushed back against GOP claims of political interference, without evidence. Some accused the GOP of a departure from its longstanding commitment to ‘law and order.’
‘The FBI director was appointed by Donald Trump,’ said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Asked if the raid might hurt Democrats in the November elections, she said: ‘You’re talking about if the Justice Department decides to have a warrant to go in because they suspect something is justified, it´s going to have an impact on the election? No, no, no, no, no.’
Some of Trump’s most vocal Republican critics still shied away from embracing the former president. And it was unclear how rank-and-file Republican voters and independents frustrated by Trump’s divisive leadership might be moved by the new developments.
Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a former federal prosecutor and one of many Republicans considering a 2024 presidential bid, noted Tuesday that a federal judge had to sign off on the warrant.
‘The former president is presumed innocent,’ Christie said in an interview. ‘On the other hand, we can’t immediately impugn the motives of the prosecutors just because they’re from another political party.’
‘It’s an extraordinary action. And there better be some pretty extraordinary facts to underlie it. If there are, then they have every right to do it.’
And some other Republican officials seemed to express continued concerns about Trump by refusing to weigh in at all.
The relatively short list of those GOP leaders who remained silent Tuesday afternoon was led by Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, who has privately encouraged his party to move past Trump. But the Kentucky Republican eventually weighed in, saying: ‘The country deserves a thorough and immediate explanation of what led to the events of Monday. Attorney General Garland and the Department of Justice should already have provided answers to the American people and must do so immediately.’
Former Vice President Mike Pence, who is gearing up for a presidential run of his own, said he shared ‘the deep concerns of millions of Americans’ over the search of Trump’s private residence.
He stopped short of attacking the FBI, however. Instead, he said Attorney General Merrick Garland should ‘give a full accounting to the American people as to why this action was taken and he must do so immediately.’
Republican Sens. Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Josh Hawley of Missouri aggressively condemned the Justice Department on Trump’s behalf.
Hawley called the search ‘an unprecedented assault on democratic norms and the rule of law.’ He called for Garland’s resignation or impeachment and the removal of FBI Director Wray.
Cotton said Garland had ‘weaponized’ the Justice Department against his political enemies. ‘There will be consequences for this,’ he warned.
Also from Arkansas, Gov. Asa Hutchinson, still another Republican weighing a 2024 run, called the search ‘unprecedented and alarming.’ But like Pence, he added, ‘We must see the probable cause affidavit before making a judgment.’
The search intensified the months-long probe into how classified documents ended up in boxes of White House records located at Mar-a-Lago earlier this year. A separate grand jury is investigating efforts by Trump and allies to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.
Flordelis Grotesan, of Cuba, marches among the protesters and cars waving signs for the president
The former president spent much of the day posting to his TRUTH social media platform, both complaining about his treatment by the feds and celebrating primary victories for candidates he endorsed
One supporter bringing out a sign calling Democrats ‘fascists’ with snakes hidden marches Tuesday
Trump wrote earlier Tuesday evening: ‘We are no better than a third world country, a banana republic’ echoing the words of many conservatives, including Florida Governor Ron DeSantis
The raid on Trump’s home intensifies the months-long probe into how classified documents ended up in more than a dozen boxes located at Mar-a-Lago earlier this year
A smattering of Anti-former U.S. President Donald Trump protestors hold signs as they gather outside his Mar-a-Lago home
A protester calling for Donald Trump’s arrest holds a sign in front of Trump Tower in Manhattan
Trump did not elaborate on the basis for the search, but the Justice Department has been investigating the potential mishandling of classified information after the National Archives and Records Administration said it had retrieved from Mar-a-Lago 15 boxes of records containing classified information earlier this year.
The National Archives said Trump should have turned over that material upon leaving office, and it asked the Justice Department to investigate.
There are multiple federal laws governing the handling of classified records and sensitive government documents, including statutes that make it a crime to remove such material and retain it at an unauthorized location.
