'May Use Deadly Force': Unsealed Documents Reveal FBI Were Ready To 'Confront Trump' During Mar-A-Lago Raid

New court documents unsealed in the classified documents case brought by special counsel Jack Smith reveal the extent to which the FBI was willing to go to obtain the documents from Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, even going as far as authorizing "deadly force" if necessary. The documents became unsealed after Trump's attorneys issued a motion to argue that the raid against their client was unlawful.

The documents, first reported on by Julie Kelly, revealed that law enforcement officers engaged in the raid were authorized to use "deadly force when necessary" and that FBI agents were going to "confront" the US Secret Service agents protecting former First Lady Melania Trump. Agents were also authorized to go door to door to determine who was at the resort as a guest. During the raid, the bureau also ransacked and photographed Melania Trump's and Barron Trump's bedrooms.

"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,'" Trump's lawyers wrote. 

Additional documents also showed that a medic was on standby in case of any injuries sustained during the raid, and a local trauma center was identified. The stunning findings have led the Real Clear Investigations journalist to call for arrests of those who authorized force. Kelly wrote, "Head of Washington FBI field office when this was executed: Steven D'Antuono. Recall who authorized the raid: Merrick Garland. The FBI risked the lives of Donald Trump, his family, his staff, and MAL guests for a publicity stunt to make it look like Trump stole national security files. People need to be arrested for this."

Following the raid on Mar-a-Lago in 2022, Attorney General Merrick Garland said that he "personally approved the decision" to issue a search warrant of Trump's home. The morning raid of the property was carried out by FBI agents in unmarked shirts who brought "standard issue weapons, ammo, handcuffs, and medium and large sized bolt cutters."

President Trump is currently facing 37 charges in the classified documents case, which is currently stuck in pre-trial proceedings in Florida. The case is unlikely to make it to trial by the November election after Judge Aileen Cannon indefinitely postponed the trial, citing the need to address multiple pre-trial issues. The trial, which was initially set for May 20, is now in a state of uncertainty as Judge Cannon did not provide a new trial date.

"The Court...determines that finalization of a trial date at this juncture—before resolution of the myriad and interconnected pre-trial and CIPA issues remaining and forthcoming—would be imprudent and inconsistent with the Court's duty to fully and fairly consider the various pending pre-trial motions before the Court, critical CIPA issues, and additional pre-trial and trial preparations necessary to present this case to a jury," the judge ruled.

"The Court therefore vacates the current May 20, 2024, trial date (and associated calendar call), to be reset by separate order following resolution of the matters before the Court, consistent with Defendants' right to due process and the public's interest in the fair and efficient administration of justice," Cannon wrote, adding that the new schedule will begin this week with a hearing focused on a grand jury and go till July 22 with a hearing on how to handle the use of classified information during the trial.

You can follow Sterling on X/Twitter here.

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