Though a search warrant does not suggest that criminal charges are near or even expected, federal officials looking to obtain one must first demonstrate to a judge that they have probable cause that a crime occurred.
Two people familiar with the matter, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation, said the search happened earlier Monday and was related to the records probe. Agents were also looking to see if Trump had additional presidential records or any classified documents at the estate.
Trump has previously maintained that presidential records were turned over ‘in an ordinary and routine process.’
His son Eric Trump, who was also spotted at Trump Tower on Monday, said he was the one that got the call on the raid and told his father about it.
‘I was the guy who got the call this morning and I called my father and let him know it happened, and I was involved all day,’ he told Fox News host Sean Hannity.
‘Welcome to politics in the 2020s.’
‘To have 30 FBI agents – actually more than that – descend on Mar-a-Lago, give absolutely, you know, no notice, go through the gates, start ransacking an office, ransacking a closet – you know, they broke into a safe.
‘He didn’t even have anything in the safe. I mean, give me a break.’
Asked how the documents ended up at Mar-a-Lago, Eric Trump said the boxes were among items that got moved out of the White House during ‘six hours’ on Inauguration Day, as the Bidens prepared to move into the building.
‘My father always kept press clippings,’ Eric Trump said.
‘He had boxes, when he moved out of the White House.’
He charged President Joe Biden’s White House as the force behind the raid.
‘This didn’t come from a local FBI field office in Palm Beach, Florida.
‘You know this came from? This came from one place and one building, and that is the White House in Washington, D.C. They want to attack a guy who they view as his greatest threat, Biden’s greatest threat,’ Eric Trump said.
Biden’s White House had no heads up on the matter. Senior White House officials found out about it via Twitter, The New York Times reported.
President Donald Trump leaves Trump Tower in New York City on Monday night after he announced he FBI had raided his Florida home
‘They even broke into my safe!’ Trump complained of the raid in a statement he released on Monday
Trump took 15 boxes of material with him in January 2021 after he left Washington D.C. The boxes were returned to the National Archives a year later in January 2022 but agents on Monday were looking to see if Trump had additional material; above workers move boxes out of the Trump White House on January 14, 2021
Armed Secret Service agents stand outside an entrance to former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate on Monday night
Eric Trump is spotted leaving Trump Tower; he told Fox News that he was the one who got notice of the raid and told his father about it
What WERE FBI agents looking for at Mar-a-Lago?
FBI agents who raided Donald Trump’s Florida estate have been in discussions since June with his legal team about a trove of presidential documents on the property, it emerged on Monday night, as speculation continued to swirl about what exactly they were looking for.
The raid was carried out on Monday, and confirmed by Trump himself. The White House is believed to have learnt of the raid when the rest of the world did, and was not informed in advance.
In February it emerged that Trump had taken classified documents out of the White House when he left in January 2021, and some of those were handed over to the National Archives.
Monday’s raid is thought likely to be related to the remaining boxes of documents, although it remained unclear why the FBI decided to raid the estate.
CNN reported on Monday evening that investigators were at Mar-a-Lago on June 8, meeting Trump’s lawyers to discuss the documents.
Trump was not questioned, the network reported, but stopped by and greeted the investigators and his two attorneys.
The two attorneys then took the investigators to a basement room and showed them where the documents were stored.
Five days later, Trump’s attorneys received a letter asking them to enhance the security on the store room, and a padlock was then placed on the door.
It’s unclear why the FBI then decided to raid the property.
Lara Trump told Fox News ‘look, my father-in-law, as anybody knows, who’s been around him a lot, loves to save things like newspaper clippings, magazine clippings, photographs, documents that he had every authority… to take from the White House.’
She called the raid an attempt to hurt him as her father-in-law may ‘announce any day that he’s running for president in 2024.’
Trump emerged from Trump Tower in New York City shortly before 8 p.m. and waved to bystanders before being driven away in an SUV.
In his first public remarks since news of the search surfaced, Trump made no mention of it during a tele-town hall on behalf of Leora Levy, the Connecticut Republican he has endorsed in Tuesday’s U.S. Senate primary to pick a general election opponent against Democratic U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal.
Trump gave his public backing to Levy late last week, calling her on Monday the best pick ‘to replace Connecticut’s joke of a senator.’
But in a social media post Monday night, he was much more unguarded, calling the search a ‘weaponization of the Justice System, and an attack by Radical Left Democrats who desperately don’t want me to run for President in 2024.’
Other Republicans echoed that message. GOP National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel denounced the search as ‘outrageous’ and said it was a reason for voters to turn out in November.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican who is considered a potential 2024 presidential candidate, said in a statement on Twitter that it was ‘an escalation in the weaponization’ of U.S. government agencies.’
Kevin McCarthy, the House Minority Leader, said in a tweet that the Justice Department ‘has reached an intolerable state of weaponized politicization’ and said that if Republicans win control of the U.S. House, they will investigate the department.
That Trump would become entangled in a probe into the handling of classified information is all the more striking given how he tried during the 2016 presidential election to exploit an FBI investigation into his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, over whether she mishandled classified information via a private email server she used as secretary of state.
The then-FBI Director James Comey concluded that Clinton had sent and received classified information but the FBI did not recommend criminal charges because it determined that Clinton had not intended to break the law.
Trump lambasted that decision and then stepped up his criticism of the FBI as agents began investigating whether his campaign had colluded with Russia to tip the 2016 election. He fired Comey during that probe, and though he appointed Wray months later, he repeatedly criticized him, too, as president.
Thomas Schwartz, a Vanderbilt University history professor who studies and writes about the presidency, said there is no precedent for a former president facing an FBI raid – even going back to Watergate. President Richard Nixon wasn’t allowed to take tapes or other materials from the White House when he resigned in 1974, Schwartz noted, and many of his papers remained in Washington for years before being transferred to his presidential library in California.
‘This is different and it is a sign of how unique the Trump period was,’ said Schwartz, author of ‘Henry Kissinger and American Power: A Political Biography.’ ‘How his behavior was so unusual.’
The probe is hardly the only legal headache confronting Trump. A separate investigation related to efforts by Trump and his allies to undo the results of the 2020 presidential election – which led to the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol – has also been intensifying in Washington. Several former White House officials have received grand jury subpoenas.
And a district attorney in Fulton County, Georgia, is investigating whether Trump and his close associates sought to interfere in that state’s election, which was won by Democrat Joe Biden.
Trump posts APOCALYPTIC ad decrying America as ‘a nation in decline’ but promises a political future where ‘the best is yet to come’
Donald Trump posted to his social media platform late Monday night an eerie apocalyptic ad calling America ‘a nation in decline’ – while also promising a political future for himself where he says ‘the best is yet to come.’
The ad was posted to Truth Social, the former president’s own alternative social media platform, just hours after his Mar-a-Lago home in Florida was raided by the FBI – reportedly as part of an investigation into whether he took classified documents with him when he left the White House.
Trump’s voice narrates the video ad which opens with a jolting clap of thunder over black and white photos of America.
‘We are a nation in decline,’ Trump said. ‘We are a failing nation,’ he continues, pointing to high inflation, high energy costs and leaving behind soldiers in Afghanistan.
The eerie ad was posted late Monday night after Lara Trump appeared on Fox News‘ ‘Tucker Carlson Tonight’ where she blasted the FBI’s raid and said it was about weaponizing the justice system, adding that people are terrified that her father-in-law is going to run president in 2024.
The raid on Monday night comes as Trump is considering another bid for the presidency and his actions after the 2020 election, where he tried to invalidate Joe Biden’s victory, are under investigation by lawmakers on Capitol Hill.
‘We are a nation that in many ways has become a joke,’ Trump said in the ad. ‘But soon we will have greatness again.’